I remember reading Bill McKibben’s book The End of Nature during my lunch breaks while working as a carpenter in San Francisco. I don’t know why I picked up that book. I wasn’t particularly focused on those kind of issues at the time. But I do remember being alarmed by it. In fact, that book was so difficult for me to process that it has since made me wary of reading any information on climate change. The conclusions are too grave, and the problem is too big. I don’t ignore it, but I do find myself checking weather reports for the chance of rain and the hope that the dire predictions won’t come true. My sustainability story is really about an internal battle between realization and denial that exists to this day.

My wife and I moved to Davis a few months after our second child was born. I started a remodeling company that focused on creative designs and green building. The artistic life gave me faith in problem solving and the miraculous while the focus on green building gave me faith that reasonable people could make reasonable decisions that could lead to meaningful change. Back then, climate change still felt like a future issue that we had time to figure out. We had time to come together as rational beings and do what was obviously necessary.

My kids are now adults, but they are still my kids. I worry for them. The future that once seemed so far off is now beating down on us a like the hot April sun.

Ken Kirsch is the owner of MAK Design and Build, a Cool Davis board member, and a member of the Cool Davis Household Engagement and Community Networks teams.