Everyday the terrible news of gun deaths shatters us and once again we think this must be the moment that changes everything. Everyday more evidence emerges of the thriving systemic racism in our country and communities but we pretend it will end. Everyday the levers of power among corporations and politicians prevent us meeting the climate challenge and we pray science will save us. Everyday we must embrace the bigger picture of a greener more equitable world in whatever way we can. Everyday there are efforts to work toward these possibilities but they mostly escape our Twitter feed. Everyday we must take the next step even when we lose trust in the outcome. It's our hope for the future, depending of course on what we wish for the generations to come. Each of us must make that decision Everyday.
Tag Archives: Climate Crisis
Today we are all preoccupied with
The Before Times
Hoping to get transported back there
Wherever there might be
Some of us are even longing for
The Far Back Times
Of course those memories are often
based on hearsay
We are in fact still in The Pandemic Times
though seeming to work our way out
And then there’s the continuing
Racial Injustice Times
And also the Burning Times leading to the
And now The Climate Crisis And Time of
The Sixth Extinction
We don’t have Time to be longing for the
Far Back Times or even
The Before Times
What we must do is see where we are now
And choose what we want our
Next Time to be
As individual souls
And soulful communities
And soul searching societies
Our Time is here
This phrase came to me recently while sitting in a large room with many other meditation practitioners. Waiting for the bell to ring isn’t simply about sitting on a cushion but applies to pretty much everything we do every day. When you are not being present to what’s happening for you or around you right now, often your attention goes to anticipating what you expect to happen next – with the accompanying sense that what comes next will be better, more interesting, more fulfilling.
I believe there is a deeper issue hidden in this posture of waiting for the bell to ring or for the next moment to capture your attention. I want to understand how it inhibits us, not only from fully inhabiting the present moment, but also how it keeps us from action. Waiting is a practice that holds us back, keeps us from going forward.
I’m thinking about how we respond to crises in our lives – individually and collectively. I need to know how it keeps us from responding to the biggest crisis affecting us and our planet. Waiting for what happens next is essentially inaction. This current and developing Climate Crisis requires us to do more than wait.
I have an image of the starting gate at a horse race. All animals and jockeys poised and ready for action, waiting for the sound that signals the start. The Climate Crisis, however, is not a horse race – if it were we could burst into action because we would know exactly what to do. We would know what was required of us. Instead we dither about on our cushions waiting for the bell to ring so we can legitimately offer our attention to the next passing thought. Perhaps we look around and see that others are doing the same – waiting for the bell to ring.
So how do we respond when we are not sure what to do – when the expectations are not clear? I believe first is to let go the idea that if those in power, in government, are not charging ahead then the Climate Crisis is not so urgent. Science and the experience of millions all around the world show the opposite is true. Warming oceans, more intense storms, increasing areas of drought and wildfires are all driven by greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane that are released into the atmosphere to a greater degree by industrialized countries. We who live in those countries are accustomed to a way of life based on the use of fossil fuels. Our response has to be to change the way we live.
Making this change requires acknowledging that we all must do this together. This is a fact that we should find more comforting than scary. We can take individual steps, but it is collective action and speech that will shore up our courage and lead to the changes we need without leaving anyone behind.
Do what you can do now without waiting for the bell to ring. That’s all. In reality there is no one at the front of the room holding the bell. It’s our inner knowing that something is terribly wrong that is actually the bell that is ringing loudly. Take a moment to listen deeply, and I’m sure you can hear it.
After many years of feeling that I had so much to write about, that I had a deep well of something to say and that it was of value, I have come to a point where I’ve got nothing. I actually have a store of half written posts and poems that remain on my notepad and haven’t been published. Reading them over, I see that they are indeed reflections of me but are not what I need to be saying now. So they stay hidden.
If I am to be honest, digging a bit deeper into what I feel, what I come to is that I have too much to say right now. I have a sense of urgency to speak and at the same time am overwhelmed by all that needs to be said. I am awed by the changes in our climate, and struck by the slothful approach to meeting a crisis of this proportion that consumes not only ordinary citizens but also our government. We have all the information we need to understand what’s happening – heating of the atmosphere, trashing our planet with waste that will not degrade, a sixth extinction that is well underway. Actually it seems we have so much information that we cannot reasonably process more than bits, let alone come up with an appropriate response.
What we face is huge and challenging and yet we are all able to continue our day to day lives in many respects as we have always been doing. Somehow it feels like our individual decisions to change the way we eat, build our houses, travel and accumulate objects are purely elective. Somehow the necessity for altering how we live our lives, especially in industrialized nations, escapes us on a daily basis. We are in a society that is fostering attention deficit disorder in all of us – always and ever is the next email, tweet, call, advertisement in the middle of any attempt to read a serious article online and reminders that you’ve left something in your cart! So easy to get sucked in that we are like the dog in response to a squirrel sighting!
So, today, it’s not that I have nothing to say – I have something to yell, to scream, to rant and rave and hope that someone is listening. This is a time to stop – FULL STOP!
The time has come to decide how we want to live, how it may be possible for future generations to live. The scale of worldwide conflict is rising with increased numbers migrating due to water and food insecurity in combination with the hunkering down of factions whose interest is only in protecting their own and keeping others out.
This is a time for waking up, paying attention, becoming more aware of our choices. And then staying focused on the changes that we as individuals and nations need to make. Because at some point, in the not too distant future, these options will be gone.