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Climate Change & The Human Quandary

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Maybe so. Everyone has a history, and none of us is able to live as if it never existed, although we do have the capacity to learn awareness, acknowledgement, and choice. But do our histories doom us to repeat the past? If so, no human change would be possible, and we've all seen change after change in our own lives and the lives of others.

All of our explanations (and others you may propose) have value, but none of them points to a single stroke of magic guaranteed to dissolve denial and avoidance, awaken the somnolent, activate those who have been unwilling or unable to act. Just so, all of the campaigns attempting to awaken response have value: demonstrating and lobbying against the XL Pipeline or for a carbon tax, training young leaders, circulating petitions, for instance, as on 350.org.

Why? Because the human heart and mind are many-faceted, curving like a chambered nautilus around the unique cocktail of discouragements, fatigues, and internalized powerlessness each of us experienced. No overall explanation, however coherent and dazzling, can suffice to dissolve the tangle of obstacles on our path.

Some people I respect feel that our task is to activate everyone in roughly similar modes of protest and pressure: work on stopping the Pipeline, say, or defeating pro-Big Carbon candidates. Some believe that legislative politics move the world and all the rest amounts to chatter.

Maybe so, but I think the magic we need will come from less from answers than from the act of asking, of joining in dialogue about this urgent and universal problem, and of walking as many different constructive paths as we can devise.

When people tell me they are working on economic justice and the polarization of wealth, I understand they are also working on climate crisis, because the passion to accumulate and dominate created both. When people tell me they are working on racial justice, I understand they are also working on climate crisis, because the embedded beliefs that enable people to treat others as objects rather than equal beings is at the root of both. When people tell me they are creating works of art that cultivate empathy and social imagination, I understand they are also working on climate crisis, because our failure of empathy must be healed to heal the Earth.

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For me, wisdom lies in embracing the totality.

I like Bob Schneider's version of "Running on Empty" from the new Jackson Browne tribute album.

Running on, running on empty
Running on, running blind
Running on, running into the sun
But I'm running behind.

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Arlene Goldbard is a writer, speaker, social activist, and consultant who works for justice, compassion and honor in every sphere, from the interpersonal to the transnational. She is known for her provocative, independent voice and her ability to (more...)

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Isn't the "quandary" the myth that reducing CO2 em... by Simon Leigh on Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 at 11:44:40 AM
Many thoughts come to mind upon reading this. Here... by Daniel Geery on Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 at 12:42:28 PM