Posted by: drjamm | October 15, 2009

Climate change challenges my spirit

What does the world require of me?

— UU hymnal

The first time I heard a scientist present the evidence that our use of fossil fuel and other “modern” behaviours were radically changing our climate and potentially threatening the survival of most species on the planet, I felt like I was hit by a train. Sitting in that dark room watching slide after slide showing alarming evidence of the consequences of a warming planet impacted me like repeated blows with a sledge hammer.

I went home after that talk CRUSHED. I felt plunged into despair and hopelessness. Rather than being mobilized to make change, I felt completely immobilized. I knew I had suffered some kind of Spiritual wounding. To heal myself and regain my balance, I had to unplug from all discussions about climate change and even avoid the media. I was hurting and not functioning long after that first climate change talk.

Then, one day I was at a party and the discussion gravitated to the grave implications of climate change. Oh no, I thought, I have got to get myself out of here. “I find this whole discussion so debilitating that I have to excuse myself,” I confessed to my friends at the party. That’s when one friend said to me, “What are you talking about. This is GOOD NEWS.”

What? Good news? I thought he was seriously deluded or just not paying attention to all the scientific reports. And at the same time, if there was good news, I really really needed to hear it. For the sake of my badly aching Soul, I needed some hope and good news.

So I asked, “What’s the good news?”

And this is a paraphrase of my friends answer: The good news is that the denial is over and true, motivated, conscious change is possible for the first time. No more doubts; no more um-ing and aah-ing. The “let’s-wait-and-see” time is over. The good news is that YOU are the one who can make the difference and NOW is the time. Can you, for example, reduce your gas dependency, stop using plastic bags, and recycle? “Yes, I am already doing that and I could even do way more than that if I planned out my life better,” I eagerly replied.

And in my “Yes” response, I felt the bleak, hopeless, spiritual despair around climate change lift and a new wind of “Can-do” Spirit entered my body. My spirit thrilled to the good news that we have a great opportunity to turn around a bad situation. My spirit came alive to the hope that all was not hope-less. My spirit blossomed in the faith that if I do all that I can and — with my good example — inspire others to do the same, that eventually we will have the transformation required to re-balance the climate.

Personally, I was spiritually devastated by a massive presentation of research findings about the perilous effects of a warming climate; but then I was not in denial about climate change in the first place. I felt nearly mortally wounded after such a heavy hitting presentation that was designed to break down someone with thick-walled denial about climate change. Oh please don’t misunderstand: I am deeply indebted to and grateful for the brilliant scientists who brave making these presentations available to us. I just need to be discerning about how much information I consume in one sitting because I can feel seriously overwhelmed and dis-empowered to act.

Ever since I heard the good news about climate change, however, I have been optimistically changing my habits, increasing my efforts to be mindful about my “foot print” on our beautiful planet. By focusing on the good news — while not in denial over the climate challenges — I have been nourishing my Spirit, acting-in-faith that my very best effort will be just enough of what this world requires of me.

What does the world require of me?
To seek justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly upon the Earth
Justice, kindness, and walk humbly upon the Earth.

– from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal

May you find your good news “edge” that will inspire and sustain your very best effort while you work, play, give service to others, and live a life in balance with the our beautiful Earth . Blessed Be.

For more on Blog Action Day see:

bright heart singing, copyright 2009 – jamm. Creative commons attribution, non-commercial sharing only (translation: feel free to quote me in context or use this entry but please always credit me for my work, thanks.)


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