Freaky weather, fear, and doing nothing.

March 2011. The driest March for 50 years. April 2011. Getting to be the hottest. The year 2010. The warmest globally in 150 years. Floods in Pakistan and China. 11,000 heatwave deaths in Moscow. (Source).

Some of us are looking hard into technology to decarbonize (this is called ‘bright green’). Some of us are looking into behavioural change to decarbonize (this is called ‘dark green’). Some of us are looking into behaviour, gender, and justice (‘deep green’).

Some of us have concluded that climate change is not happening (deniers). Some of us have concluded that it is happening, but it is not human-made (sceptics of climate science). Some of us have concluded that it is happening, is human-made, and we can prevent it (includes activists). Or we can adapt (pessimistic pragmatism).

Finally some of us have concluded that it is happening, it is our fault, but it is too late to do anything.

I have encountered at least four people who are loosely of this last category. Their conclusion is that the human race must therefore be doomed.

There is another category. Let’s not think about it. Complete denial.

Perhaps we are all swinging between these positions like monkeys in trees.

What are you going to do? What am I going to do? Shall we just carry on doing nothing? How freaky does the weather need to get before action looks less stupid than inaction?

The nuns and monks of Plum Village say, ‘Let’s Wake Up Together’.


Fear is not much use.

We are afraid of…

…the impact we are having on the planet’s climate.
…the economic turbulence which will spin with every extra hurricaine and tornado the world faces.
…the demise in fossil fuels, and whether energy change will take away our assumed right to run automobiles and trawl the world looking to be entertained by primitives.
…the increase in theft due to the credit crunch.
…increasing political extremism.
…the implosion of governance systems which go to war without our consent.

…we know not everyone can live like we do in our country, yet we do not change how we live.
…we will not shore up the causes of that uncertainty, choosing instead to capitalise on uncertainty.

We are less afraid of AIDS or the nuclear threat, but we hold those fears in reserve.

But what does all this fear give us? Fear does not give us a resourceful mind to flex and adapt to a changing climate – to learn from climate how better to live our lives. It does not create fair economic systems, or social cohesion.

Fear is not much use as a tool. We have only to fear fear itself.

I will not be afraid of these things.

Buddhist monks on walkathon for environment

“The yatra is a way of embracing the ‘walking life’, which is beautiful and stress free. Why should we quit walking for cars and helicopters, when they cause so much damage to nature,” the Gyalwang Drukpa told reporters here before commencing the journey on May 25. Read more

The great disruption

Let’s today step out of the normal boundaries of analysis of our economic crisis and ask a radical question: What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable…(Read more)

The cosmos is teaching us

Todd Stern: “The science is clear, the threat is real, the facts on the ground are outstripping the worst-case scenarios. The cost of inaction or inadequate action [on climate change] are unacceptable”

In a vast cosmos, beyond any currently calculable size, is a small – comparatively microscopic – universe, within which rests planet Earth. Earth, teeming with billions of beings, all with different wants, aims, needs, ambitions. Including me.

No daily concern, not even Earth’s environmental crisis, troubles the cosmos a great deal. Perhaps the ‘dark matter’ that scientists are talking about today is love, because a benevolence, a joy, and an intimate interconnectedness seems to be what we feel – the One reflecting on itself in the made reality.

We might learn to live with the cosmos and its way this time, on our Earth, or we may take several more reincarnations to do so, or we might fail in the task. It seems to be the nature of the lesson to be learned. We are all still infants grappling, and pushing against what we don’t understand. In some way, at some level, it matters little if we push so hard, make so much tension between our chosen way of living and sustainable ways of living that the eco system breaks down completely for a few thousand years. The building blocks will perpetuate, and the lesson of the cosmos waits for another day.

But we might, just might, live to tell the tale. And if we do, will we carry with us the lesson? Will we have learned once and for all that working with the cosmos – living sustainably – is far more rewarding and beneficial?

We are on a journey of immense self-discovery as a species. We are only just beginning to emerge out of our animalistic origins in a cognitive sense. In other words, we are only just beginning to learn that ego, which developed for a reason at a certain stage in our evolution, and allowed us to fight off foes and compelled us to put our own survival first, is something that we nolonger have much call for.

We are not only atomised egotic self-constructs threatened with extinction and panic-stricken with limited technological options to save ourselves. We are that plus something else. When we return to the One in meditation, the sensation of the entire cosmos in its beauty throughout time is ours to share. It is there. It has a way it wants us to learn. And the lessons will keep for another day. Billions of human beings. I am just one. Who knows when we will all master the natural way of which Lao Tsu, Buddha, Christ, and others spoke of?

In the mean time, how will I respond? When I can see what the One can see; that it is all a lesson, that the cosmos is the One reflecting on itself, that the lesson on Earth will keep for another day, that a day will come when the lesson has been learned and mastered by all, that Eden, heaven, Nirvana, will be a lived reality again, I do not have fear or panic.

Not immersed in fear or panic, what will my contribution be to the human story while this scenario is unfolding? I have chosen the Mahayana (Zen) path of Buddhism. I am on a journey to bring healing to myself and go deeper into that ancient wisdom. As I do so, I sometimes have the great (but not unique) privilege of noticing how that process within me brings peace and healing to those around me too.

This is living with the seeing of the One, while in the marketplace of the pained world of today. Fear and panic do not help in dealing with the situation. Negativity does not help. Such responses are just as bad as the denial about climate change that I see in others and get frustrated about. To be effective in these times, with eyes wide open on the situation, requires me to have both great peace in knowing that ours is one small part of a great cosmic lesson, and from that peace, clarity about right action.