Do you remember the monster who crouched under our beds when we were children? We would hide beneath our covers, hoping against hope that he wasn’t real. Scientists have long agreed that carbon count over 350 ppm is perilous for our climate. The environmental monster, more frightening than our worst childhood nightmares, has emerged. He is real and, what’s worse, he is us, an embodiment of our monstrous greed for economic growth and consumption.
We are not in Oz.
We are in the maelstrom."
That's over. Nature is out of balance.
We need to talk about resilience, how to live with the consequences of our action.
What makes human beings resilient in the face of trauma? Zolli asks us to become “Hardy People,” who
· Believe that the world is a meaningful place
· Believe that we have the agency to act in the world
· Believe that failures will occur but they may be overcome, that change is inevitable, that we will fall short but every attempt is to be valued.
We still have choices, I realized, but where on earth can we find the courage to face so much earthly destruction? “By stating that we cannot change the world,” writes Margaret Wheatley, “I do not intend to bury our motivation in despair. Quite the contrary. My intention is that we do our work with greater resolve and energy, with more delight and confidence, even as we understand that it won’t turn this world around.” I was also heartened by Carolyn Baker’s writings about developing “Emotional Resilience in Traumatic Times” and Bill McKibben’s book about Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. (see links, below)
Let’s get to it!
Make a list of the values we most cherish.How can we enact these principles in environmental actions?
Where can we find allies?
It has not been enough to cap and trade carbon emissions on a national level, nor has lobbying congress or marching against the pipeline in Washington done much good. Think global, but act local: amazing things have worked at the grassroots level. When plans were afoot to install the Keystone XL Pipeline right on top of the Ogallala Aquifer, a committee of grandmothers constituted themselves the Apple Pie Brigade to visit the Nebraska legislature week after week after week, bearing pies for their representatives and telling them about their fears for their water supply. Local organizations sponsored potlucks, tractor pulls, flashlight rallies, and wildflower drops in Capitol offices. Don’t laugh: the pipeline was moved.*
We can do this! We have the brains and the imagination to cook up local actions. Some of us write good letters, others are skilled organizers; some manage fund raising deftly, others can talk over the phone convincingly, while our tireless young can go door to door for hours.
*from Mary Pipher’s “Lighting a Spark on the High Plains,” at The Keystone Pipeline Fight Is Not Over - NYTimes.com
photo credit, Monster Under the Bed http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m241/veive257/monster.jpg