We Are Talking About Climate Change… again
Image by RJR
Nigel Summerley: It has been reported that tens of millions of people could be displaced as a result of climate change in the next decade. I think that’s worth repeating: tens of millions of people could soon have to move because of global warming. The UN’s human rights committee has recently ruled that it would be unlawful to force immigrants to go back to countries where their lives are threatened by the effects of climate change. But how is that likely to play out in reality – in a Trumpian age in which law, morality and doing the right thing seem increasingly ignored and irrelevant? Where on earth are we – and the planet – headed?
Rowena J Ronson: We are already in a process of great change; however, globally we are just starting to wake up to it. But we have always been evolving as a species and as a planet. Everything is speeding up and we are now headed for decades of extremes, I feel. Some are perceiving these times as a great awakening. We now have to start respecting Mother Earth, as we have no choice. Over the past few months I have felt really fearful for those who will lose their homes and their land. I think a lot of fear is to come, and all that comes with fear. What do you think?
NS: It seems we must be headed for a long period of extremes – if not catastrophes. Climate campaigners, typified by Greta Thunberg, are making the point as strongly as it can be made that we have no choice. But, sadly, the climate deniers and climate prevaricators continue to behave as though there IS a choice. I think you are right about fear – probably leading to panic and violence – becoming dominant. Humans tend to live in fear of losing their “security”, not appreciating that there is no real security. Mother Earth is beginning to teach us that lesson very seriously. But will we listen?
RJR: We are Mother Earth, we are nature, we are the planet and we are all connected. We are not separate from others, from the animals and plants that live here, or from the seasons, the elements and the ground beneath our feet. This needs to be brought into everyone’s consciousness. This consciousness is rising, so there is hope.
NS: I agree about this universal connection. All life is not only connected but it is all, surely, one immense whole. All humans are more than connected – they are all the same organism, with a few mostly superficial variations. If this is how it is, then it would make sense for humans to treat others as themselves – and to treat the planet and its resources with the deepest respect. Neither of these things are happening, though (since humans remain self-centred) – so, yes, something has to change in people’s awareness. There is some beginning of change, but I don’t see anything drastic enough happening in the next 12 years – which is when our window of opportunity looks like being closed. Individuals are making their own changes: going vegan, stopping flying, not using plastic bags etc… But it is the governments and multinationals that need to make changes. Is there really any hope of this happening?
RJR: I agree with all you are saying. Much like when working with addicts (and governments and multinationals are addicted to their way of thinking), our world will need to reach its own rock bottom before they will choose to let go of their pattern of behaviour and work on another vibration. We can live in hope, though, for sure.
NS: In the meantime, could a radical change in human consciousness take place? Could the energy that we call nature (or Mother Earth or the vital force or the universe) act upon us (assuming that we are open to that)? Could the next steps in the climate crisis be out of our hands – apart from our opening ourselves up to be radically different?
RJR: Some people would say that all of this is actually happening already. If you think about it, the part of us that is Mother Earth would not necessarily be describing this time as a crisis as such, unless we include the idea of a healing crisis as part of the story. What do you think?
NS: I think that it could well be regarded as a healing crisis. And yet, for Mother Earth, the current upheaval is not so much a crisis as a time of change – but then perhaps all time is a time of change for Mother Earth. And maybe that change IS acting through some people already. I would certainly see Greta Thunberg (and her blunt message for humanity) as a personification of mother nature; Greta is a true force of nature. The crisis is for humans, and it is up to them whether they want to do something about it; we know Mother Earth will continue with or without us. Fear seems to have gathered in strength, even since we began this dialogue: a killer flu is spreading from country to country; vast plagues of locusts are threatening to destroy the food security of much of eastern Africa; Greece is setting up a “wall” at sea to try to prevent any more immigrants getting to the Greek islands… All this is breeding fear. Can optimism spring even now from humans being radicalised (in a positive sense of that word)?
RJR: I don’t think we will achieve optimism for a long time. As I said previously, we have to hit rock bottom first – much like with addiction. We are a long way from that level of awareness.
NS: Sadly, I think that is the case. Politicians, on the whole, only go green when it improves their image; companies only go green when they see money in it; and perhaps “the people” will only go green when their homes and cars and cities are on fire or under water – and their children are starving. But we may be closer to that kind of transformation than we realise…
RJR: And then there is the question: what does “going green” really mean? Maybe our readers can contribute to this discussion. You are all welcome to do so.