clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world

Looking back, envisioning ahead

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Here we are again, at the end of yet another tumultuous year on Gaia, our beloved planet Earth. Would you not agree that a whole lot happened for us humans this year? 2015 has been a year of action, and incredible energy by humanity. Many of us have awakened in a whole new way this year, and realized that the only way through the catastrophic mess we currently find ourselves in is by standing up, standing with, raising our voices, our fists, carrying signs and taking ourselves to the streets.

We are speaking out and fighting back against the powers that have kept humanity enslaved like never before in human memory.

To everyone who helped take a stand for Earth, for Nature, and for Humanity, I congratulate and thank you. We fought the Good Fight this year, and we will be continuing with even greater intensity in the year to come.

The following is an excerpt from a beautiful letter written by Kumi Naidoo, the Executive Director of Greenpeace. He is stepping down as director after holding that position for the past six years. He writes,

Greenpeace had me stepping out of my comfort zone many times. And that, of course, is the place where you learn the most about yourself, when you stand at that line between courage and fear, weighing personal risk against what you believe to be right. I’ve spoken to so many of you who have had the same experience. People who spoke out, or stood up, who volunteered or took some small step or giant leap for the sake of a better future. So often those steps and leaps take us beyond what we thought we’d ever do – either because we were inspired, or angered, or feeling a bond of unity with others. If anything Greenpeace has ever done has catalysed one of those moments, we’re doing our job. We’re setting off a chain reaction of contagious courage.

For me, a series of ever escalating life choices eventually led me to a moment I will always cherish from my time at Greenpeace: the boarding of an oil rig in the Arctic, having an icy water cannon trained on me as I struggled to climb a ladder to oppose the absurdity of Arctic oil drilling. Experiences like that change you. And by “like that” I don’t necessarily mean that extreme form of activism: I mean any action that disrupts your sense of self or your idea of who you are and puts it in a larger context of the human journey and the future of our world. It resets your notion of what you’re capable of. And in so doing resets your notion of what humanity is capable of. And in so doing redefines your sense of what’s possible.

I came to Greenpeace wanting to break the dichotomy between the environment and development. I knew, rationally, that there is a link between addressing poverty and human rights and addressing environmental injustice and climate injustice. But my time with Greenpeace drove this awareness deeper into my heart. Once you see it, you can’t stop seeing it. From the woman who can no longer fish the African coasts for her family because European factory trawlers have emptied her seas, to the child in India choking on ash and coal dust in a village pillaged by the coal industry, to the infant breathing in toxic fumes in an electronic waste dump in China while his mother sets fire to a circuit board to scavenge components, to the devastated family living in a cardboard box after their home was destroyed by typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines: the people who pay the highest price for overconsumption and pollution are those who see the least benefit.

Greenpeace strengthened my belief in the power of nonviolent direct action and my conviction that civil disobedience is essential to addressing this core injustice, to bringing about a truly transformational change not only in the way we feed and fuel our world, but in how we think about wealth, growth, and value – how we reinvent the future in the face of what Naomi Klein has described as an incredible opportunity disguised as a crisis.

In the six years I’ve been with Greenpeace, we’ve secured so many victories – from Shell’s decision to abandon Arctic Drilling to Italian energy giant ENEL’s turning its back on fossil fuels. From dozens of major retailers agreeing to Detox their clothing lines to agreements with major deforesters to end peatland destruction in Indonesia. From Facebook’s agreement to friend renewable energy to new Marine Reserves that have increased the size of our protected waters. But these are but small contributions to the vast changes that a far wider movement is driving – from the unprecedented court decision in the Netherlands that the government is negligent of its duty to protect its people if it doesn’t cut CO2 by 25% by 2020 – driven by tiny NGO Urgenda – to Elon Musk’s decision to open source the design of the Tesla electric car and the PowerWall smart battery, to crowdfunding campaigns for oceans plastic cleanup and prototype solar roadways to new models in the sharing economy to The Guardian’s coal divestment campaign. I have found myself on podium after podium speaking from the same agenda of climate urgency as Sharan Burrow, the head of the global trade union movement. I leapt from my chair in celebration after reading the Pope’s recent encyclical on stewardship over the Earth. From every category of human endeavour, from every continent, we’re witnessing an awakening – an unprecedented conspiracy of courage and commitment to change.

My friends, I leave you with a final thought. As you look around you, remember what the history of the human journey teaches us. The greatest struggle we face is not inventing clean technologies or fundamentally changing the way we produce value or measure growth: these are small challenges compared with how we have changed the world and our own civilization over the course of the few centuries that we’ve risen up. I refuse to believe that the pace of change for survival will be slower than the pace of change for profit. In times of war, in times of threat to our families or nations we’ve found unforeseen strength, and we’ve done impossible things.

But there’s an essential ingredient. Without it, the burst of efforts and evidence of change that we see today will remain too little, too late.

That ingredient is hope. It’s the belief that change is possible.

I saw with my own eyes what happened to the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa once people in large numbers came to believe change was possible. I look around today, and I see more and more evidence that we can beat the worst ravages of climate change. It will take fast action. It will take courage like we have never witnessed on a global scale before – from banks, from corporations, from artists, governments, religious and labour leaders, the charity sector, the billionaires, and from every one of us. Every time the world takes a step forward, be it Apple powering all of its data centres on renewable energy, be it Obama saying no to Arctic oil, be it your university’s decision to divest from coal, your neighbor’s decision to grow their own vegetables, your parent’s decision to volunteer for a cause, or your colleague’s decision to eat less meat – whenever anyone makes a contribution to building that better world we know in our hearts it is possible, we have a duty. A duty to share. To tell the world. To make that courage contagious. Make it a norm. Make it an expectation that this is how the world works. Belief requires evidence, and the stories we tell one another evidence our beliefs: some stories propel us forward. Others hold us back. We can believe that change is impossible, or too expensive, or naive, and consign the fate of this earth to death by business as usual. Or we can fight back. We can stand up and say that a better world is not only possible, it’s being built right now, by the individual and collective acts of courage of every one of us.

http://m.greenpeace.org/international/en/High/news/Blogs/makingwaves/Kumi-Naidoo-departure/blog/55151/?platform=hootsuite#.VnwaEgZ8xRQ.mailto

You_are_here

Dear Readers and Friends, I know there have been many moments during this past year when things looked very bleak, when it seemed that the Dark Forces (Star Wars aside) have had the upper hand in our world, and I am keenly aware as I write these words, on this Christmas eve, of the many millions of suffering humans on Earth right now. The needs of humanity are greater than ever, and the task of working towards ending war, extreme poverty, violence and strife feels overwhelming. And yet. Progress is happening all across our planet, by many thousands of us in a vast and dazzling array of human kindness, compassion, innovation, inspiration, and acts of will for what is True, Good and Beautiful. The Light that we carry can no longer be squelched by those who would keep us forever in darkness. The tide is turning, at this very moment. We are reaching critical mass for a clean, peaceful and hopeful future for humankind. Every time you give a positive thought, word, emotion or deed out, it reverberates into the human collective and gains momentum. Your words matter. Your thoughts matter. Your kindness matters, more than you can even imagine.

One of my great heroes, John Lennon, penned the following song lyrics as something for humanity to aspire towards. They are simple words, with profound meaning underneath. The more we can cast aside our cynicism and pessimism, embracing instead the power of imagining a world without border guards, guns, greed, wars, violence and lies, the sooner “We can stand up and say that a better world is not only possible, it’s being built right now, by the individual and collective acts of courage of every one of us.”

You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

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Author: SingingBones

When we sing over the bones, we are calling the wild nature, the instinctive soul back, singing it alive again. To live with our wildness intact, is the greatest gift a woman can give herself. "It is the holy poetry and singing we are after." C.P. Estes

2 thoughts on “Looking back, envisioning ahead

  1. Absolutely stunning,my dear friend…..I just finished a wonderful book that speaks of this emerging dream of the heart……….WAKING THE GLOBAL HEART by Anodea Judith…..brilliant! Recommended reading……and my new book LOVING IT ALL: LIVING WITH AN AWAKENING HEART….both speak to this emerging reality….not a moment too soon!

    P.S. For some reason, I did not get my copy of this blog but Diane did….can you make sure I am still on your list?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi David!! I think the subscription comes via your email address, so just click on my subscribe button on the blog page to ‘re-subscribe. I don’t know how to see who all is getting my posts thru WordPress, apologies!! Wishing you both bright blessings during this season of Light and Peace, love Leigh

      Like

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