Juggling with the ‘It’s-already-too-late’ syndrome

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“I have had a big blue fear since I heard in a speech that for Planet Earth, it was too late. I felt collapsed for 15 seconds.”
~ Brice Pascal Abbey

In an era of global ecological destruction, climate change is increasing individual and societal anxiety, depression, existential dread and solastalgia. Australians are worried about climate change, what it means for their own futures, and what it means for the health and safety of their children. They are looking for hope and support in these difficult times.

Before you proceed on this page, I have a request. I’d like you to commit to that you will allow yourself to slow down and put a bit of time into this matter. To actually read, not just browse through. To focus, concentrate. Follow links. Watch videos. Explore and dig deeper.

Good. Thank you.

Here’s the thing. At the moment, we are getting an increasing amount of this on the news:

Humans will perish in 31 years, warns latest climate change study. Headline of Conde Nast Traveller on 4 July 2019

→ CN Traveller – 4 June 2019:
Humans will perish in 31 years, warns latest climate change study
“Cities like Mumbai, Florida, Shanghai will be reduced to swamps, 90% of mankind will be annihilated, says report released ahead of World Environment Day.”

The New Daily on 7 May 2019
https://twitter.com/Fridays4future/status/1135771153799274496

→ SBS – 7 May 2019:
Landmark UN report calls for ‘transformative change’ as a million species risk extinction
“The report is calling for a sweeping overhaul of the way we produce and consume almost everything, especially food.”

→ Washington Post – 25 January 2019:
Everything Is Not Going to Be Okay’: How to Live with Constant Reminders That the Earth Is in Trouble
“We know climate change is altering the planet. What do we do now?”

→ Anthropocene Magazine – 2 July 2019:
What’s the connection between climate grief and climate action?
“What makes people support action on climate change? For starters, of course, they need to accept the scientific consensus that climate change is real, human-caused, and serious. But studies have shown that’s not enough. They also need an emotional pull – a reason to care.”

→ Time – 22 April 2019:
At What Point Should You Start Really Freaking Out About Climate Change? Right Now
“Bill McKibben, author of the new book ‘Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?’, wants you to panic about climate change.”

→ CNBC – 21 March 2019:
Oil and gas usage seeing significant global growth, Enquest CEO says (video)

“Only business unusual can save us now.”
~ WWF

Red alert for nature

“Nature loss and climate change are the greatest systemic risks to our global economy, and natural disasters caused by human ecosystem disruption and climate change already cost more than $300 billion per year. Yet despite the mounting evidence that nature is in serious trouble, and that we have just 12 years to avert climate catastrophe, we are all but sleepwalking into a crisis.

The business case for nature is clear. While its true value is priceless, nature provides services to the global economy worth an estimated $125 trillion per year — two thirds more than global GDP. The science of nature loss has never been clearer. And the IPBES report reinforces the urgent need to put in place a New Deal for Nature and People if we are going to deliver the SDGs.”

→ Read the IPBES Global Assessment Report

→ Read WWF’s blog

The extreme weather events with heatwaves, tornados, bushfires and flooding are often described as a symptom of early stage cycle of civilisational collapse. What we are seeing now is the result of just 1C degree global heating since we began burning fossil fuels in the 1800s. As we destroy nature, we undermine our own quality of life, and if we really intend to keep burning up fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow, we are condemning our own children and future generations to insecurity and anxiety that comes with a global catastrophe.

→ Wired Science – 29 November 2018:
The climate apocolypse is now, and it’s happening to you
“Fewer than half of Americans think climate change is a right-here, right-now problem. So it’s critical that a new report on the impact of climate change is about the present as much as the future.” 

→ Washington Post – 31 December 2018:
Extreme Weather in 2018 Was a Raging, Howling Signal of Climate Change
“Climate change is here, and it’s already costing tens of billions of dollars a year,” one expert said

→ TruthOut – 28 May 2019:
After Years of Abuse, the Earth Has Sent Its Bill Collectors

→ World Economic Forum – 6 May 2019:
A shocking new report reveals what we’ve done to the natural world
“Warming world: Climate change exacerbates extreme weather, from droughts to storms”

→ The Guardian – 19 May 2019:
The heat is on over the climate crisis. Only radical measures will work
“Experts agree that global heating of 4C by 2100 is a real possibility. The effects of such a rise will be extreme and require a drastic shift in the way we live”

Radical transformative change required

We hear “experts warn that ‘transformative change’ is required,” as it was reported recently on AAP newswire via SBS:

“Alarmingly, the accelerating pace at which unique life-forms are disappearing — already tens to hundreds of times faster than during the last 10 million years — could tip Earth into the first mass extinction since non-avian dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago.

Around 10 per cent of insects face extinction, more than 30 per cent of reef-forming corals and marine mammals, and more than 40 per cent of amphibians.”

“Climate change exposes a fundamental failure of our collective imagination”

The question then is whether we believe or we don’t believe that we will ever see that so-called transformative change actually begin to happen. Or whether we, as a species, will simply be sleepwalking straight into our own extinction. James Dyke wrote in an op-ed on Desmog:

“One explanation for our collective failure on climate change is that such collective action is perhaps impossible. It’s not that we don’t want to change, but that we can’t. We are locked into a planetary-scale system that while built by humans, is largely beyond our control. This system is called the technosphere.”

“To understand you are in a prison, you must first be able to see the bars. That this prison was created by humans over many generations doesn’t change the conclusion that we are currently tightly bound up within a system that could, if we do not act, lead to the impoverishment, and even death of billions of people.

Eight years ago, I woke up to the real possibility that humanity is facing disaster. I can still smell that bad coffee, I can still recall the memory of scrabbling to make sense of the words I was hearing. Embracing the reality of the technosphere doesn’t mean giving up, of meekly returning to our cells. It means grabbing a vital new piece of the map and planning our escape.”

“The most effective guard against climate breakdown may not be technological solutions, but a more fundamental reimagining of what constitutes a good life on this particular planet. We may be critically constrained in our abilities to change and rework the technosphere, but we should be free to envisage alternative futures. So far our response to the challenge of climate change exposes a fundamental failure of our collective imagination.”
~ James Dyke, Senior Lecturer in Global Systems at the University of Exeter – a university which has declared a climate emergency

→ Desmog – 28 May 2019:
Op-Ed: Climate Change: ‘We’ve Created a Civilization Hell Bent on Destroying Itself – I’m Terrified,’ Writes Earth Scientist

Response

Either way we look at it, prospects are not looking all that good, the way things are going. Most people get that by now, even though governments and their officials do what they can to pretend everything is just fine and going as it should.

According to polls, more than half of the Australian population get it: we are in an emergency.

The question is what we do with that knowledge. As individuals we can only feel powerless and overwhelmed when confronted with this sort of information, as long as we can observe our leaders being in denial about it.

Most people respond in one of two ways to the never-ending stream of gloomy news stories and scientific reports about the disintegrating world our youth will enherit from us.

One way is to reject it. That’s simple and easy, and it solves the issue at a personal level. Just ‘be in the now’, and ‘live in the moment’. The older generations choose to shake it off and either pretend they don’t believe it is true, state that this will have to be somebody else’s problem – usually the government’s or future generations’ – or, plainly suppress it and forget it.

A growing part of the younger generations, the newly arrived members of society, however, are not taking this ignorance all that well. 16-year-old Greta Thunberg in Sweden broke the ice and made it okay to openly admit that, yes, we are shit-scared and worried about what’s happening to our planet and its ecosystems, and yes, we absolutely demand that our politicians take this seriously and come up with proper solutions now – at a speed and scale that will show measurable improvements on the scientists’ metres and graphs.

→ Elle – 6 June 2019:
If Climate Change Doesn’t Kill Me, My Anxiety About It Will
“How the earth’s devastation is burrowing into our psyches.”

 

Climate emotions

“If, at this point, climate change hasn’t made you feel at least one of these emotions:

1. anger

2. panic

3. anxiety

4. depression

5. despair

6. sadness

7. grief

…then you don’t understand #ClimateBreakdown.”

~ Nathaniel Rugh on Twitter

→ Rolling Stone – 16 May 2019:
How the Mental Health Community Is Bracing for the Impact of Climate Change
‘Eco-anxiety’ and trauma from natural disasters will be on the rise along with sea levels

→ Medium – 25 January 2019:
Climate Change’s Hidden Victim: Your Mental Health
“A controversial new class argues that you can’t begin to address the environmental impacts of global warming until you address the psychological ones”

“You can find a lot of hope in the insights or actions that arise from environmental grief. Because every time we mourn the loss of something we love — whether a person or place or species or habitat — it puts into perspective what really matters in our lives. Maybe ecological grief and anger and outrage could give us not just resiliency but also resolve. “To protect what we love” and prevent more loss going forward.”

~ Jennifer Atkinson, senior lecturer in environmental humanities at the University of Washington Bothell

→ The Guardian – 21 March 2019:
Tim Flannery: people are shocked about climate change but they should be angry
”The author and scientist, who has returned to his roots at the Australian Museum, says the world is about to see a major shift towards climate action. Tim Flannery laments that young Australians today will never be able to experience in the same way the natural wonders he enjoyed in his youth.”

→ EurekAlert – 11 March 2019:
Few pathways to an acceptable climate future without immediate action, according to study
“Aggressive and immediate investments in reducing carbon dioxide emissions are key for securing a tolerable climate for future generations.”

A new comprehensive study of climate change has painted over 5 million pictures of humanity’s potential future, and few foretell an Earth that has not severely warmed. But with immediate action and some luck, there are pathways to a tolerable climate future, according to a research team led by Tufts University.


At the edge of the Great Dying

Podcast: “At least a million forms of life are hovering at the edge of extinction, as humans take over the world. Lead author Sandra Diaz on the shocking new U.N. report. Then Columbia/NASA scientist Kate Marvel explains “hyroclimate” as rains and droughts go extreme.”

→ ecoshock.org

The fear is real

In March 2019, a group of birthstrikers in the United Kingdom announced they wouldn’t have children out of concern for the livability of the planet where they’d be raising them.

Climate anxiety is a relatively recent phenomenon, but the concern is spreading. A Yale survey in December found nearly 70 percent of Americans are “worried” about climate change, 29 percent are “very worried” — up eight percentage points from just six months earlier — and 51 percent said they felt “helpless.”

“Historians will say that groups of people have faced very difficult, tumultuous times,” says CPA’s Janet Lewis, who has a private practice near Ithaca, New York. “But human beings have never faced this before.”

Perhaps the most striking challenge about mitigating people’s climate anxiety is that the fear is real.

“Maybe it started when my son was three and deep into his dinosaur phase. “Will humans go extinct too?” he would ask, over and over again, in the way of three-year-olds.

“Will the world ever end?”

“Maybe,” I would say. “But in millions and millions of years from now.” The answer never pleased him because his timescale had as its base unit one episode of Thomas the Tank Engine. And how many episodes is that? “More than you could ever watch!” I would say. An impossible idea.

Then there was the heatwave and the bushfires in Tasmania, and the floods in Townsville, and news that all the insects could disappear, and the Great Barrier Reef turned into what looks like a pile of bones on the seafloor. And it didn’t feel so impossible anymore.

And my son, now six, is asking again if humans will go extinct. (…)

I did not think that in my lifetime I would be factoring climate change into where I wanted to live, yet now I’ll be doing it before next summer. There’s a Facebook group called ‘The Human Near Term Extinction Support Group’. I didn’t think Facebook groups would be there at the end. When Facebook first started, I joined a group called ‘I Heart Dachshunds’. I mean, I still do. But what is it to love a sausage dog at the end of the world?

My son has put aside his book to build a spaceship out of Lego. His little sister is shouting from the bathroom that she needs help to turn the tap on. I have to start making dinner. I forgot to defrost the lasagne. I cannot work out what is worse: the inexorable march to the planet’s destruction, or that in the face of it, I have to make dinner. Defrosting while Rome burns.”

. . .

“When humans are frightened and feel powerless, they can quickly become angry. And they will aggressively seek to project that anger onto those they believe are responsible for creating their fear.

As a mental health therapist, I’m concerned that when humanity awakens to the reality that global warming and global climate intensification are a serious survival threat to their future…..their fear and anger towards those who created this life-threatening situation could very quickly turn violent and extreme. This social anger and backlash could not only kill the golden petroleum goose; it could collapse the fragile financial structures of human civilization itself.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there.”
~ Dick Rauscher

→ Resilience – 4 January 2019:
Insights From The Wilderness – Human Civilization Will Not Survive Climate Intensification

Minefield of untruths

“Global warming has been metaphorically described as a cliff we are about to walk off. Unfortunately, it’s more like a minefield. The further we walk out onto that minefield, the more we are likely to set off explosions and tipping points that can’t be reversed.”

“I am concerned that the media and our government are not telling us the truth. Stated simply, the 1% that control the media, and the reigns of political power in Washington and other nations around the globe, have absolutely no desire or motivation to talk about the real threats embedded in global warming.”

→ Medium Usejournal – 11 March 2019:
Rising to the Occasion & Tackling Climate Change
“A morbid reality is no reason for surrender”

→ Medium – 21 April 2017:
Despair Is Not a Strategy: 15 Principles of Hope
“If you’re out there trying to change your neighborhood, community, city, country, or the world then this is for you. In moments when everything seems hopeless, read this to get your hope on.”

”When democracies become subject to untruths and vote-buying, the concept is emptied of its meaning. With encroaching global devastation, the rise and rise of fascist movements and regimes and a growing threat of nuclear war, no wonder many are despairing. It takes a child in ‘the emperor’s new cloth’ to cry ‘the king is naked’ and a girl like Greta Thunberg to tell the world “you did not act in time, you lied to us”. Only the children seem to know.”
~ Andrew Glikson

“Is there any hope for our futures?”

“I see a lot of resources talking about near-term human extinction, or the fact that thanks to climate change my generation will see the end of humanity. How likely is an outcome like this? Is there any hope for our futures?”

“To get our food, most of us humans depend on global transport, payment and logistics systems. These, in turn, require fuel, electricity, communications and a lot of other things to work properly.

All these systems are connected to each other, so if one starts crashing, the chaos may cause other systems to crash, and before we know it we’ll have massive shortages and conflicts.

It’s hard to calculate the exact risk of this happening, since it has never happened before. Until recently, the world was split into separate regions that were largely independent of each other.

But we do know that climate change puts the whole world under pressure – everywhere, at the same time – making the risk of these systems collapsing more serious.

For example, it’s easier for businesses to handle cybersecurity and energy supply when they don’t also have to cope with natural hazards. Likewise, it’s difficult for governments to maintain infrastructure when politicians are busy dealing with the public’s reactions to food prices, refugees and ecological crises.”

→ The Conversation – 29 May 2019:
Will climate change cause humans to go extinct?

Four reasons to be hopeful

Anna Rose wrote on Facebook:

“I’ve been a climate campaigner since I was fourteen – over two decades ago. In this time I’ve experienced a fair few devastating losses, and have a realistic understanding of how powerful the anti-climate forces are. So in many ways I’m not feeling that shocked or upset. I’m just determined to use the time and resources I have to make the biggest impact from here. 

So I wanted to share with you four reasons to stay hopeful and determined, and four reflections on where to from here. Firstly, DON’T GIVE UP. Courage on climate change means staying the course in the face of setbacks. Here are my top 4 reasons to be hopeful: 

1. The solutions to the climate crisis already exist. We are not waiting on someone to invent some technology or scientific breakthrough to fix this problem. All of the solutions we need already exist and are being implemented somewhere in the world. We just need to scale them up. There’s a quote I love – “The future is already here, it is just unevenly distributed.” My friend Damon’s film ‘2040’ comes out this week. Watch it. Take friends along. Especially take conservative friends who voted for the Liberals or Nationals along. If you prefer books to films, check out Paul Hawkens’ book ‘Drawdown’, and Tim Flannery’s book ‘Sunlight and Seaweed’. We need to get the message out – the solutions are here, they’re great, and they don’t cost the Earth (pardon the pun)! 

2. Humans are fundamentally wired for collaboration and empathy. It’s too easy to say we “hate” Queenslanders or people who voted against parties with good climate change platforms. But that is not helpful. It undermines the work that many of us in our movement are doing to reach out to conservative voters and build on our common values. We do not want to deepen the polarisation of politics that is going on in Australia. If we do, our opponents win and we turn into America. So let’s focus on our shared values and the fact that most people, most days, perform daily acts of kindness and cooperation that offer them no material reward. Think of something kind you did for someone in the past week, or something kind that someone did for you. Those of you who have studied evolutionary biology will know that humans are spectacularly unique, when compared to other animals, in our altruism: our kindness towards other members of our species. George Monbiot writes about this in his book ‘Out of the Wreckage’. He goes through the evidence that we have evolved to be this way. He points out that “by the age of fourteen months, children begin to help each other, attempting to hand over objects another child cannot reach. At two they start sharing some of the things they value. By three they start to protest against things they see as unfair towards other people”. He says: “Scientists can tell you that we only survived in the tough world of the African savannahs despite being weaker and slower than our predators and most of our prey because we developed, to an extraordinary degree, a capacity to work together and to help each other. This was hardwired into our brains through natural selection.” So let’s focus on the fact that most humans do care about the suffering of others and we can work together to solve big problems – and we just need to build systems and movements that allow people to see past the fear propagated by the Murdoch press, the fossil fuel lobby, and the hard-right of the LNP. 

Things can change FAST. Things feel terrible now. But who knows what will have changed a year from now? Three years from now? When you look back through history we can see this time after time. When people’s attitudes change, things can shift quickly. During World War II, production in factories across the world changed overnight – from cars to weapons. Climate change is not a war between civilisations, but it is a war for civilisation. It is a crisis just as big as a war. And humans are good in crises. Even with politicians in power who oppose action, their constituents can force them to change. Climate change impacts are only getting worse, and at some point all politicians from every party are going to realise that doing nothing is not an option, and be forced to act. Our job as a movement of people who care is to accelerate that awakening and then steer the solutions to ones centred on climate justice. 

The largest global movement in history is already working together to solve this crisis. The world is already coming together to address climate change. It is already happening in every community, every state and every country on Earth. We have all seen the student strikes and been inspired by them, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. A few years ago, Paul Hawken (the same author who wrote the book Drawdown that I mentioned earlier) set out to count the organisations working for environmental and social justice around the world, after he realised no-one had done an inventory. He estimates that there are between one and two million organizations in the world that are addressing social justice and the environment and ecological restoration. It is the largest movement in the world. We haven’t “won” yet, but things are certainly changing. And with the movement growing in size and power it’s just a matter of when. 

So with that in mind, what have we learned and how can we apply it going forward? 

1. We need everyone. You can’t sit this one out anymore. A lot of people care about climate change but don’t see themselves as an “activist” so haven’t yet gotten involved in the climate movement. Well, it’s time to step up. You don’t have to be an “activist”. There are so many organisations you can get involved in, from 350.org, Australian Parents for Climate Action and the Jewish Climate Action group to Farmers for Climate Action and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. And if none of the existing groups resonate with you, start your own! We need to get organised in groups to build a powerful movement, not act as isolated individuals. 

2. We need to get better at changing hearts and minds of conservative people. I’m working on a document right now called “how to talk with Liberal and National voters about the climate crisis” so stay tuned for that one. But in summary: seek first to understand, then to be understood. Learn to really have dialogue with people – it’s a skill you can get trained in. Find and build on shared values. Talk about renewable energy and all the fantastic solutions, rather than getting bogged down in a fight about coal. Remind people that there are lots of conservative politicians in the UK and the US who support action on climate change.

3. We need a lot more resources to go up against the forces who are against us. Clive Palmer spent an estimated $80 million to protect his coal interests in the Galilee basin by running an attack campaign against the ALP. Community organising to change hearts and minds and build power is long-term and expensive. Our movement needs to get much better at raising money to do things on the scale that the climate crisis requires.” 

 – – –

Existential dread

→ Australian National University – 14 May 2019:
How do we go on?
“Paralysed by climate despair, I’m finding it hard to think about the end of the world and what to make for dinner – but I know where to look for help. My job is to promote the great scientific minds at the Australian National University, so I decide to interview scientists from different fields – the health sector, the human environment, and the climate system – about how to exist in the face of existential dread.”
Article by Tabitha Carvan

Ian Arthur from Canada expressed it like this:

This is an impassioned speech from Ontario environment critic Ian Arthur in a climate emergency debate in council chambers.

“The motion did not pass, but the echo of these speeches will not fade anytime soon,” tweeted an Extinction Rebellion group.

Will we survive the next 100 years?

”I seem to increasingly ask myself the same question: Is this the end?”

Medium.com

Imagine a large, solid brick house. Imagine then periodically removing a brick here and there. For a good while, the house will still be standing fine. Until one day, it inevitably collapses – a massive crash. That day is dangerously close for the house we all share, according to the UN biodiversity panel which published its Global Assessment Report on 6 May 2019, exhaustively detailing humanity’s ecological devastations across all continents, and throughout all of Earth’s oceans. One million species are about to disappear, they report. The science detailing the twin climate and ecological emergencies makes obvious that we must completely change how we live in industrial societies, starting …now!

”The reality is we are sleepwalking into a catastrophe”

The British, Scottish, Welsh and Irish governments have responded to the public call for action and recently declared a climate emergency. To recognise climate change for what it is, an international, humanitarian crisis that threatens us all, why would the Australian government NOT join the UK in this call?

This dangerous, fearful moment also give us an exciting opportunity: we can create millions of new jobs and revitalise our economy, once we start to decarbonise all the various processes and workflows in our society.

If you want to see only ONE documentary film on this topic, I’d highly recommend you watch ‘Climate Change – The Facts’ – a BBC One documentary with Sir David Attenborough:

We are not in a static situation; things are shifting. Stay tuned in, and discuss these developments with those around you.

→ The Guardian – 6 May 2019:
Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life
“Scientists reveal 1 million species at risk of extinction in damning UN report”

“The longer our cascading environmental crises remain untouched by politics, of course, the more damaging and daunting they will become. Unlike climate change, the extinction crisis offers no clear targets to race toward or timelines to stick to. But addressing both will require, instead, a million revolutions, large and small, in the way we interact with and think about the natural world.”
~ Osita Nwanevu, staff writer at The New Yorker


TO CARE HURTS

Did you know that church ministers are now receiving training in how to care for people experiencing increased individual and societal anxiety, depression, existential dread and solastalgia?

Recently Jessica Morthorpe joined Citizens’ Climate Lobby for a 30 minutes session where she shared her thoughts about her day-to-day work as a Uniting Earth Advocate training faith-based carers to care in the face of dangerous climate change. It takes a special soul to do this kind of work. 

→ Read more about Jessica here 


Our affordable low-carbon future

Solar and wind have won the cost race.

In April 2019, renewables eclipsed coal generation in the United States for the first time.
→ Read more at Quartz

According to a new report titled Clean Jobs America, “nearly 335,000 people work in the solar industry and more than 111,000 work in the wind industry, compared to 211,000 working in coal mining or other fossil fuel extraction.”
→ Read more at Forbes

Britain has gone a full week without using coal power for the first time since 1882, in the Industrial Revolution.
→ Read more in The Independent

Ecological economist Julia Steinberger has written a must-read piece on the role of science — and scientists — in the ongoing climate change conversation. And she offers solutions for moving forward.
→ Read more at Medium

“Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit — in a world that is limited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest in a society that believes in the freedom of the commons. Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.”
~ Garrett Hardin, in Science magazine, Tragedy of the Commons, 1968  

“Unlikely humans will survive”

“The rising sea levels Al Gore tried to warn us about over a decade ago might not have struck a sufficient level of fear into people to inspire them to act, but if the prospect of a mass extinction age doesn’t convince us it’s unlikely anything will.”

“Any child with an elementary school education can recite the narrative of how dinosaurs once roamed the Earth, only to be wiped out when an asteroid struck the planet, altering the climate and destroying the resources dinosaurs needed to survive.

The circumstances we face today inevitably beg the question of whether our time in this universe is, in fact, nearing its inevitable end, or the intellectuals raising alarm bells are merely neo-Malthusians, preaching about a doomsday that remains perpetually on the horizon.

I will argue that the myriad existential threats faced by humanity today including climate change, nuclear proliferation, mass extinction, and the resulting stalled global productivity assault our species on too many fronts for us to possibly appreciate the scale of the threat we face or to take any significant steps to avert catastrophe.

I will lay out the dire circumstances in which we find ourselves, point to the interrelated nature of these threats, and lead to the conclusion that it is unlikely humans will undertake the exhaustive efforts necessary to ensure our species will survive for another 1,000 years on Earth.”

→ Continue reading on medium.com

Holding space for the inner crisis: Processing grief and loss

“It is an intensely uprooting time for many of us to begin deconstructing and abandoning many of the old ideals we once clung to regarding civilisation’s progress and a triumphal technotopian agenda. If I’m going to be completely honest and transparent with where I’m at in my own healing journey, grief has been a regular practice in my life for many years, so much that it has become a guiding theme and spiritual anchor.

I have grieved for future generations who never chose to be born into a world ruled by corrupt, undemocratic power structures and collapsing economic systems; innocent animals I ignorantly consumed before committing to a cruelty-free, vegan diet; our thoughtless destruction of the natural world and its irreversible epidemic of biodiversity loss, strangled by uninhabitable wastelands, dirty mining fields and consumer webs of plastic. I have grieved for exploited workers who are dependent upon predatory multinationals for their living wage, innocent civilians who have lost their lives and families as a result of senseless war crimes, refugees in detention who are subject to rape and abuse as a result of inhumane immigration policies, and indigenous peoples across the globe, who have sacrificed blood and bone to protect our dying earth from economic growth’s parasitic energy demands.”

→ Shift Magazine – 20 November 2015:
Anneke Vo: Holding space for the inner crisis

“What we need is deep transformation”

“Facing oncoming climate disaster, some argue for ‘Deep Adaptation’—that we must prepare for inevitable collapse. However, this orientation is dangerously flawed. It threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy by diluting the efforts toward positive change. What we really need right now is Deep Transformation. There is still time to act: we must acknowledge this moral imperative.”
~ Jeremy Lent, author of ‘The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning‘, founder of the Liology Institute, dedicated to fostering a sustainable worldview. For more information visit www.jeremylent.com

As the author Jeremy Lent points out in a recent essay, it is almost certainly too late to save some of the world’s great living wonders, such as coral reefs and monarch butterflies. It might also be too late to prevent many of the world’s most vulnerable people from losing their homes. But, he argues, with every increment of global heating, with every rise in material resource consumption, we will have to accept still greater losses, many of which can still be prevented through radical transformation.

Our system – characterised by perpetual economic growth on a planet that is not growing – will inevitably implode. The only question is whether the transformation is planned or unplanned. Our task is to ensure it is planned, and fast. We need to conceive and build a new system based on the principle that every generation, everywhere has an equal right to enjoy natural wealth.

This is less daunting than we might imagine. As Erica Chenoweth’s historical research reveals, for a peaceful mass movement to succeed, a maximum of 3.5% of the population needs to mobilise. Humans are ultra-social mammals, constantly if subliminally aware of shifting social currents. Once we perceive that the status quo has changed, we flip suddenly from support for one state of being to support for another. When a committed and vocal 3.5% unites behind the demand for a new system, the social avalanche that follows becomes irresistible. Giving up before we have reached this threshold is worse than despair: it is defeatism.

Today, Extinction Rebellion takes to streets around the world in defence of our life-support systems. Through daring, disruptive, nonviolent action, it forces our environmental predicament on to the political agenda. Who are these people? Another “they”, who might rescue us from our follies? The success of this mobilisation depends on us. It will reach the critical threshold only if enough of us cast aside denial and despair, and join this exuberant, proliferating movement. The time for excuses is over. The struggle to overthrow our life-denying system has begun.

→ The Guardian – 15 April 2019:
Only rebellion will prevent an ecological apocalypse
“No one is coming to save us. Mass civil disobedience is essential to force a political response.” Opinion-piece by George Monbiot

“The longer we leave it, the more strict we are going to have to be and the more ugly it will be. The onus is on every single person to do everything they can.”
~ Professor Liz Hanna, leading climate and health researcher

Climate grief workshop in Melbourne

Here is a link to the upcoming Recognising Our Grief about Climate Change – workshop run by Psychology for a Safe Climate – on 22 June 2019:

→ Bookings essential: www.eventbrite.com.au


“Australia, declare a climate emergency”

This petition calling for Scott Morrison and his government to declare a climate emergency started in mid-May 2019 and within three weeks, it had collected 100,000 signatures.

Would you consider adding your name? Or sharing?

“Send a strong message the newly elected PM: We request that you declare a climate emergency.  This would demonstrate a concrete commitment, a willingness to stand together and fight to prevent the largest threat of our times. We implore you to listen to us, your Australian constituent and request a meeting at your earliest availability. We believe in finding common ground and in working towards sensible, ethical bipartisan solutions.”