As well as being passionate about energy healing, part of my life’s path is to be an Earth activist. I have been advocating for sane climate policy for over a decade, and co-host a weekly podcast, Eaarth Feels, where my co-host and I have soul-based conversation about climate change. This is this week’s Best in Climate episode of Eaarth Feels. (Click here to listen)
It is the height of a beautiful northern Ontario summer. Wild blueberries are ready to be picked. Our garden zucchini plants are already producing more than we can eat. The heat of the long July days means that, more often than not, you’ll find our family down at our dock cooling off with a jump in the lake.
Sounds idyllic, right? Most of the time it is, especially when I remember to take a page out of Eckhart Tolle’s “be here now” philosophy. In his book, Practicing the Power of Now, Tolle writes “The moment that judgement stops through acceptance of what is, you are free of the mind. You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.”
I don’t disagree with Mr Tolle. Yet. There are so many earth-shattering, culture-shaking things happening right now. I don’t believe Tolle endorses perpetually keeping one’s head in the sand. Denial is not a spiritual practice. Anything that is fear-based is not a spiritual (or consciousness-expanding, if you prefer) practice. I’m working on releasing judgement and fear, as Tolle suggests. I’m not, however, ready to ignore the seismic shifts going on all around the world but in particular in the US right now. These shifts, I believe, are essential to us collectively addressing climate change as the urgent emergency that it is.
The racism, misogyny, and inequality that are being called out are an inextricable part of the current western cultural paradigm, or way of viewing the world, that dominates the globe right now. This same paradigm is founded on disregard and disconnection from the earth that sustains life. Hence, the environmental degradation we see evidence of in the climate crisis and the sixth mass extinction to which we seem unable to muster an adequate response.
What headline-grabbing news is encouraging me to think that a paradigm shift is underway? I’ll share four reasons.
Reason #1. Global capitalism is now on a death spiral.
The climate crisis has its roots in the economic and social exploitation of unfettered capitalism. We are five into the global COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down huge sectors of national economies. We are likely on the precipice of a massive economic recession. While the very real pain people are feeling is not to be celebrated, the fact is that this COVID-19 related economic crisis may be the only thing that could possibly shift the current runaway unsustainable global economy. The economic and other pain we will feel with unmitigated climate change in a decade if we don’t take decisive action on the climate emergency will be a great deal more than we are currently experiencing.
Economic inequality, which is built into unfettered capitalism, takes a terrible toll on the quality of people’s lives. This kind of capitalism is how we have gotten ourselves into the state of climate emergency. We know, for example, that there are 100 companies are responsible for 71% of the global GHG emissions since 1998.
A New Green Deal that provides equitable employment for people in the clean energy economy and also in mitigating climate change impacts won’t happen without a whole lot of external pressure. The current situation might just be able to provide the impetus needed. If it is implemented, however, is a way out of this toxic economy that has gotten us into this mess.
Reason #2. Inequality is now being exposed for the threat that it is to a country’s economy and its citizens’ health.
It’s time to recognize that the climate crisis has its roots in the economic and social exploitation that characterize our current economic system. Unfettered capitalism only works well for the top 1%.
The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the huge inequality in healthcare access in the American for-profit health care system. The U.S. now leads the world not only in terms of coronavirus deaths but also in the total number of confirmed cases. It turns out American capitalism is not only incapable of addressing the climate emergency, it’s also really bad for public health.
Reason #3. Racism is now being unmasked.
Without racial justice, there is no climate justice. The climate crisis has its roots in the unfettered capitalism that currently runs our global economic system. Without real democracy (and violent militarized troops deployed on peaceful civilians is the opposite of democracy), there is no climate justice or climate action.
Black Lives Matter protests continue in major US cities and are now being met with heavily armed federal troops, who are uninvited and unwelcome by city and state authorities.
Moms in bicycle helmets, dads with leaf blowers, and now military vets are showing up to form a protective wall between the protestors and the federal troops, who are employing tear gas and shooting impact munitions at peaceful protestors. Let me repeat that – militarized federal troops are shooting indiscriminately into crowds of ordinary people in America. As professor of history & peaceful Portland protestor Maureen Healy, said in a FB post written while recovering from tear gas and a rubber bullet to her head,
I wanted to, and will continue to, exercise my First Amendment right to speak. Federal troops have been sent to my city to extinguish these peaceful protests. I was not damaging federal property. I was in a crowd with at least a thousand other ordinary people. I was standing in a public space.
…We must take this back to Black Lives Matter. Police brutality against Black people is the real subject of these peaceful protests that have been happening in my city and across the country. What happened to me is nothing. It is nothing compared to what happens to Black citizens at the hands of law enforcement, mostly local police, every day.
A world in which we have solved for climate, but leave intact the racist and exploitative systems that created the crisis is not, in fact, a world in which we have solved for climate.
Reason #4 Misogyny is being named and shamed.
Without equality for women in our society, there can be no climate justice. The climate crisis has its roots in the patriarchal system of unrestrained capitalism, built on a foundation of economic and social exploitation. To address the climate emergency, patriarchy must go.
Last week Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC as she is known, gave a brilliant response to a nasty misogynist attack from Republican Congressman Ted Yoho where he called her, among other things, “a f**king b**ch”. AOC’s measured and articulate response on the floor of the House is worth watching in its entirety, (link here) but her statement linking Yoho’s actions to the culture of abuse against women that permeates western culture is worth repeating:
“What I am here to say is that this harm Mr Yoho tried to levy against me, was not just an incident directed at me. But when you do it to any woman, what Mr Yoho did, was give permission to other men to do that to his daughters. In using that language, in front of the press, he gave permission to use that language against his wife, his daughters, women in his community. And I am here to stand up to say that is not acceptable.”
Thank you, AOC.
Quantum Thinking is required
Quantum physics tells us the “solid” matter that we are, and are surrounded by, is not solid at all. Rather is, at its most basic level, constantly vibrating energy. Everything that exists is, in its essence, energy. You think you are a solid object but quantum mechanics has confirmed that at the subatomic level, the particles you are made of are blinking in and out of this reality.
Another astounding finding of quantum physics is the interaction between the “observed” and the “observer”. This “observer effect” is the theory (which has yet to be proved inaccurate) that even passive observation of quantum phenomena changes the measured result.
Let’s let that sink in. We are not solid matter, we are vibrating energy. And consciousness – our consciousness – has an impact on reality.
The energy healing that I do every day in my wellness practice is based on this quantum reality. Quantum theory hasn’t quite made it into mainstream consciousness yet despite the fact that it’s has been around for over 100 years. This is probably because it suggests some very strange conclusions about the physical world which are in stark contrast to the mechanistic worldview of Newtonian physics that we were taught in school, and which still forms the foundation of most sciences outside of physics.
If we take seriously what quantum theory suggests about the interaction between consciousness and more “solid” reality, that brings us back to Eckhart Tolle’s approach to life. What if we do as he suggests and stop viewing the situation outside of ourself as threatening? What if we stop viewing others who disagree with us as just plain wrong, and possibly bad? What if we decide to release attachment – even just a little bit – to what we judge as bad or unacceptable? What if we, radically, decide to “forgive everyone, for everything”, a life philosophy suggested by my mentor Dr Barbara Stone.
If quantum theory is accurate, it tells us that there is much more to reality than what we can sense through our five senses. The mystery that quantum theory suggests, if fully embraced, can open the door to living life fully and joyfully even in the midst of a global pandemic, an economic recession, a climate emergency.
Native American elder, author, and retired Episcopal bishop of Alaska Steven Charleston wrote on Facebook recently
“Something sacred is coming this way. That is how my ancestors would have said it. In the midst of all this turmoil and confusion, when we cannot clearly see the path before us, when we feel trapped in a situation we cannot control, then I believe the wise elders of my holy heritage would climb to the high place of the heart, draw the circle of reason and faith around them, and stand to sing their prayers into the open sky of the history to come. They would not shrink into a corner afraid, but rise up to catch the first light of what was coming into being all around them. We are living in a time of emergence. We are the witnesses to a great renewal. The world is full of the fear of birth and change, but that transformation will one day be our blessing. Do not be afraid, but be believing. Come to the place where the ancestors are already standing. Come and see. Something sacred is coming this way.”
May your summer be filled with golden, sacred moments, and the gift of practicing presence. And, always, plentiful blueberries and zucchini