Have you looked up?
The recent movie “Don’t Look Up,’’ has a message that is clear…it is a perfect analogy to our climate crisis: a comet hurtling towards earth at warp speed. When it hits earth, which is imminent, it will destroy all life on earth.
While our climate crisis may not destroy all life on earth, our way of living will be vastly different. We are past wondering if the climate crisis is real. Most say we are experiencing it already: from the massive fires in California and Colorado, to tornados in the Midwest, and hurricanes on the East Coast and Gulf states. But the question is, when it becomes as irrefutable as the comet, now what?
What can any individual do? I go on about my life as if nothing were wrong much of the time. Most of us collude with the comet speeding down towards us in this way. Some just continue to deny we have a problem or if they acknowledge it, they figure as an individual, they can’t do much about it. Most of us now know we are in a climate crisis, but feel powerless, so we go on distracting ourselves in a thousand different ways.
We might say that we are living currently in a transition from a post-industrial society powered by fossil fuels – the culprits in causing our climate crisis – to a radically new one most-likely powered by renewable energies (wind, solar, geo-thermal). This transition will cause us to rethink our life-styles as it isn’t certain that renewable energies can completely supplant fossil fuels in providing the life-styles we now enjoy.
But, how will this ‘rethinking’ happen?
One thing seems certain, we can no longer count on government to save us. The latest COP in Glasgow showed us this. The Paris agreements from the last COP were kicked down the road once more. Most watching the Glasgow COP were disappointed in how little had happened since the Paris agreements were made.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where those benefiting from the profits of fossil-fuels, do not want to change. To a large degree, they fund the governments who we depend on to reign them in so we can feel protected during this transition. What does this mean? It means (as Ghandi famously said) we need to be the change we want to see in the world.
But how are we to do this?
The late David Bohm (1917-1992) anticipated all of this during the later period in his life. One of his latest books, co-authored by Mark Edwards Changing Consciousness (1991), anticipated the devastation around climate we are now facing. His proposal of Dialogue gave us tools for exactly what we are facing.
By learning and practicing Dialogue with its skills of Suspension of Judgement, Listening, Assumption Identification, and Inquiry & Reflection, Bohm provided us a powerful tool to move through this transition we are now experiencing. Dialogue and the worldview it is based upon – how life is radically interconnected – is a path forward for dealing with our quickly changing reality.
Dialogue helps us connect us with others around us. It is the glue that can lead to collective solutions. What we can’t do on our own, we can accomplish with and through collaborations with others. IT IS THE TOOL OF THE INDIVIDUAL, AND THE CONNECTOR TO OTHERS.
Wherever you live or work, by integrating the skills of Dialogue in your day-to-day life, you, as an individual can contribute to making the changes in life-style that when added up with the changes that others are making, will shift our world.
Let us join together. Let us think together in generative ways. Let us lock arms and walk forward with new hope and connections both locally and around the world. Power through Dialogue can take us through each juncture yet unknown. We have agency. We have an ability to think together creatively and unfold novel solutions.
When forced to climb to a higher rock, take others with you. We can all connect thru Dialogue. We can find ways to make this transition together, ushering in the future we want to bring forward.