Almost a year ago, a Nebraska mom named Lisa Martin woke up in the middle of the night, her heart seized with anxiety. She thought about the troubles of the world and the scourge of climate change; and she worried to herself: “Will my son be able to thrive on this planet?”
“This morning at four A.M., I found myself feeling very distraught,” the mom wrote. “I began to think about how helpless our children are … and how much responsibility rests on our shoulders. I provide for my child every day through food, and shelter, but I am unable to guarantee he will have a real future on our planet.”
Martin continued: “I am sure this email will never reach you, but in this moment, I decided reaching out to the one man that can do something would make me feel some sort of solace. Listening to my son breathing next to me gave me a feeling of urgency.”
Obama, it turned out, did receive Martin’s email (which has been reproduced in full below); and on Wednesday, almost exactly a year after the mom penned her note, the president arrived at her doorstep.
He came with a message: Don’t worry. Cooper will be all right.
According to a White House press release, Obama visited Martin to “talk about what matters most to her: the world Cooper will inherit.”
“The future is bright, [Obama] told her and by extension the country, but that requires the nation to follow his policy prescriptions,” per The New York Times.
POTUS is said to have lingered at Martin’s home for almost 40 minutes, chatting with the mom and her husband, Jeff.
Following the visit, Martin introduced Obama at the University of Nebraska, where the president addressed a crowd of thousands.
“I want everybody to remember, America’s been through big changes before,” Obama told those gathered, per the Times. “And each time, we overcame our fears and we overcame our challenges. Each time, we made change work for us. And each time, we emerged stronger and better than we were before. That’s what we do as Americans.”
Read Lisa Martin's entire letter, released by the White House, here:
Dear Mr. President,
Every night while I wake up to feed my newborn child, Cooper, I catch up on news and read current events. This morning at four A.M., I found myself feeling very distraught. I started reading countless articles about the environment and how your Administration is currently trying to conserve the Alaskan wilderness. While I am so thankful policies are being made for Alaska, I still have this sinking feeling of dread and sadness. Will my son be able to thrive on this planet? Will he be able to experience the small things, such as winter in Nebraska, where he has snowdays and sledding? Where he comes home to me cooking homemade hot cocoa for him, like I did?
Sadly I think the answer is no. I found myself coming to tears at this realization with his small body in my lap because I am the type of person that wants to make change happen, to control things and fix them immediately.
I began to think about how helpless our children are to all these issues and how much responsibility rests on our shoulders. I provide for my child every day through food, and shelter, but I am unable to guarantee he will have a real future on our planet. I am powerless to put any real change into action. I realized I am just a high school English teacher emailing the president at four in the morning.
I am sure this email will never reach you, but in this moment, I decided reaching out to the one man that can do something would make me feel some sort of solace. Listening to my son breathing next to me gave me a feeling of urgency.
So, what do I want? I guess I just want to know my son will not have to go to the zoo to see polar bears. I want him to know, like we know today, that they exist out there in the wild. I want him to breathe in the air and not be afraid of pollution. I want him to lay under the trees and for him to feel peace in the simplicity of that moment of breathing in the beauty of grandeur of nature. I want him to one day dream of his own children and for him to know that our generation protected his future through protecting the world we live in.
As I stated above, I am just a high school English teacher who has now become a mother so thank you for reading my early morning fears. I could write for hours about my feelings of dread, but hopefully this small excerpt of my fears will influence some of your thoughts and bring some type of larger change to Cooper's world.
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