Maybe we do look – really look – but then, inevitably, we seem to forget. Remember and then forget again. Climate change is like that; it’s hard to keep it in your head for very long. We engage in this odd form of on-again-off-again ecological amnesia for perfectly rational reasons.We deny because we fear that letting in the full reality of this crisis will change everything. And we are right.
We know that if we continue on our current path of allowing emissions to rise year after year, climate change will change everything about our world. Major cities will very likely drown, ancient cultures will be swallowed by the seas, and there is a very high chance that our children will spend a great deal of their lives fleeing and recovering from vicious storms and extreme droughts. And we don’t have to do anything to bring about this future. All we have to do is nothing. Just continue to do what we are doing now, whether it’s counting on a techno-fix or tending to our gardens or telling ourselves we’re unfortunately too busy to deal with it.
All we have to do is not react as if this is a full-blown crisis. All we have to do is keep on denying how frightened we actually are. And then, bit by bit, we will have arrived at the place we most fear, the thing from which we have been averting our eyes. No additional effort required.
But before any of these changes can happen – before we can believe that climate change can change us – we first have to stop looking away.
Climate change has become an existential crisis for the human species. The only historical precedent for a crisis of this depth and scale was the Cold War fear that we were heading toward nuclear holocaust, which would have made much of the planet uninhabitable. But that was (and remains) a threat; a slim possibility, should geopolitics spiral out of control. The vast majority of nuclear scientists never told us that we were almost certainly going to put our civilisation in peril if we kept going about our daily lives as usual, doing exactly what we were already doing, which is what the climate scientists have been telling us for years.
Why then are climatologists speaking out about the dangers of global warming? The answer is that virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilisation.
It doesn’t get much clearer than that. And yet rather than responding with alarm and doing everything in our power to change course, large parts of humanity are, quite consciously, continuing down the same road…. What is wrong with us? – Naomi Klein, excerpt from This Changes Everything
In the introduction to her new book, This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein asks the Big Question to Humanity: What is wrong with us? And gives us a clue to the answer as she states that we must, collectively, stop looking away. Anyone who is even slightly awake on planet Earth today has to see that we are in a dangerous situation that is growing ever more so, soon to the point of no return. (Some would argue that we are most certainly there already.) Meaning that humanity has by now created an unprecedented environmental catastrophe without end into the far future. And yet we continue, day after day, to simply look away, avert our gaze, throwing up our hands, asking, What can be done? And then go about our daily lives, hoping that somehow, someone or something will come to our rescue and save the humans, nature and the planet.
Of course there are those who are so sick and tired of humans and their ceaseless greed and stupidity, that they are actively cheering for the armageddon to arrive and wipe the slate clean. Get rid of the idiots, let the Earth recover by herself, on her own huge planetary timeline and start over, perhaps with a different, more clever species at the reigns. Honestly, would that scenario really be so bad?
We need to speak our truth now, with clarity. To have courage is to live the way of the heart. To be fearless, to live without fear of retribution or having terrible repercussions if we speak the truth to the world. You cannot be truthful or loving if you are not courageous. The truth of our (meaning collective humanity and all life upon Earth) precarious situation can simply no longer be denied or ignored by the majority of us. Temperatures on Earth are rising, is the simple fact that, according to Naomi Klein and so many others, Changes Everything. It is no longer somebody else’s problem, it is yours and mine and every other human’s that you meet in a day. As long as we are too afraid or zoned or distracted by the thousand other things, we are missing the point entirely.
Call your appointed government leaders, let them hear from you about fracking, tar sands, mining the seas, the depths, destroying all that is left of wilderness and pristine areas of the world. Tell them to stop being in bed with the Big Oil companies and get a spine and do the Right Thing. Stop supporting any and all corporations that place Greed and Profits as their gods and reason for existence. Tell Starbucks that they ought to be only buying and serving Fair Trade coffee. Tell Walmart that it isn’t right that their family members and top people make more dollars in one hour than their employees make in twenty years. Tell Shell Oil to get out and stay out of the Arctic forever, and all of their cronies too. Tell it to your friends, your families, to strangers, to co-workers, to the people in the queue in the grocery store. Tell the store managers you want to be served by actual humans, not their robots at the self-serve stations. The list goes on and on and on…….
Dear Readers, I have been silent now for some time, but I have not been sleeping. For the past year and more, since being back in the United States, I have been observing, listening, and watching. I’ve been reading and pondering and thinking and feeling into the current state of our world. It is quite obvious to me, as it no doubt must to be to you, that our world is deteriorating rapidly. What passes for “progress and development” is in actuality a game of passing off cheap technology and a whitewashed, flimsy excuse for the latest, greatest (fill in the blank here) to the People in order to pacify and placate them as the ones (are they human?) behind the curtain, just like the Great Oz himself, run completely amok, destroying, pillaging, warmongering, raping, and taking whatever they can, squashing whoever may be standing in the way, without even a single thought of morality or ethicality or responsibility towards the rest of HUMANITY, NATURE AND THE EARTH ITSELF.
As the bumper sticker states, If you are not outraged, you are NOT paying attention!! Yes, you must keep working on your own soul and spirit, yes of course you have to keep to what is highest, bringing in Love and Light at every opportunity. But to think for a moment that by doing these things alone, without getting very real about the gravity of the situation on this planet, will make the problems magically resolve themselves is foolhardy at best and a death sentence at worst.
Naomi Klein’s new book isn’t even on the library shelves yet, and here in Denver there are already fifty people waiting in line to read it. Find it, buy it, or borrow it, then read it, and take it as a rallying cry to raise awareness of the real issues we are facing. There is no time to waste.