The animal community, that is mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, has shrunk on average 68% between 1970 and 2020, according to the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London in the Living Planet Report.
What if pausing – slowing down – feeling – could re-embed this truth in our bodies and in the world? What if we could soften into this spaciousness?
Joanna Macy, Ph.D, author & teacher, is a scholar of Buddhism, systems thinking and deep ecology. A respected voice in movements for peace, justice, and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with learnings from six decades of activism. She addresses the question of “What Could Possibly Go Right?”
It’s worth noting that all integration work – in our relationship with the climate and in any area of our lives – is not a “holy grail” we find at one moment in time and then the work is done.
Dr. Britt Wray is a Human and Planetary Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health. She addresses the question of “What Could Possibly Go Right?”
The output of COP26 needs to be, as BreakThrough put it, “a ‘big minus’ in emissions, not ‘net zero’ emissions”. But it also needs to communicate acceptance an honest and a truthfulness, that the climate and ecological emergency goes far far deeper than just electric cars and heat pumps, it demands a fundamental reimagining of everything.
My relief is palpable, and I ponder how to protect my own child from all that would harm her; like this tiny, fierce mother hen, I want to shout a warning into the sky.
It’s in the cauldron of sharing our grief with our community, of gazing at it together and not looking away, that the heartbreak turns to hope.”
So go ahead and grieve. It’s a good sign that you’re shedding old defenses and denial. Which is precisely what we need now in the fight to save what remains.
Each of us can decide what is the right action for us to take. It is important that our action comes from a place of peace inside, and that it brings joy. It does not need to conform to other people’s standards or expectations. We can find our particular passion that lights us up, and put it in service to the earth, in service of strengthening our collective wellbeing.
We’re feeling a tipping point emerge, and it’s not just ecological. It’s cultural, political, and institutional. We’d best do the emotional work and be ready.
There are no easy solutions to the problems we are facing. Addressing climate change will take a lot of work by a lot of people all over the planet. The fight against our climate crisis is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. We will need to learn how to build resilience of our interiority as much as we engineer resilient communities and infrastructures.