In our hearts we know there is something maniacal about the way we are abusing the natural environment. The extinction of species, the depletion of ozone, the disappearance of rainforests… Very often we read reports about climate change and we are terrified by the facts presented by science. When we see what is happening to the world, we feel sadness and fear. Our instinctive sense of environmental anxiety does not help us to solve the big issue of taking care of the planet. Where do we turn to find a standard of sanity that comprehends our environmental condition?
Humans had taken a formidable leap in their ability to disturb the environment. We had turned our adaptive skills to finding more energy to fuel our increasing appetites. We want to live in a certain way, full of material comforts, consuming fossil fuels to provide that lifestyle. As a result, the level of carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, which strengthens the greenhouse effect and warms the planet. This has now reached a level where we are seeing its effects: a greater number of intense storms, rising sea levels and degradation of the biosphere. Continuing to burn fossil fuels over the next few decades will change our climate and the way we live in the world tremendously. If we continue to live as we have done, even greater changes will occur in the future, many of which are presently invisible to us.
We need to recognize that the problem of human influence on the planet is about more than our changing climate. As humans, we possess a level of consciousness that brings with it ethical and moral responsibilities. It is about the awareness of how our behaviors affect all aspects of life. We have a clear choice to make because we are the primary cause of the current climate crisis. Our increasing use of fossil fuels affects the economy, food systems, our physical and mental health, the places we live, transportation and many nonhuman species. We cannot use a measure like GDP to inform us of the true healthiness of person and planet. We must begin to recognize the true interdependency of these many facets of life. The only way we can insure a viable future is to root our actions in the recognition of this interconnectedness. We all know, that a change is inevitable.
The field of psychology helps us to examine and understand the way we relate to the world. How often do we take time to slow down and really see what is before us? How do we listen to the world around us? Rooting ourselves in the interconnectedness begins with learning to connect to ourselves and the world in which we live. That practice does not only require intellectual knowing, but also a knowing with body, heart and mind. Transforming ourselves allows us to transform the world. By bringing joining our actions resulting from true feelings, my might face the dilemma of climate change together.