We Are in a Climate Emergency


Recently I attended a Climate Compassion Salon in Berkeley. Over 40 people crammed into the living room of a private home to hear Ezra Silk, The Climate Mobilization‘s Director of Strategy & Policy, speak at length about the climate emergency that we face. Below is my synthesis of inputs—Ezra’s as well as other Salon participants—from this memorable evening.

Friends, we are in an environmental, economic, social and spiritual crisis. For ten years people have been talking about climate change as an 11th hour problem. Now the climate clock has struck midnight, and we have a very small window of time to prevent ecological and social collapse.

We find ourselves freestyling—grasping for a viable path to survival because the predicament that we find ourselves in demands no less. If we continue business as usual, we are looking at a 4-5 degree increase in average global temperature. This would trigger the collapse of the life support system that supports human civilization.

We need to face up to this dire prospect and do everything we can to prevent it. This means changing the way we interact with the earth and with each other.

Solutions already exist; what is lacking is the social will and commitment to bring them about. People need to be talking and learning about these solutions, thinking outside the box about how we can rapidly scale them to meet the challenges we face.

Our circumstances require a visionary, radical, experimental path to international transformation—and it is imperative that this be a just transition. We can’t address climate injustice without addressing all forms of injustice, including what is experienced by front-line communities, low-income communities, and communities of color.

Raising the public’s awareness of the danger and getting their support for tackling this emergency is one of the most vital things we can do. There are so many great ways to engage! Meet your neighbors. Strike up conversations with people who cross your path. Have more community gatherings like this one. Show up at climate-related events to show solidarity, love and presence. All of this matters!

Ten years ago The Dalai Lama wrote a piece about how we all share responsibility for the climate crisis:

“In the face of such global problems as the climate emergency, individual organizations & single nations are helpless… Our Mother Earth is now teaching us a critical evolutionary lesson—a lesson in universal responsibility. On it depends the survival of millions of species, even our own.”

We who are alive now are responsible to the life processes that have evolved over eons. Life itself has generously given itself to us. Billions of years of life preceding us are flowing through us, and are counting on us. How will we respond?

12 Climate Empowerment Resources

Below are links to some excellent web resources for climate empowerment. A number of these are from The Climate Psychologist‘s website (the work of Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD), where a wealth of insightful material can be found about the psycho-social dimensions of the climate crisis. Dr. Salamon is also the co-founder and director of The Climate Mobilization.

Photo by Josh Edgoose on Unsplash.com

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