The Missing Piece of the Climate Change Conversation
There’s something that bothers me about the climate change conversation. Actually, there’s something that bothers me about the way we talk about the environment in general.
We treat the environment as if it were a separate entity. We discuss the climate as if it were something outside of ourselves — a thing we have to fix. If climate change didn’t threaten our cities and economic development, we might just go on polluting our rivers, soils, and air just as we’ve always done.
There is so much outward energy focused on legislation, reducing carbon footprints, and converting energy sources. If we could get everyone to eat a certain way, drive a certain way, consume in a certain way, then the problem would finally be solved.
These things may have their place, but there aren’t enough conversations reminding us that we are the earth. No matter how much rearrange our external actions, we’ll never truly solve the problem because lack of connection and oneness are the deeper issues.
Our goal shouldn’t be to heal the earth for the earth’s sake, but rather to heal our collective sense of self. Humanity and earth are not separate entities.
Aubrey Marcus articulates our problematic dialogue this way:
There is this idea that humans are a virus, humans are a disease to the earth and if we were just gone everything would be great. But to accept that you have to have a lot of self hatred, about human beings, and hatred of the collective self of human beings which then doesn’t help anything at all.
We are the earth. We’re literally made up of the earth. We eat little bits of earth and drink the water of the earth, and breathe the air of the earth, so we grow and our cells turn over. We’re inexorable from the earth. We are part of it, and as shepherds of this planet, we can do more for our self. We’re just healing our collective self.¹
If we want people to be part of healing what is broken, we need to help one another reconnect to a greater sense of place and belonging in the world.
People may go weeks, months, and even years without touching the bark of a tree, or digging their hands into the soil, or splashing their face with a stream. Children receive education about the world in through books and screens but not so much in nature’s great classroom itself. We’ve developed ways of being in the world that sever people from the natural environment, and then expect them to come rushing to its rescue.
So many people have never had a sacred experience with a stream or a mystical experience with a tree. They’ve never sat in silence in the great expanse of an open meadow. They’ve never become disoriented starring up into the night sky and into the infinite space beyond. Many people don’t know this natural world they’ve been asked to rescue.
In essence, they don’t know a fundamental part of themselves.