The summer of 2021 is turning out to be a summer of consequences. The turning of the wheel of karma is bringing to light long hidden actions.
Here in my country, the terrible reckoning of Canada’s brutal colonial past is being laid out for all to see as hundreds of unmarked graves are being discovered at the sites of former Indian Residential school sites. Europeans coming to “Turtle Island”, the indigenous name for North America, felt morally and culturally superior to the peoples whose land they invaded. This justified the cultural genocidal practice of taking children from their homes and placing them in what indigenous child advocate Cindy Blackstock refers to as “prison camps”, with the goal of assimilating these children into white culture. Many children didn’t return home, dying of either of neglect, disease, or suicide. Their traumatized families were told little or nothing about their fate.
While the wave of revelations about the unacknowledged graves of indigenous children shakes our country’s image of ourselves and our history, other consequences are being felt across much of Turtle Island as well.
Fueled by a major drought across the continent that is affecting Western Canada, most of the Western U.S., and most of Mexico, a catastrophic summer of wildfires is looming.
“Colorado, multiple jurisdictions across California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington State and Western Canada (including Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, have all issued warnings about potentially catastrophic fire conditions that may exceed last year’s horrific wildfire season,” writes the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.
An unprecedented heat wave struck the Pacific Northwestern US and the most westerly Canadian province of British Columbia at the end of June and into July, smashing temperature records as alarming new highs of 50 degrees Celcius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). The drastic heat and drought conditions resulted in hundreds of new wildfires being started, many as a result of over 700,000 lightning strikes caused by pyrocumulonimbus clouds that got superheated by existing fires. Ninety percent of the town of Lytton BC was razed to the ground after residents were given 60 minutes, if they were lucky, to leave their homes.
Where I live in northwestern Ontario, we are currently surrounded by wildfires, some as close as 50 kilometres, some further away. Many of them are burning out of control. A foreboding layer of smoke has been hanging over us for much of the past 2 weeks. Most days the air quality has been too poor to spend more than a few minutes outside without experiencing unpleasant physical symptoms like headache and chest tightness. I worry about the folks around me with asthma and other pre-existing breathing conditions. As I write this on the morning of July 12th, my neighbours and I are waiting to hear whether or not an evacuation order is going to be issued for our community this week.
If the evacuation happens, it will be the second time in two years that this community has needed to be evacuated because of wildfires, and only the third time in sixty years. A warming climate increases the likelihood of extreme weather events, like wildfires and droughts and floods.
Climate change is a global problem with local impacts. This summer I and my neighbours, along with the people of Lytton B.C., and countless others across Turtle Island are feeling the consequences of our collective reckless disregard of the climate consequences of burning fossil fuels. This summer the wheel of karma is turning to expose the devastating effects of our culture’s worship of profit over anything else, including life itself.
So where does that leave us? Is it time, or maybe past time, to throw up our hands in despair and assume the human experiment on planet earth is coming to a close?
As both a climate activist and someone who helps people in my wellness practice through my intuitive energy skills, I live in a world that embraces two very different realities. On the one hand, I am very aware of the well established science that is telling us, and has been for decades, about the urgency to act to decrease our carbon pollution emissions to zero in the next decade in order to preserve a livable future for our children and grandchildren.
On the other hand, I have experienced the transformative nature of healing past life and ancestral trauma both with my clients and in my own life. The spiritual coaching and intuitive energy tools I use are based on the idea, that has a strong basis in quantum theory, that we live in a world of energy and are able to impact the physical world by changing our consciousness.
Holding these two world views together has been a challenge for me, and I continue to explore ways to shift my own consciousness around climate change from fear to more of a “be here now” perspective that allows me to embrace the sacredness of life, even in chaotic times like these. The evolutionary progress in human history gives me, and I hope you, a reason to hope that the coming transformation that is necessary because of the environmental limits that we are hitting so dramatically, may exceed our wildest hopes and dreams. My spiritual awareness tells me that, in this shift towards a more loving way of being on this planet and with each other, we humans have support from evolutionary forces that are beyond our materially-bound comprehension.
There is a line in the movie Shakespeare in Love where, when Geoffrey Rush’s character is explaining the theatre business, he says “The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.” This is what we are facing in the planetary climate emergency. We can’t shrug and assume, as Rush’s character does, that we don’t need to do anything because it will all turn out well in the end. But we can embrace the sentiment that we don’t know how things are going to turn out, because life, like the theatre business, is a mystery.
What if we lived in these challenging times with a deep inner awareness of the mystery of all that surrounds us? And, for those of you spiritually inclined, with the added awareness that we are being supported in this shift by loving evolutionary forces?
May it be so.