Climate Change as Ally (Stay Awake!)

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Purpose & Preparation: This story gives us an opportunity to practise “reframing” a familiar story of threat into one of support for positive action … a kind of aikido move, taking the energy of attack and using its momentum for protection.  So, just find a quiet and nurturing place, inside or outside, and take a few deeps breaths … perhaps practise a little floating leaf meditation from Focusing. Imagine your mind open and expansive, and just listen to these ideas.

Process

 

Reflection: After allowing those ideas to settle, reflect on these questions in your Joyality Journal:

  • Flipping the concept of climate change from one of a threat, to one of support for the changes we need to make … does that change how you feel in any way? How?
  • Can you think of any other “limiting beliefs” or stories that you tell yourself that prevent you from taking positive action towards the things you care about?  List a few of these on the left hand side of your page.
  • What are some alternatives to those limiting beliefs and stories?  Look at each belief and ask yourself “is this completely true?”. For each “limiting belief”, on the right hand side of your page write a different belief/story that might empower and motivate you, support and nurture you … and the world.
  • When you focus on these new beliefs or stories, how do you feel? If you find some good ones, perhaps write them on post-its and remind yourself!
[Download MP3s: Climate Change as Ally, or you can use the Transcript text below to guide others.]

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[Transcript Climate Change as Ally]

Process: The story of climate change is familiar to us. Climate change is the biggest threat to the continuance of human civilization and life on Earth that we have ever faced. It is a threat to our lifestyles, our comfort, our consumptive habits, our children and grandchildren. It is a source of fear and uncertainty, something we would rather avoid thinking about and wish for never to happen. We would like to share with you a different story about climate change, one that opens doors instead of closes them and breeds courage rather than fear; one that we feel vastly expands the potential of what is possible and ignites the energy necessary to make it so.

What if instead of thinking of climate change as a “threat” to humanity, we think of it as an “ally” of “The Great Turning”, of global transformation, of the social, economic and cultural shifts we need to create a world that is not only sustainable, but regenerative and joyful. Extreme weather events associated with climate change are disrupting our “normal”, fossil fuel dependent, consumeristic ways of life, and even our ability to conduct “Business as Usual”. From the perspective our sustainability, this is a good thing!

Arguably, even if the “threat” of climate change did not exist, we are still in need of fundamental changes in our societies, economies and cultures. Even without climate change, almost half the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 a day, food and water insecurity are widespread, income inequality is rampant and extreme, racism and sexism are still harsh realities, and for all our material wealth in the “developed” world many people are deeply unhappy or dissatisfied. So, even if our extractive and consumptive economy wasn’t going to crash the planet (which it is), even if we could go on like this forever, would we want to?

In order to address these issues, fundamental shifts in priorities, lifestyles and ways of thinking about ourselves and the world are needed. The “threat” of climate change clarifies this need and constricts our timeframe, putting severe pressure on us to act quickly and boldly. Climate change then, can be seen as an ally, a natural catalyst, helping us to do what we have been needing to do for a long time. Perhaps this is what we needed in order to see, to truly understand, just how wrong we have been. The Earth is trying to get us to wake up, and though she will not spare us if we do not heed her call, she moves slowly enough to give us time, enough we hope, to turn things around and start off in a new direction.

Reflection: After allowing those ideas to settle, reflect on these questions in your Joyality Journal:

  • Flipping the concept of climate change from one of a threat, to one of support for the changes we need to make … does that change how you feel in any way? How?
  • Can you think of any other “limiting beliefs” or stories that you tell yourself that prevent you from taking positive action towards the things you care about?  List a few of these on the left hand side of your page.
  • What are some alternatives to those limiting beliefs and stories?  Look at each belief and ask yourself “is this completely true?”. For each “limiting belief”, on the right hand side of your page write a different belief/story that might empower and motivate you, support and nurture you … and the world.
  • When you focus on these new beliefs or stories, how do you feel? If you find some good ones, perhaps write them on post-its and remind yourself!

Source: This process was developed based on Eshana’s 2015 article “What if … Climate Change as Ally”. Please contact Eshana through the J-Team if you would like a full copy of her article.

Other Resources: Limiting Beliefs and How to Turn Them Around; This Changes Everything.

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