13 February 2011

Wearing Our Sweaters While Melting the Ice in Our Hearts

Two things came across my desk this week. (Now there's a pre-email expression, when notices arrived by post!) They're such opposite takes on what needs to happen that I'd like to juxtapose them here. Mind you, not to be unkind — with the sun peeking through the trees today, I'd like to believe that we're all doing our best. (It's just that our best really sucks right now and the future is rapidly becoming a thing of the past because of it.) I hope the juxtaposition will be instructional.

1. Did you know that February 17 is National Sweater Day here in Canada? Yup, it's the one day of the year we're supposed to turn down our thermostats — at home, work and school — and put on a sweater to stay warm. The announcement says
This single action can help make a difference to the future of the planet. If every Canadian turned down the thermostat by two degrees in winter, 2.2 megatonnes of carbon dioxide could be saved per year — the equivalent of taking about 350,000 cars off the road. That's an important step toward reducing our carbon footprint.
Two degrees? Is that all? Considering that the average Canadian household is about 22 degrees Celsius (71-72 degrees F) all winter, I think we can stand turning down our heat by more than 2 degrees, no? Especially in light of the fact that a lot of Canadians keep their houses cooler than that during the summer! How can we look our children in the eyes and say we've done all we could when we keep our houses cooler in the summer than in the winter? It's cuckoo! So yes, put on a sweater, but keep it on all blinkin' winter!

2. On the other hand, I also heard from Greenland Eskimo elder and shaman, Angaangaq, who shared this:

My Elders say it is too late to stop the melting of the Big Ice.

Everywhere I go, people ask: So what can we do? My Elders say: Change!

They say that the easiest ice to be melted is the ice on the ground. The hardest ice to be melted is the one in the heart of Man. Only by melting the ice in the heart of Man does Man have a chance to change and begin using his knowledge wisely.

We have been doing the same old stuff over and over again. And we know it does not work. We still have wars, the Big Ice is melting every day, pollution is getting worse, and we have never been so many people before. Now we need to change. Now we need to melt the ice in our hearts and to begin using our knowledge wisely.

See the difference? One strategy lasts a day, one suggests transformative change.

Are we willing to suffer the cold for the sake of our children? Or aren't we? (Mostly, we aren't.) The heat will come soon enough.

p.s. Please start praying for a miracle. Perhaps the miracle of compassion.

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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?