“Respect Existence or Expect Resistance”

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A young climate activist in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press via NYTimes.com

Did you make it to one of the thousands of protest marches today for the Global Youth Climate Strike? Because it was definitely THE place to be on this historic day, 20 September 2019, planet Earth. According to The Guardian, protests took place in about 185 countries and all the continents in the world. Millions of people, from children to elders and everyone in-between, marched and demonstrated, gave speeches, made and carried signs, posters and banners, sang songs, danced, and generally supported one another in solidarity against what most perceive as the root problem—corporate greed, backed by the power elite in governments around the world.

As this article in today’s Guardian News clearly demonstrates, today’s Global Climate Strike was unprecedented in numbers of humans (at least several million) from all walks of life getting out of their schools, workplaces and homes, and taking it to the streets. Additionally, over 7000 websites showed their solidarity by displaying only a black screen or a screen saying they were on climate strike for the day. And there were lots of speeches in every major city from Australia to the United States, from the global north to south, and east to west. It was a spectacular day for humanity to show up in solidarity as one people who understand that we have just one precious planet that is in grave danger of being destroyed.

One charismatic young activist in London did a great job of energizing the crowd. He mentioned that there are “terrified billionaires” in the world now who we must all keep fighting, in order to stop them from utterly destroying what remains of our beautiful planet.

At the protest rally in my hometown of Denver, Colorado, I saw plenty of young people carrying signs that demanded the billionaires stop their evil ways so they can have a future. Some of these signs were heartbreaking, and yet the mood was festive. It is impossible to stay subdued in a crowd of thousands kids under the age of 25, with many under 18. As one of the speakers pointed out, youth activists may not yet be of legal voting age, but they soon will be. Activists gave speeches about social justice and how eco-justice goes hand in hand with racial inequity and poverty issues around the world.

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Photograph: Susie Cagle/The Guardian via The Guardian live feed 20 sept 2019

I will admit, part of me relishes the image of billionaires who are afraid, perhaps even terrified, of losing their fortunes and futures because millions of young people, inspired by the fearless Greta Thunberg, have seen straight through their cunning and lies and are demanding change away from fossil fuels to a world that runs on clean and even free energy. Imagine, for just a moment, what such a world would be like! How would it look, smell, feel, sound and taste? What would the world in which we live be like if Nature, including all living creatures and plants, was given rights to exist and not be destroyed, trammeled and polluted for humanity’s selfish and greedy ends? If you are having a bit of trouble imagining it, you’re not alone. Many millions, probably billions, of humans are also having difficulty imagining a clean planet that will support all life with no problem, without extremely harsh weather conditions in the future. Sadly, there was a good chunk of trolls and haters who posted on Greta’s Twitter feed during today’s events. Tragically, there are plenty of people who do not want a clean, equitable and healthy future for humanity and Gaia. Why, one has to wonder? Why would anyone alive on Earth today NOT want all life on this incredible planet to improve, for all to become healthy, for the air, water, land and nature to once again be purified and restored to its natural state of health?

Today was an extraordinary day for Mama Gaia and for those of us who can imagine a clean and healthy future world. No matter what the naysayers and billionaires might think or do in days, weeks and years to come, I know that millions of us will continue to hold the vision of the more beautiful world we know is possible. I hope you will join us.

Greta’s pure audacity

She is a phenomenon, utterly fearless.

She takes no prisoners, calling out the glitterati, high profile political and corporate leaders. To Greta, it matters not whether a person is powerful, rich or famous, she pays no deference. Her mission is completely clear.

Greta has the gift of absolute clarity, and articulates our situation with razor sharp language. At a recent German entertainment award ceremony in Berlin, she used her words to lambast celebrities for their excessive lifestyles, criticizing their excesses, such as jetting around the world to enjoy exotic vacations and yoga retreats, without considering the environmental costs of air travel. For a taste of her speech, check out her Twitter feed below.

https://twitter.com/GretaThunberg

There are few news stories which give me joy these days. But the speeches Greta continue to give before large and powerful audiences bring me unreasonable joy. And I am far from alone in feeling jubilant. Here are a few replies on Facebook from people who watched Greta’s speech at the Goldene Kamera awards:

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The irony, as Greta so pointedly states in her speech, is that she was invited to the entertainment award ceremony to receive a climate prize, and once she’s called out all the stars in the audience (reminding them of their huge influence in the world, that billions of people see them as gods), she tells them all that, basically, we need you to help us get our message to the political leaders, since you have the influence and fame that we do not. Fortunately, that’s quickly changing as Greta is becoming a unique kind of celebrity in her own right. She doesn’t need bling-bling, makeup or fancy clothes to be a star, because she has a fascinating kind of egoless charisma that is impossible to ignore.

The jewel and money-dripping crowd at the Goldene Kamera awards seemed, from the looks on their faces, more than a little uncomfortable at Greta’s speech and admonitions targeted at them. I know I am not alone in feeling glad she made them squirm a bit to hear the truth. The entertainment industry spends obscene amounts of money and fossil fuels to pump out entertainment to the masses, while mostly turning their backs on the issue of global warming. From Davos to Brussels to Berlin and beyond, Greta Thunberg is calling out abuses by the world’s power elite. It is JOYFUL to see her activism taking hold in people’s imaginations so quickly, to watch as tens of thousands of youth, teachers, activists and ordinary folk join her movement for Climate Strikes. I encourage everyone reading this blog to follow Greta on Twitter and Facebook, and in the news as she continues to inspire, scold, and speak Truth to power. Go Greta!!

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To click on the links, go to @GretaThunberg on Twitter

Stretching through Grief

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image via Public Domain.net/ George Hodan

Here in the mid-March energies, few are not feeling the effects of the changes happening across our planet. In a profound sense, humanity is experiencing a tsunami of change. Yet, as humans being, well, human, we tend to dismiss, deny, disregard or discount what is actually happening here on Earth. The good news is, more and more are waking up and discovering that the Earth changes are real, not imagined. They are recognizing the need for massive changes to how we treat our world, each other, and ourselves. And while it’s hopeful to know all of this, knowledge alone doesn’t help with the intense emotions that accompany all this change.

Right now I am in a cycle of viscerally experiencing the tensions running extraordinarily high all around me. We all experience it in our own way, and for me it manifests as grief. There’s a lot to grieve in our present state—go to any reputable online news site and there is no lack of sad stories across the world. On Monday, for example, an airliner carrying 157 people from Ethiopia to Nairobi crashed, killing everyone on board. The daily news tells similar stories of unexpected death, destruction, injustice, corruption, abuse, inhumanity, and damage to Gaia in a nonstop stream. Even if a person has no interest in reading these reports, it’s basically impossible to avoid the knowledge of these chaotic times. It’s literally in the air we all share, the water we all use, and the common ground beneath our feet.

It can be difficult to know what to do with all the heavy energies around us. I read many blogs and watch select YouTube channels for encouragement and inspiration. Some days this helps, but other days nothing I read or listen to seems to touch the level of sorrow I feel regarding our world. Many times I read advice to the effect of, “Be joyful! The changes happening on Earth are necessary for the purging and cleansing of long-held negative and toxic energies that humans have held onto for eons of time. You cannot take the old energies with you into the new Earth, so it’s imperative to forgive others, forgive yourself, and release them.” I understand this logic with my mind, but right now I cannot feel joyful as I look at all the difficult life experiences we are enduring. There are times to grieve for what is being lost, and that’s how I’m personally experiencing what’s happening right now.

On this blog, I’ve posted recently about Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist who has made headlines around the world for her courageous school strikes in protest of the lack of action by world leaders. At the end of this week, on March 15th, many thousands of school-aged children and youth are planning to strike for climate action all across the globe. Greta, in an interview with The Guardian this week, said she was excited about the strike, and that it will be fun. But she made no hopeful speech about the future of Earth for her generation. She clearly recognizes that by the time she reaches mid-life, the world is likely to be a very difficult place to live upon for nearly everyone. For those of us who also see that future as very likely, it’s a heartbreaking acknowledgment of how we’ve mistreated our home, and through our complacency and lack of care, have allowed the climate crisis to continue.

I am by nature an optimist and want, more than anything, to believe that solutions will come in time for the next generations of humanity to have a chance at a healthy world to live in and raise their children and grandchildren. But to be completely honest, it is becoming harder and harder to believe in a healthy future world in thirty, fifty, or a hundred years, without some seriously major changes on a global scale happening NOW. That is Greta’s message, and she speaks for many millions of people. As long as the majority of people in power do little to change policies, laws and regulations regarding fossil fuel use, the future scenarios we’ve all heard and seen of a dystopian world are likely to become reality.

When I look around at our planet, say on the internet, and see places that still hold such absolute beauty and majesty, are still relatively unspoiled by humanity’s activity and where wilderness is still alive, it makes me wonder how much longer will these places survive intact? Increasingly there is a split between the human-made world and the world of nature, to the point where now there are many humans who never experience wild places, or even touch the bare earth with their bodies. Through technology, people feel that they no longer need direct, sensory experience of nature because they can play virtual reality games which simulate those type of experiences. A whole generation of humans are now being raised in a virtual reality environment without direct knowledge of how it feels to simply be outside in a wild place, with all the sensory stimulus it provides. It’s the equivalent of eating fast food your whole life, never realizing that there is food available that’s natural, unadulterated, and nutritious. Having never experienced it, they don’t even know it exists or what they’ve missed out on all those years.

The premise of this blog is that all life on Earth is connected, that we are all joined in the great web of everything-that-is. When one is hurt, all feel it on some level, no matter to what degree. The thought of a future earth that is uninhabitable because it has become so damaged by thoughtless, careless human beings full of hubris who only focused on extracting the planet’s treasures without giving life back, is utterly unbearable. No one wants to live in such a world, so why are we living in such a way?