29 June 2014

Another Dark Night of the Soul

Am I just too sensitive? One little rejection has tossed me into a tailspin ... one little rejection that represents a collective denial within my profession of the climate change emergency. 

Once again, a climate change workshop proposal that I submitted to a major environmental education conference has been turned down. Once again, they chose the happy-happy submissions about climate change instead. 

I have written before about the need for teachers, given their vast influence in the world, to step up, bolster some courage, and face the climate change emergency as the heroes they must become. But it's really hard to spread that message when even environmental educators only want to hear the good-news stories and the what-can-I-do-with-my-students-on-Monday? ideas. There seems to be no interest in hearing the truth, feeling the pain of it, then delving deep and discussing some rich questions.

So, do I give up trying ... keep trying but with a new sense of resignation about my chosen profession's chosen denial ... or disguise the intent of my proposed workshops in the hopes that one day, I'll have one accepted? 

Luckily for my saddened spirit, I came across the following quote just before bedtime. It helped me realize that I'm part of my own problem, and that I'm going to have to step it up and quit taking it personally (actually, I didn't take the rejection personally; I felt it on behalf of the millions of schoolchildren around the world whose teachers aren't taking the climate change threat to their future seriously).

Happy summer to my colleagues, and may each of you take just a couple of hours during your time off to investigate the greatest crime ever against the children -- of all species -- and how you could respond.
How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence ... when one finds darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox.... There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.
- Barry Lopez, in Arctic Dreams


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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?