We need to change our conversation around climate change. We have reduced everything down to a string of data, giving measurable, quantitative numbers and presented it along with the message of urgency and sacrifice. The problem is, that numbers don’t move people to change. Narratives of futility don’t either. We need to shift the conversation from, “Nothing can be done” to “What can I do and what can we do together as a community and as a country?” It is time to move beyond our instinctual and reactionary behaviors that are products of an old world, mechanistic system, and shift our thinking and the narrative we are using around climate change. This requires an individual shift in consciousness through the development of our personal self-awareness and understanding of our enculturation. As well as a global shift through awareness of the unified field.
From a psychological perspective, consciousness is the awareness of our internal responses i.e. our thoughts, feelings and sensations to an external experience. This experience is then furthered through the field of neuroscience; where a materialist view explains how brain activity and the interactions of neurons, give rise to that psychological experience. In this paradigm, communication and information are a linear expression of space/time. Defining consciousness in this way helps us understand how the mind and body interact to create our material, sensory experience. This helps us address some of the patterns of consumption and habits and gives us real world tools on how to change them.
In the quantum view, Amit Goswami would describe quantum physics as a world of possibilities that consciousness can choose from. When consciousness is not choosing, quantum objects spread out in waves of possibilities and when consciousness is choosing (or observing), the waves collapse and become the objects of conscious experience. In this model, the communication and information occurs in the non-local mind or outside of space, time and matter. From this perspective consciousness precedes our material world creating a downward causation where everything is caused by the subtle body and brought forth into the material plane. This new quantum theory of consciousness is also aligned with many Vedic and mystical interpretations that describe a limitless, nonmaterial field of pure awareness and intelligence that can be directly experienced and influenced by the mind.
And even beyond that there is the philosophical view; the theory of Integral Consciousness, which provides a framework that blends our dual/non-dual realities and our ancient, modern and post modern views to create a model for human evolution that is all encompassing. It provides insight on how to foster individual and collective self-awareness to deal with complex, global issues and provides a framework on how to address different factions of the population and use language and narratives that resonate with each of these worldviews.
Beyond Carbon Emissions
Our climate woes are about more than emissions, when we use that measurement to determine success, we strive for that end by any means. For example, fracking could be promoted because it reduces emissions of carbon dioxide, even though it is devastating to the environment. Much of the current challenges we face are because we have separated ourselves from one another and the earth. This materialist view has led us to believe that we have dominion over the earth and her natural systems. This issue is not addressed by a decline in carbon emissions, nor is deforestation, or desertification for that matter. These are complex issues and by reducing them down to numbers we miss out on addressing the systems and injustices that created the issues in the first place. We need to uncover the intangible forces of our beliefs, motivations, and worldviews that will ultimately affect our behaviors, systems and use of technology as individuals and as a culture.
As our consciousness expands, we deepen our understanding of unity and oneness and our connection to the earth. Also, as we understand the unified field, we have the means to create transformational change through the field. Just as our information can now be passed almost instantaneously over the Internet, so too can this desire for a more peaceful, sustainable world. As the world shifts from the materialist view of upward causation, where the whole is seen as the sum of its parts, to the understanding we live in an observer-created reality, we learn that we can choose differently. David Gershon explains that climate change is humanity’s rite of passage, providing us with an unforgiving feedback system that forces us to awaken.
Because consciousness has its basis in both the material and non-material world, a multi-level approach must be taken. With a global population of seven billion people, it is the day-to-day decisions of the populace that will need to shift to see great change. With the growing understanding in the fields of neuroscience and psychology on the way choices are made and habits are formed, we are able to take great strides in shifting our own programming and cultural indoctrination based on our consumerist based economy. These programs remain relatively static until they are consciously challenged, but when we stimulate the brain in new ways through novel experiences and conscious choice, we then restructure the brain and alter the cascade of events leading to new, consciously created outcomes.
So our individual focus should then be on expanding personal self-awareness of thoughts through meditation and mindfulness. Meditation helps bring awareness to our programming, helps to release attachments, cultivates compassion and also changes our level of reactivity. As people become more mindful and in the present moment our experiences are no longer filtered through our memory, so our behavior does not become subject to conditioned programming and enculturation. It is ultimately our desire that drives the economies and we take time to go within, we find what things we can do without.
Since focusing on the quantitative climate research has been largely ineffective, incorporating art centered initiatives will also need to play a role. Artistic endeavors in various multi-media formats can frame the challenges, offer solutions and create direct experiences that alter and uplift our consciousness. Below is a TEDTalk by James Balog that is a perfect example of this type of initiative. I also suggest you watch his full-length documentary called Chasing Ice. James set out to tell the story of our earth’s climate change through powerful images taken over the course of several years. His work allows the audience to witness the changes through beautiful time-lapsed sequences that speak directly to our heart. These types of initiatives, through arts, dance, music, and expressions of culture, are able to transcend the memes of hopelessness and fatalism into engagement and empowerment. Qualitative and experiential expression of the arts, not only impacts individual self-awareness, but also has nonlocal effects on the unified field.
Coordinated group efforts, like the ones we have seen in the past (See sacred crowdfunding for more information), will need to continue and become larger in scope. We can gather together with a collective intention to be in harmony with the earth and to listen to her needs. As our understanding of non-linear downward causation expands, we will be able to use these large-scale assemblies to bring harmonious change to the planet. They will be an important part of our future and can have a tremendous effect on the non-local field.
Each of us needs to look at this issue and bring it down to their heart level. What can you do in your own healing work, and in your community to bring this message of urgency, but not with fear, but with empowerment? Using your gifts as an artist, as a healer, as a nurturer to change the conversation and address these issues from a different level of consciousness than the one that created it.
James Balog: Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss