05 March 2010

Okay, I'm Back! Depression -> Anger -> Action

The suicide of our young friend really got to me. But I'm happy to report that several things have conspired recently to pull me out of my "it's no use, the world is too cruel" blue funk and depression.

First, I attended a work-related retreat that decidedly did not live up to its name (it was purported to be about "education for human sustainability" — but I was the only person there talking about the survival of our species). That got me realizing that there is still an ENORMOUS amount of educating to do — even amongst educators. And that's my vocation, so I need to hop to it.

Then, at the retreat, I talked with a lovely mother of two students. She told me that she has lots of energy to create change, but that even contemplating the climate change emergency saps her of this energy. So I found myself giving her a pep talk that worked on me, too! Here's what I suggested to her:
"Feel the despair. Truly feel it. Don't be afraid. It's the perfectly natural reaction if you understand the situation. But then turn the resulting depression to anger (especially on behalf of your children). And then, as Gandhi suggested, channel that anger into positive action."
Also, I've been inspired by some friends and fellow climate change activists who have decidely NOT let the situation get them down. Whoosh, I'm being swept along by their ongoing hard work and enthusiasm. (We don't have to be strong every minute, but we should remember who's got the life buoys.) I am also grateful for supportive emails from acquaintances and strangers.

Then, some posts on my favourite listserve got me hopping mad about how much we're allowing the climate scientists to be bullied. I've always been a defender of the underdog, and right now the climate scientists are down and need our support and defence.

Sure, the IPCC has flaws ... perhaps the greatest is that they were set up to NOT make policy recommendations. Another flaw is that they decided at their first meeting to sugarcoat the truth (the scariest story in 2030: Confronting Thermageddon in Our Lifetime by Bob Hunter) in order not to alarm the policy makers into feeling there was nothing to be done. They haven't been including carbon feedbacks in their therefore too tame projections. And many of them have not been courageous enough to speak out about the climate change emergency (join the crowd). Indeed, I suspect that many of them are so focused on reductionist research that they haven't even seen the climate change emergency, which requires an integration of research results and a bird's eye view.

But they don't deserve our doubt and derision on top of the deniers' / skeptics' / ignorers' / delayers' bullying and harassment. If anyone deserves our compassion right now, it's the climate scientists.

And finally, spring has arrived here in the Pacific Northwest of North America. I cannot feel blue when every plant I see is demonstrating such life force!

For the sake of the Earth, the future, and the children of all species, I'm back!
(with thanks for the photo and the kind thoughts to Karen of BitStop.ca)

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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?