For decades I have traced the connection between capitalist organization of society and denial of the living universe as possessing rights equal to a small segment of human society that dominates the Earth and us.
Giving voice to “inanimate” beings such as mountains, rivers, forests, and the non-human life that keeps us alive and healthy is the work of storytellers: artists such as writers, poets, musicians, and the myriad creative visionaries among us. Add birds and every living creature that vocalizes or lays a chemical language on leaves and on trails on any part of the creation.
As humans we must tell the truth of the moment: a destructive way of thinking and operating a society has caused climate change. Extractive technologies are a good example of how a way of thinking about the living Earth as inanimate, a “resource,” allows and even promotes the destruction of the living pith that keep us alive. It is hacking away at the very ground on which our lives depend.
I can think of no other magazine and group of visionaries than Emergence Magazine that is bringing essential truths and astute visionaries to these discussions. Here listen to an interview with Amitav Ghosh, scholar and writer which explores the ways in which capitalism creates an ecological crisis. For people living in countries dependent upon capitalist economies, i.e. the developed world, this is a clear, fresh voice for the unseen and unheard. He discusses his new book: The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis.
David Abrams describes his journey to understanding that everything is alive, and remembering this is a fundamental step toward addressing climate change. Listen on Emergence Magazine Podcast. Abrams sees our times as imbued with great possibility for fundamental change in how we live by recognizing how everything we perceive, everyone and everything – the “others” – are part of us.
To celebrate the life and work of Barry Lopez, Emergence Magazine presents this tribute to his life and works. Make sure you turn off all media and work and give it your full attention. I guarantee it will reward you.
UPDATE January 20, 2021: The Interfaith Power and Light movement has developed a climate action week educational kit that you can use to support youth climate actions that are challenging our culture through legal means. Click here to learn more.
Young people acting for a safe climate and their futures are growing. Our Children’s Trust is an example. This youth movement utilizes the law to seek justice for a right to a safe climate. Youth Climate Finance Alliance approaches climate injustice by focusing on the rapid devolution of the fossil fuel industry to achieve climate decarbonization.
The Sunrise Movement takes a direct approach by helping elect “green” candidates working for faster adaptation and mitigation of climate change. They provide political action structures such as phone calling banks, and regular demonstrations on issues that takes place at legislators offices to draw attention to elected officials who are accepting support from the fossil fuel industry.
SustainUS is a youth coalition that works across borders to unite youth to transform the colonialist policies (especially extractive industries) that continue to exacerbate postive action on climate and human rights. Here is a quote from the website that illustrates the razor-sharp understanding of the social and political roots of the climate crisis:
The pandemic is an extreme symptom of the climate crisis. Our collective response must also address the inequities at the root of the climate crisis, which include our health as a sacrifice zone. Just solutions to the pandemic go hand in hand with just climate solutions. Now, it is abundantly clear that the coronavirus has decimated communities across the globe, unearthing the complex and harsh circumstances of the most marginalized. The same migrant farmworkers, Indigenous communities, and low-income people without access to the internet or the privilege to stay at home are impacted first and worst by the climate crisis. Even worse, we know that the damage we continue to make on this planet will pave the way for worse pandemics to happen down the line.
Go here to watch Earth Emergency. Narrated by Richard Gere, it is an update on the climate conditions today. Feedback loopsthat cycle back and increase the impact are clearly explained in many systems: polar ice, forests, lakes and oceans. The film is one everyone can understand. Please share it with your friends. We are in a climate emergency but its urgency is being dampened by the pandemic and worries about the economy. People, our Earth is the basis of every economy.
From Woodwellclimate.org: Earth Emergency will stream simultaneously with broadcast and be available on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video app, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV and Chromecast. The film will also be made available to astronauts on the International Space Station. For more information, check local listings on PBS.org and the PBS Video app.
This is a time to come to terms with the behaviors and decisions of this generation. Listen to David Orr public lecture about the rights of prosperity in a time of ecological disorder. He not only understands design that rights inefficient and harmful systems to systems that are based on ecological systems. He champions our universities as laboratories of design that upend the current society’s destructive systems.
He says, “The ecological challenge is a crisis of mind.”
This beautiful ballad was shared with the Mammoth Cave Group of the KY Sierra Club last night by Ron Whitmore who sang it for our Holiday Party. I consider it the best and truest gift given to me in many years and one I believe is needed now. See the link at end to listen to the songwriter and singer, Greg Brown, perform it.
“WASH MY EYES THAT I MAY SEE THE YELLOW RETURN TO THE WILLOW TREE OPEN MY EARS THAT I MAY HEAR THE RIVER RUNNING SWIFT AND CLEAR AND PLEASE WASH MY EYES AND PLEASE OPEN MY EARS WASH THIS WORLD THAT IS ONE PLACE AND WEARS A MAD AND FEARFUL FACE LET THE CRUEL RAGING CEASE LET THESE CHILDREN SLEEP IN PEACE AND PLEASE WASH THIS WORLD AND PLEASE LET THESE CHILDREN SLEEP IN PEACE” (“Wash my Eyes” song & lyrics by Greg Brown)