I’m not going to lie, the recent report that climate change is moving far faster than scientists had expected hit me in the gut. It breaks my heart to think of our world without coral reefs, polar bears and so many of the amazing creatures who share the world with us now. It sickens me to know that lives and lands are going to be savaged by bigger, more frequent storms. And my heart bleeds for those, mostly in poor parts of the world, who are going to get hit the hardest.
So yes, it hurts. And it makes me furious. It just flat out pisses me off that the pure greed, ego and boneheadedness at the helm of the U.S. is putting us on a course to accelerate climate change even faster.
I know I’m not alone. Heartbreak and anger are part and parcel of caring deeply about this planet and what we’re leaving behind for our kids and grandkids. I have such deep respect for our environmental and climate action movements. We have the courage not to just pretend the problem isn’t there and the toughness to keep working for solutions despite the pain and frustration. To put it bluntly environmentalists are Bad Asses! And we’ve never been more important. No matter the pain we have to stay in the fight.
So here are a few tips and tools to help build our Resiliency Muscles and make our efforts even more effective:
- Never waste a good crisis. The IPCC report is a crisis moment. There has never been such a dire statement supported by the world’s leading scientists that we need to act NOW. The good news is news is paying attention to it. I was pleasantly amazed at how much media coverage the report has been receiving. Climate action groups and grass roots activists all over the world are taking their voices and actions to new levels. Let’s all use our voices, communications platforms and direct actions to keep accelerating this momentum.
- Get on a balanced news diet. As advocates we like to stay informed. Many of us are news junkies. I confess I fall into that category. But I’ve learned to be selective in which sources I plug into. I watch plenty of CNN, MSNBC and even FOX to see what’s being put forward there. However, I turn off the shows that have several talking heads talking over one another, hyper-sensationalizing everything. That does not help the issue or our own wellbeing. I also plug into certain positive news outlets and solutions journalism outlets like NationSwell, Media Matters, Positive News, Yes Magazine.
- Take care of your inner environment. I learned the hard way that despite our best intentions we activists are often at the same level of consciousness that created the problems in the first place. We are often stressed out, burned out, more focused on blaming the bad guys than loving what we’re trying to save. Sometimes being stressed out and exhausted is even worn as a badge of honor in advocacy causes. But I assure you, you are not your most effective if this is your state of being. Learning how to step out of stress and fear and hate, becoming a more peaceful centered warrior is a profound act of power. Developing a presencing and mindfulness practice, simple regular meditation, unplugged time in Nature should be top priorities on every social changemakers’ Do List. Cleaning up our inner environment is critical to doing our best work for our planet’s environment. Here’s a recent post with some tips for how to go about it.
Shifting the consciousness we bring to our work can be like adding a turbo boost both to our productivity and our peace of mind. And we need to hit turbo. Our political leaders are not going to fix this for us – the systems they operate in and sometimes their own moral codes are just too broken. We activists, advocates and Bad Ass Environmentalists are the solution we’ve been waiting for. This amazing planet deserves our very best. And we deserve a little more peace and empowerment doing our sacred work.
Here’s are some encouraging words from author and rebel, Howard Zinn:
Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don’t ‘win,’ there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile.
— Howard Zinn, The Optimism of Uncertainty