08 May 2011

A Compassion Tune-up, with a Hidden Message

Haven't done a compassion tune-up in a long time, so here goes (for Mother's Day).

What the World Needs Now has long been a favourite song of mine, though I always seem to forget how special until the next time I hear it. Well, I heard it the other day in a coffee shop, and burst into tears at a certain line.

I'm going to include two versions here. The first one had me bawling yesterday (and again just now). I'm old enough to remember the assassinations of John, Martin and Bobby — the end of an era of innocence, it seemed, even at my young age. Please watch this version first, as a general compassion tune-up. Then I'll explain why the song itself made me cry over my chai latté the other day.

This next version focuses on visuals that support the lyrics. (Some of the lyrics aren't quite right, but I applaud this speaker of English as a second language.) See if you can pick out the lyrics that impacted me so much in the café.

Did you guess these two lines?
Lord, we don't need another meadow...
There are corn fields and wheat fields enough to grow (not "glow" ;-).
It's more a curse than a blessing to know how devastating the impacts of climate disruption will be on agriculture. I've realized that the world needs more than love. It's no longer the only thing that there's just too little of. The food security of vulnerable regions and populations around the world is already and increasingly at risk, and even in developed nations, we are only one or two bad crop failures away from chaos. (And this is more and more likely as we allow the Arctic summer sea ice, which serves as an air conditioner for our summer crops, to disappear.)

We forget that we've evolved into an agricultural species, and we could soon be experiencing food shortages that will shake human "civilization" to the core. Indeed, climate change has the potential to turn us into anything but civilized; when food and water are scarce, love and compassion will be the last things on our mind. (That's why the US Pentagon sees climate change as a huge security threat.)

My Mother's Day wish for all the mothers in the world? That our leaders — local, national, international — acknowledge this urgency, and seize the day and take action before it's too late. Perhaps if enough of us become like mother bears — fiercely protective of our children — our leaders will have to listen, "get it" and act. What the world needs now is a very different kind of love.

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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?