I recently discovered papers written by Zhiwa Woodbury, so I don’t yet know how much I will agree with him as I read more. But I agree with the following excerpt. This paragraph strikes a chord in me now, as I am trying to make sense of what is going on in the world today. I recently returned to the concept of sensemaking in Where are we now?
We have a stark choice between our own eventual extermination or a near term transformation. Such a transformation of human culture and the global economy will not come about without a simultaneous shift in collective consciousness. Trauma always raises questions of identity, whether considered at the scale of the individual, a culture, or now with the climate crisis, at the scale of an entire species. The choices we humans are making now – and will continue to make – in response to this spiritual emergency will determine whether we engender spiritual emergence, the messy rebirth of our species, or instead we repeat the kind of Great Dying that once wiped out 95% of all life on the planet, and took 10 million years for the biosphere to recover. My purpose in writing this book is to offer guidance and succor to all who those natural healers and existential professionals in the world, all those who hear the cries of the Earth, and all those advocating for climate sanity in every arena of life, so that we may attend Gaia’s bedside and serve as her spiritual midwives in planetary hospice. Whether Gaia is now dying, just ill, or about to give birth is largely dependent on how we, as a species, respond to her signals and attend to her needsClimate Trauma, Reconciliation and Recovery by Zhiwa Woodbury
I do believe we are in a spiritual emergency and need a shift in collective consciousness. I often write about spiritual poverty. We spoke about this, too, last night during our weekly (Quaker) Spiritual Sharing Small Group.
We need to be advocating for climate sanity in every arena of life.
I always hesitate to bring this up, but I think we need to speak from our own experience. When I moved to Indianapolis in 1971, I was so horrified by the clouds of smog (before catalytic converters) I decided to live without a car. I know others have done so. But the point is, that was one way of advocating for climate sanity. It is heart wrenching to think of what a different world we would be living in today if fifty years ago we had decided to prioritize mass transit systems. And worked to build our cities and towns as walkable communities.
That was then. What do we do, advocate for, now? Our society clearly continues to refuse to think, let alone do anything about our deepening environmental catastrophe.
Rather than close coal burning plants, more are being built. Rather than stop further fossil fuel pipelines and other infrastructure, more is being built. Crazy schemes like carbon capture are being built. Some of what is captured is used to frack more oil from the ground.
Militaries are the worst polluters. The war in Ukraine and military operations globally need to be stopped immediately. The war in Ukraine is war against Mother Earth.
“CLIMATEWIRE | Greenhouse gases trapped 49 percent more heat in 2021 than in 1990, as emissions continued to rise rapidly, according to NOAA.
“Our data show that global emissions continue to move in the wrong direction at a rapid pace,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad.
NOAA found that carbon dioxide, the most plentiful and long-lived gas, expanded at the most rapid rate over the last 10 years. But the most potent global warmer also broke records: methane increased more than it has since at least the early 1980s, when NOAA began its current measuring record. The methane emitted in 2021 was 15 percent greater than in the 1984-2006 period, and 162 percent greater than preindustrial levels, NOAA found.”Record Methane Spike Boosts Heat Trapped by Greenhouse Gases. NOAA’s Annual Greenhouse Gas Index finds that greenhouse gases trapped nearly 50 percent more head last year than they did in 1990 by John Fialka, Scientific American, June 1, 2022
“We have a stark choice between our own eventual extermination or a near term transformation. Such a transformation of human culture and the global economy will not come about without a simultaneous shift in collective consciousness.”
We are continuing to make this choice now and it’s for our eventual extermination.
What will it take to make the other choice, for a near term transformation? What would this shift in collective consciousness to transform human culture and the global economy be?
This shift in collective consciousness requires a response to our spiritual emergency. Returning to Indigenous ways, the idea of LANDBACK, would be part of a response. For Quakers, fortifying our Spiritual awareness, and acting on what that reveals, could be part of a response. The radical reimagining of our lives, our culture by the concepts of Mutual Aid could also be part of a response.
I was a little surprised when I wrote:
The reason I have been led to experiences with Native people and my Mutual Aid community is because the stories, the value structures I find there are closer to my values than those of White people in general in this country.
And most radical is to change, or return to how we look for and interpret our stories. To embrace spirituality in ourselves and our communities.
Although we rarely speak of it, our shared spirituality is what I have found to be the deepest connection with my Native American and Mutual Aid friends.Where are we now?