27 August 2009

101 Days - Where Should We Focus Our Action - and Compassion?

Our actions, as one species (and, frankly, as one dominating culture), are foreclosing on the future. We know we are doing it. We are marvelling, incredulously, at the fact that we are doing it. We are tracking and recording, in ever-increasing detail, how we are doing it. We are gnashing our teeth about why we are doing it.

Wouldn't it be easier to just stop doing it? To get a grip as the dominator culture and come together as a species?

No, for innumerable psychosocial reasons, which I hope to some day understand, we ... must ... perpetuate ... the ... status ... quo ... even ... if ... it ... kills ... us.

Is that karma? Pride? The height of hubris? Addiction? Or just plain stupidity?

At this point, it doesn't matter! Those of us who are serious about safeguarding the future must get on with it!

There are so few of us that we have to focus our efforts and our compassionate action. What focus will give us the most "traction" as I've heard it called ... the most "bang for our buck"?

(Indeed, I wish we had some "bucks" for saving the world. It seems almost all the money is still to be made by those ruining the planet - and those invested in ruining the planet and who do so without lifting a finger.)

Here is a list of possible targets:
  • investors
  • climate scientists
  • media
  • government leaders
  • general public
  • educators
  • faith groups
  • children and youth
  • CEOs of corporations that are destroying the future
Any to add? Where should we focus?

Let's have a look at the role compassion could play:
  • investors - People are pretty attached to their money, and don't understand the connection between how they make and spend their money, what they invest in and what's happening to the planet. Do we have time to gently explain to people (with enough money to invest) that investing in the transition to a renewable energy economy would be the greatest gift they could ever leave their children and grandchildren?

  • climate scientists - People don't become scientists because they are brave, outspoken or community-minded. But today, climate scientists must start telling the truth - which is something they are trained to do. Do we have time to evoke the hearts of climate scientists and encourage them to become the heroes of our age?

  • media - Most media, at least those that don't pride themselves on being fundamentally rightwing, "get it" and are increasingly reporting on climate change. Do we have the time to write to the heads of media who need a nudge? What about a campaign of letters to editors expressing our concern for the future? How about writing thank you notes to the reporters who are covering this scary issue well?

  • government leaders - Courage hasn't been a criterion of political service to one's country for a long time. Our politicians do not have the courage to do the right thing and risk losing the next election. How can we encourage them to become heroes for the future? Do we have time to create non-partisan or multi-party coalitions that will promise not to punish a government that does the right thing (for example, bringing in a carbon tax)?

  • general public - There are a lot of people in the world. What kind of campaign would convince billions of parents that they have the power to safeguard their children's future?

  • educators - They make movies about brave teachers. The rest of us did not go into teaching because of our courage. So what will convince educators that they have the right, as well as the means, to stand up for their students and demand a climate-safe future for them?

  • faith groups - Religious organizations around the world have been making progress on the climate front. But again, courage seems to come into it. How could we encourage those who lead or belong to faith groups to take a stand and protect Creation from destruction?

  • CEOs of corporations that are destroying the future - CEOs of banks and oil companies etc. are people, too, although they certainly have been hiding their humanity under a bushel basket (that's an old expression). Can we form circles of compassion around them, explaining that we know their predicament, while encouraging them to break the rules of their corporate charter, put life before money, and do it all for their children and grandchildren?

  • children and youth - You know how I feel about this, but my mind is changing. With deep honour for their right to a childhood, I am starting to believe that only a radical revolution by the young people of the world will melt the ice in the hearts of their elders.

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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?