Reflections from Council https://newearthconversation.org/council/
From personal experience, talking with someone or a group of people who share the same concerns with you is like being able to breathe again after escaping from a deoxygenated chamber or taking time to breathe when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It is like you are breathing for the first time, you can almost taste the air as it gets to your lungs in cool droplets, you remember again what it is like to breathe, you take time to slowly take in all the oxygen and let it sit in your lungs as it brings strength and new life to weak tired cells. Also, taking time to breathe intermittently when climbing any mountain is so crucial. It can determine if you give up on the way, head back home in shame, blame yourself for embarking on the journey, faint or die from exertion, or get to the peak. As you take in the air during these intermittent pauses, you reenergize yourself. During those pauses, you say to yourself “I can make it.” If climbing with a team, they tell you, “breathe, we will wait for you,” and then after a while they say, “come on.” Pennebaker et al (1988) express this same thought differently: “Studies have shown that simply talking about our problems and sharing our negative emotions with someone we trust can be profoundly healing — reducing stress, strengthening our immune system, and reducing physical and emotional distress.” The experience at council was like breathing again, drawing strength from our collective resolve, and encouraging ourselves not to give up on positive possibilities for the planet and its occupants.
One thing that has stayed with me from Council sessions is not to lose courage. It is like weathering. As heating and cooling continues, the rock that stands in the way becomes weak and begins to chip off in screes and taluses. No heat is too small to bring to the table because every heat and positive energy counts. There were bonding moments at points where concerns such as “degrading into ambivalence” and questions such as “how the heck did we get to the point where we have to convince ourselves to save ourselves and others” were met with affirmative sighs and sideways head nods. Also, equally connecting was the consensus around “the art of reimagination and thinking through possibilities” and “bringing intention and vision and not distracted by the noise of society.” We need to talk about death so we remember to work out and take our vitamins — take those actions that can help prolong life because “talking about death and dying or by preparing for death” (Open Democracy, 2020) does not “necessarily speed up the process” (Open Democracy, 2020) — it could slow it down if combined with meaningful positive choices and actions. Instead of listening to the deafening and extreme noise for “more individual autonomy, control and consumption, we should be guided by a visceral responsibility for healing, together.” (Open Democracy, 2020)
Questions that remain for me are:
· what the strategic plan will be to “to crush the fossil fuel economy”” asap?
· how do we incentivize or convince funders of current fossil-based investments who long to maximize and over maximize their investments to consider other alternatives?
· how do we effectively call out to induce change those whose self-centered myopic actions destroy the commons and exacerbate poverty and other systemic injustice?
Pennebaker, James W.,Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K.,Glaser, Ronald. Disclosure of traumas and immune function: Health implications for psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 56(2), Apr 1988, 239–245
Open Democracy. Preparing for the end of the world as we know it. August 24, 2020