Why Tapping Climate Courage?
If you found your way to this page, you already know that we are at a stage in the Earth’s story where humanity is having a devastating impact. You may be kept awake at night thinking about global climate destabilization, and its evil twin ocean acidification, or the biological annihilation underway as billions of populations of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians die off all over the planet, or the thousands-of-square-miles-large Pacific Garbage Patch. Or maybe it’s the statistic that one in nine people go to bed hungry every night and the gap between the richest people on the planet and the poorest continues to grow. that has turned you into an insomniac.
Your heart may be broken because you know that we have the solutions to the climate crisis and other crises that we face yet we haven’t collectively committed to the shifts that are required. In fact, some factions of society seem 100 percent committed to not allowing any change to happen.
The question we are facing individually and collectively at this time in human history is, are we loving and compassionate and courageous enough to do what it takes to tackle the linked challenges of environmental degradation and global inequity? 99% of the people I meet every day in my community and in my wellness practice, love their family and their pets and (usually!) their neighbours. Many of them donate their time and efforts to make our schools and our town a better place for everyone. Yet there remains a huge disconnect between our values and the state of the world, and we often feel powerless to make a difference. That was certainly true for me until 2009. Finally my need to act, whether or not I ultimately had an impact on the world around me, became stronger than my fear of failure and embarrassment. I felt a moral obligation to move into action on climate change, as a mother, a person of faith, and someone who had benefitted greatly from being born in a rich nation.
I don’t know about you, but it’s 2017 and I’m tired of hearing about children dying of hungry, about the growing number of climate refugees amid wars over resources and land. It is not okay with me that the poorest and most vulnerable among us are suffering from the worst effects of climate destabilization even though we in the richest industrialized nations have contributed the lion’s share of the pollution, and gotten very rich doing so. It is obscene that, in 2017, eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion poorest people on the globe. These billions, the majority of whom are women, face a daily struggle to survive.
It’s not okay that so many of our fellow human beings and all other sentient beings that we share this beautiful blue planet with are suffering because of the actions and carelessness of the minority (and yes, I include myself in that minority).
We are at a dramatic turning point for humanity on this planet. Currently we are sawing as fast as we can at the limb that we are sitting on, the limb that sustains life as we know it. Business as usual is no longer an option for any of us, whether we know it or not.
But what if the pain and suffering we are experiencing is the death of an old way of being and the birth of a new more equitable, safer, and more peaceful world? Could it be birth of that “more beautiful world our hearts know is possible”?
Compassion is a powerful and transformative energy. The Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh encourages people to engage in climate change and other challenging issues facing our planet, but only after first dealing with their own anger and fears, rather than projecting them onto those they see at fault.