26 October 2014

Climate Change Happinesses and Sadnesses

I love xkcd's comics. They're pretty off the wall and fun (and sometimes delightfully inappropriate). And he's so generous that he allows non-profit folks to use them for free! The comic above is dedicated to my husband, who's always been someone who tilted at windmills, only the enemies he's been attacking haven't been imaginary. Okay, so maybe the hubby-as-Don-Quixote metaphor doesn't hold up (except in the minds of deniers, skeptics, ignorers and delayers). Hmmm. ;-)

On Friday, I attended a professional development workshop for educators on trauma. It focused on the impacts of trauma on child development, and how those impacts might manifest in our classrooms. The facilitator warned that it might bring up our own traumatic experiences, and by the questions and discussion that came up, I could tell that that was how most of us were making sense of the new information (especially about brain research) we were hearing.

The facilitator talked about Type 1 trauma, which is a single event, and Type 2 trauma, which is ongoing, such as a childhood filled with abuse, and that Type 2 especially creates all sorts of attachment disorders in children and therefore psychological (eg, anxiety) and psychosomatic problems later in life (eg, digestive problems). Everything is connected, and so this made a lot of sense. 

Today, I find myself wondering if we've subjected a whole generation of children (in the West and beyond) to a childhood of ongoing (Type 2) trauma, with parents and other caregivers disconnected from each other and the rest of Nature, within a polluted biosphere (light pollution, air pollution, water pollution, land degradation) and a polluted noosphere (the realm of consciousness), with fewer fellow creatures due to biodiversity loss (kids growing up without birds and butterflies is tragic), at a speed of human life and living that creates disconnections and anxiousness from the very start.

Just a thought. A sad one. Compassionate climate action would include giving children back a healthy, carefree childhood surrounded by caring, attentive parents and their loving Mother Earth. 

If you're not deeply involved in climate change activism, it's probably hard to imagine how incredibly traumatic it is to work and work and work for solutions ... and then constantly see only more obfuscation and delay on the global front. So imagine our sheer delight when we heard yesterday that Climate Action Network (CAN) International is promoting its fabulous 2014 climate change position statement far and wide! Thank you, thank you, CAN International and your 900 member organizations, not just for hammering out this powerful emergency response to the climate change crisis, but for pushing the important demands within it onto the international agenda. 

You know who these gentlemen are? When I saw this photo, I cried. This is Iraq's president, Fouad Massoum (left) and Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani. They attended the UN Climate Summit in September. Canada's not-so-prime minister did not. 

China, India, Russia, Germany, Australia, Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and more did not send their presidents and prime ministers. I dunno, it just made me sad that so few world leaders of big nations took the time to attend. Though I have to admit that it warmed my heart to see Iraq and Iran sitting next to each other, knowing what they've been through together.

This Hopi prophecy is happy-making for it gives one (all right, me) a sense that yes, it makes sense to keep on trying.
"The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves. Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. For we are the ones we have been waiting for."
Here's to another week of feeling the fear and the sadness (and the joys of connecting and small successes) and carrying on with this vital work!

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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?