Climate Grief and Denial

Climate Denial is a corporate and political strategy, employing some of the same marketing professionals who led campaigns for the Tobacco campaigns to put doubt the science linking tobacco use and cancer. You can learn more about that by watching Merchants of Doubt.

However, like all effective strategies, it also feeds on something which is very real, that is natural fear about the large scale environmental degradation and climate change. You can get at that by simply asking yourself or a loved one, what would it mean for you if this science was true, especially the worst possibilities presented by science? Denial is one natural coping mechanism.

We all cycle through:

 

DENIAL -- ANGER -- BARGAINING - DEPRESSION -- ACCEPTANCE

These are also known as Stages of Grief. Given that the loss of life (human and otherwise) is ongoing, and there is much we can do to slow it down, unlike with grief, our work here also includes FEAR as well as ACTION.  I'm imagine we can all recognize some of these stages in every political party, and within ourselves. The stages are also not linear, nor singular stops, we move between them over and over again.

DENIAL -- FEAR -- ANGER -- BARGAINING - DEPRESSION -- ACCEPTANCE -- ACTION
(More Detail  HERE)

"Courage is the not the absence of fear, it is the ability to feel it, be informed by it,

and find a way to act with creativity, wisdom, and vision."

Moreover, while Climate Change is new, we human beings have had a destructive and dysfunctional relationship with what we call "the environment" for many generations. Humans have been hunting other species to extinction, clear-cutting forests, and destroying entire ecosystems for many generations. These have spend up as the result of the Industrial Revolution and the use of fossil fuels. Fully mature people and civilizations, however, can take responsibility and appreciate both the life-giving and life-destroying dimensions of advancement. We are clearly, not led by politicians nor are part of a civilization that is mature in that kind of way, yet. Psychologically, one could say we are stuck as teenagers - with newly developed brains and strong hands, but unable to consider the long-term consequences of our actions.

This lack of maturity is rooted in another kind of dys-function. This is the dysfunction which leads us to forget that our environment is not just a resource, but the literal and finite source and context for our lives. It is a forgetting our lives are fully indebted to healthy, diverse, and functional eco-systems on the planet. This is a biological reality.

Jewishly, and spiritually, there is yet one more dimension, a dimension which indigenous communities from every place on the globe have always known. We have forgotten that the ADAM (Hebrew for human) is born into an intimate relationship with the ADAMAH (Hebrew for Earth, the feminine conjugation of the word ADAM). Therefore, while we are certainly in need of technological innovation and political boldness, the fullness and wisdom thereof, is not likely to come without a deeper emotional and spiritual transformation accompanying it.

If even one of the paragraphs above resonates for you, it will become clear that science, engineering, and politics by themselves are not sufficient to create the kind of change and transformation that is necessarily. Unaware of the emotional and spiritual disconnection which drives us, we act from either fear or denial (just two sides of the same coin) and lack sufficient perspective and information to respond with wisdom. On the other hand, all of those emotions hold energy which can use to respond with creativity and wisdom. Moreover, rebuilding our relationship with the Earth and the rest of life around us, we have add a tremendous source of love to our scientific, technological, and political action!