Code Red for Humanity

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday released a major report of over 200 leading scientists from around the world confirming dire, catastrophic consequences from climate change if we humans don’t take rapid, radical action.  Although we have been hearing about the potential effects of climate change for decades, Monday’s report from the U.N. to my mind changed our collective sense of reality of the world. No longer is catastrophic climate change a distant possibility our grandchildren may experience at the end of the century. It’s real and here now. It arrived suddenly, overnight. With the release of that report, within the dramatic backdrop of current climate related disasters around the world, we have psychologically left behind forever the stable world we adults grew up with. We have entered the dystopian world of the movies and TV shows. How bad of a nightmare it becomes and whether we can pull ourselves back from the brink depends on the actions we now take. 

I’ve watched a series of documentaries and films about this which I encourage you to check out as well:

  1. David Attenborough’s film A Life on Our Planet about the rapid loss of plant and animal biodiversity through human activity. I was quite moved, both in feelings of sadness and grief, and also in feelings of inspiration and hope. 
  2. My Octopus Teacher Iwas even more deeply moved seeing a loving connection develop between a man and an octopus over the course of a year of daily visits to her home in a wild kelp ocean estuary. 
  3. Kiss the Ground about regenerative agriculture for drawing excess carbon from the atmosphere and also for growing healthier food and stewarding healthier ecosystems. 
  4. On YouTube I saw that the TED organization had co-launched an ongoing series of online events with high-level presenters from around the world and across many sectors of society called Countdown — counting down the years, months, and days to the goal of reducing global carbon net emissions by 50% by 2030, and 100% by 2050. Countdown focuses on responding to the emergency of catastrophic global warming in a way that also sees and includes interrelated factors of the economic system and social inequalities. 

There are many things happening in the world that give inspiration and hope. What gives me deepest inspiration and hope is what I call a Triad Model of Conversation and Consciousness. The Triad for me is based in the “3 chairs” of mediation, which on a deeper level represents the synthesis of duality and nonduality/unity of life in conversation with itself. The Triad of conversation has taught me that each of us is all three perspectives — self, other, and formless, infinite awareness. 

We can bring this 3-dimensional realization of who we are into even the most difficult and healing conversations. We can create empathic structure that shapes the conversation towards holding and understanding each other in our differences, connecting in our underlying commonality, and acting in compassion and collaboration. 

With “3rd chair” awareness, coupled with language of the universal — the language of needs we share with all people and all life — there is the possibility to courageously face the unimaginable. With unconditional wellbeing, peace, joy, and love, we can bridge the searing separation and divides. We can heal our divisions and polarized differences. In this place there can be celebration of the magnificent beauty and wonder of this world even amidst the losses of all we love.

Held in and by the Triad, can we engage and respond to the overwhelming adversity, suffering and cruelty ahead with generosity and kindness? Reaching into the mystery of oneness with the whole, our planetary, ecological self, can we as individuals be fortified to withstand the crushing, brutal realities of the new world that now awaits all of us? I say, yes!