Sacred Journeys: Saving the Earth Requires Changing Our Story of Unchecked GrowthKim Elkington December 8, 2015
These are extraordinary times. Immediately after the Paris and Beirut attacks by a borderless enemy, the world is coming together in solidarity. ‘Anonymous’ is taking down Twitter accounts to confuse the enemy, hackers are working to break the terrorists’ bit coin bank. We are coming together to express our unity against becoming fearful or reactionary in the face of such violence. The peace movement that sprung up in protest to the Vietnam war has transformed our society over the decades. In the 60s, love seemed the obvious answer to war, however many were duped by corporations and lobbyists (that profited from war) into believing that peace and love were ‘unrealistic’ and even ‘unpatriotic’.
There are many who still believe this old storyline, but clearly the majority of the world’s citizens are now savvy enough to know that as taxpayers and consumers we can choose a different story, and with enough of us participating we can move forward in love and unity on a global scale. Grassroots defiance has a confidence now that it might not have had 50 years ago, because where people once trusted the system or felt helpless they now feel the opposite.
The UN Climate Change Summit is a focus for uniting that wellspring of energy for social and environmental change. Because Paris is reeling from recent attacks, the planned climate change marches are not able to happen there so as I write there are over 2,300 marches being organized worldwide, in unity with Paris, to create the pressure that governments need to act on climate change.
Recently, I took part in a carpool that headed to a nearby town, on an eerily warm November night, to see a screening of Naomi Klein’s film This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus The Climate. The theatre was packed, and we all stayed afterward to share a little as a group: a bee keeper talked about how vital bees are to our food survival, another had witnessed fruit trees being hand pollinated in China, another offered that choosing a hormone- free hamburger, if you eat hamburgers, is a way of supporting corporate change. We signed up for buses to the climate change march in Ottawa, and joined the energy east pipeline updates.
As Naomi’s film points out, “There is still time to avoid catastrophic warming, but not within the rules of capitalism as they are currently constructed, which is surely the best argument there has ever been for changing those rules.”
The environment is truly a galvanizing issue. Saving the earth requires changing our story of unchecked growth at the cost of the world’s resources, our air and water quality, the health of our children, and the dignity of the world’s poorest people. (People only pick up guns when they feel threatened and frightened). If we change our lifestyle to reduce carbon emissions through clean and green energies, we have a chance to end so much suffering while creating jobs for a huge new industry. It is up to us to apply the pressure to create the changes we want to see in the world. If you are not familiar with avaaz.org, and want to participate in positive global change, I recommend joining their mailing list, which is over 40 million strong, for updates on issues and collective action. These are revolutionary times.
Meantime, my little town has raised enough money to bring in a family of nine people from Syria. I headed off this afternoon to support a first ever interfaith service lead by the president of the Islamic faith association, along with priests and ministers from five denominations at the local Catholic church. This is a very significant event for our area, and it is an effort to quell the fears of those who confuse Syrian refugees or the Muslim faith with terrorism. It was a beautiful event and the religious leaders clearly celebrate working together and building stronger ties.
They kept thanking those of us who first offered to support a family, for uniting them.
If the intention of the attacks in Paris and Beirut was to spread fear, it is having the opposite effect. We are taking to the streets, we are publicly coming together to show that we are uniting globally to save the earth and all that is good and decent about humanity. There is a critical mass that has finally shifted from fear of the other and fear of god, to unity consciousness, where god is love.
These are evolutionary times. These are our times.
PS – if you are interested in contributing to our fund so that we can continue to bring in another family, please go to valleywelcome.org