The health of our planet. Nothing is more important. Everything else – EVERYTHING – depends on us having clean food, air, and water and a freaking place to live. But as we watch what is unfolding around the world, the issue feels enormous and overwhelming. We KNOW what is happening and we KNOW we have the narrowest of windows to change things. It seems like a runaway train and there’s nothing we can do.

But it’s not a runaway train. There ARE things we can do. But we haven’t connected our KNOWING with our FEELING. We may know the science but we don’t act like we know, vote like we know, make choices on a daily basis like we know.

Two offerings: a thought/feeling experiment and two concrete actions to take.

First, the thought/feeling experiment (this is inspired by an interview I heard a few weeks ago with applied philosopher, Jonathan Rowson ~ the whole thing is fantastic, articulate and insightful, but if you want to hear the part I’m playing with go to 47:39):

If your lungs were “warming” or “changing” you might get curious and hang out and watch what happens and maybe Google the symptoms. But if your lungs were COLLAPSING you would do something. You would rush to the emergency room. Immediately and without hesitation.

If your house was “warming” or “changing” you might think it was in the natural order of things and you might just wait and see. But if your house was COLLAPSING, you would freaking call a builder immediately. And you’d get working to fix it – even if you didn’t have all the building skills needed to complete the whole project. You’d get in there and start cleaning that mess up.

Our climate is collapsing. It’s not “warming” or “changing.” It’s collapsing. And we need to act. We need to change our behavior. We need to wake up and work together. Politics is one thing. We need the political system to make change but as we can see, they follow us. So let’s show them that we are acting on what we know and feel. Let’s tell them clearly what we want them to do.

Two concrete actions to take:

(1) Start calling it “Climate Collapse.” Whenever you hear someone call our situation “climate change” or some other term, stop them and remind them of what it actually is and what it actually feels like: it’s collapse. Share this with everyone you know.

(2) Right now, ask yourself what is ONE THING I can do to help the planet. You don’t have to put solar panels on your house or become a vegan or grow all your own food (although those things would be excellent), just make one choice, one change, do ONE THING today, right now. And then do that again. Over and over. Every day. Do one thing.

Here are some ideas:

– eat one meal today without animal products or at least without meat

– bring your own bags to the store and reuse any plastic bags you have

– get a reusable water bottle and don’t buy water in a plastic bottle

– consolidate your driving to make fewer trips or carpool (together time in the car!)

– waste nothing. Use things up, wear things out. Repurpose, regift. Don’t consume more than you really need.

– hang dry your clothes

– turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving

– ask the businesses you patronize to take environmental impact seriously (e.g., ask them to stop using styrofoam, giving out straws, selling bottled water, etc.) and even better if you and your friends ALL tell them how important this is.

– write to your representatives and tell them how important this is to you. Check out the environmental policy and approach to anyone running for office AT ANY LEVEL. Make that a voting priority.

– do it together and make it fun – find ways of making a difference together. Talk about this with the people in your life in a hopeful, positive way. Resist the temptation to send doom and gloom articles to your people. If you get punched in the gut by something, share what you are doing to make a difference rather than how screwed we all are. Despair doesn’t promote action.

Friends, there is nothing more important than this. There are so many things we can do right now, this moment, today. Please comment below with your ideas. Let’s do it together, one thing at a time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

NOTE: Robert Redford ‘s excellent piece in Time about the imperative of making this the highest priority.

Jonathan Rowson — Integrating Our Souls, Systems, and Society

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