‘Fixing’ climate damage, part two

For any who didn’t read it, here is part one of this post:

‘Fixing’ climate damage, part one

What I didn’t have time or the frame of mind to say yesterday is this: climate change is not the problem, it is simply one of the largest symptoms of the problem. The problem is that we (speaking collectively as a species) have allowed our greed and insecurity, coupled with our belief that falling out of the trees a few hundred thousand years ago and not being smart enough to climb right back in them has somehow entitled us to dominion over the Nature around us, to run amok in our world for a very long time with little regard for the effects we might be having on how the world reacts to our presence. Here’s a little thought experiment: after you read the next sentence, close your eyes for a moment and visualize the message conveyed in the sentence.

This is our planet.

Now, what did you see when you visualized the above statement? People? People from your family, neighborhood, or community? People from all over the world, regardless of income level, belief or culture? Now, did your visualization also include trees and other plants? Other animals? Marine life, maybe? Gaia, herself and whole?

If we want to truly solve climate change, if we wish to responsibly alleviate the symptom, we have to solve the problem. Pumping more chemicals into the atmosphere is applying a little plaster to a growing crack in the dam … it is no solution, and could worsen the symptoms we are already observing. Our scientific knowledge does not make us wise enough to contemplate engineering the atmosphere. We have to work on ourselves, we have to reduce our greed and insecurity, we have to understand that when we say this planet is ours, this includes all life found upon and within it. We cannot expect to walk around and ‘fix’ each other, either: the solution is as local as your own mind. If your visualization to the thought experiment above didn’t reach beyond the human race, then you should work on that. The next step is to start looking for ways you can live your life in a more responsible, and less ego / human-centric fashion. Look for others of like mind, and start banding together. Don’t rush with this, take your time and do it right: impatience to amass wealth, resources and power is what accelerated this process – impatience is not likely to help us slow things down. The damage has already been done, and we might have to content ourselves with having to learn to honor our symbiosis with our world in a climate that is no longer as friendly as what we once had. With more dedicated numbers behind us, it’s more likely that we can change the ‘greater powers’ of governments and businesses, the half of which now either seem not to believe in climate change at all, or are embracing ‘green’ concepts because they see the potential to gain in finance or influence by doing so. The other half seem to be simply ignoring the topic altogether.

The necessary change is something we can compare to an oak forest. It begins with the individual acorn. Under the right conditions, and with help from the Nature around it, that acorn can grow stronger and with greater confidence, until it is a tree – mature enough to produce its own acorns, and perpetuate what has already begun. It is true, when you hold an acorn in your hands, that you hold the potential for an entire forest. It is also true, that if we allow ourselves to grow closer to the wilder world around us, looking to Nature for our ideas and guidance, and allowing those things to grow in the fertility of an open mind, that we might also change our way of living in our world.

This might seem a daunting task; but human potential is worth believing in. Mount Everest, after all, wasn’t always the highest point on Earth. With time and patient determination, I believe we can achieve much more. It begins with the individual awareness of our interconnectedness, and acceptance for the responsibility this brings with it. We can either hope our governments and businesses will at some point change themselves, and that this change will filter down to everyone else – including us – or we can begin to change ourselves. The choice in how we live with the world around us is still ours. With the thought experiment above, what we visualized after reading the statement was nothing more than what we chose to visualize: no government or business chose that for us.

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