Habits That Support Life
When I see drink cans, food packets and cigarette butts carelessly left on pavements, grass and buses, I can despair… And when I see, hear, feel or hear of the beauty humans create, I am inspired and delighted.
An amazing summer heatwave is here in Britain summer 2019 for us to enjoy in the short-term… Is there anything more to it than that? Is there really anything to get bothered about? Isn’t climate change something far away in the distant future, that we really just don’t need to worry about…?
As Climate Activist Greta Thumberg said it, “The adults are shitting on our future.”
If we look around, the visible signs of climate change already underway are obvious. There is a drastic absence of insects. 50 years ago, when I was a child, the air danced with the movement and hum of insects, especially in summer. Then car windscreens were covered with dead flies and butterflies were everywhere. We don’t need to read news reports of fires and floods elsewhere in the world, and scientific reports on species dying, ice sheets melting and carbon levels rising, to realise, directly, viscerally, for ourselves, that trouble is almost upon us.
It is not class, money, culture, education or intelligence that is at the core of the head-in-sand indifferent attitude of the vast majority of people, it is a lack of emotional intelligence. Have we done our healing work to process our trauma, pain and hurt from decades of living, ancestors and lifetimes? If so, we are more likely to be able to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ the shocking reality of our impending near future. If not, then it is just more discomfort, too much to be able to cope with… ignoring it and blocking it out, is just a whole lot easier right now than feeling it…
Dare we look up and really face the threat to our lives?
Dare we realise that we, in the ‘global north’ have an outrageously abundant lifestyle, exceptional in human history and geography, that we take totally for granted. We have been sold an illusion of short-supply, by industry and advertising, that want us consumers to be hungry for the next best, latest, up-to-date version of the same thing we had before.
Walking past a hot-desk-work venue yesterday, we saw a sign that said ‘Life’s too short.” That was their selling point. Life is too short so best get working hard in our luxury office! They are totally missing the truth, as my daughter age 9 pointed out, that people today live far longer than they used to, our predecessors died young. Where is our gratitude? Our proportion? Our sense?
We have been living almost literally as if there is no tomorrow.
We are at a remarkable crossroads right now. It is not just that we still have the slimmest of chances to drastically halt carbon emissions and prevent severe climate change, and all the difficulty that is likely in future to go with that… but literally we are facing a choice right now, between love or fear, caring or not caring, we or me.
Big industry creates most of the carbon output, yet still, you and I have can make a difference, practically and subtley. We are not without power.
What will you and I choose, today, right now, moment by moment as we go through our day? How much carbon are each of our small actions creating?
Can we be modest instead of competitive?
Can we be bothered to consider reducing our energy usage?
Will we put that lid on the saucepan and turn it off early? Will we turn our washing machine down 10% and not tumble-dry at all? Might we take one instead of three kitchen towels? Not leave that tap running? Or those lights on? Or leave that engine on? Will we delete old saved emails to prevent them using energy stored on heat-emitting servers? Will we reduce our online searches each with a cost in carbon production? Will we walk instead of drive? Buy second-hand instead of new? Mend, repurpose, recycle and exchange? What can we make instead of buy? Dare we leave our garden wild to help the insects?
Can we give up the convenience of delivered food or taxi rides homes? It may be that our style is not buying new stuff but it is buying an easy life…
Can we create new energy-conserving habits to replace our old ways?
I find it is an ongoing practice. Just like my mediation and movement daily practices. Sometimes I do them well, sometimes I am distracted, sometimes I don’t do them at all because there is so much else to do. I keep trying my best.
Conserving energy is a daily practice. Just like meditation, chanting, dancing, praying and all other mind/body/spirit practices, and like all other life habits, they have an accumulative effect, not just on us as individuals, but an affect on the world… It is the small things we do daily that matter… lots of small actions can create a big change…
Can we consider not just us right now, but those in the next street, village and country whose ability to cope with the floods, rodents, food-shortages and diseases may be far worse than ours? Can we care for those who are in trouble and not just me, me, me and now, now, now?
Can we open our hearts to others?
Can we treasure what we have?
This is the way ahead…