"Do-Over"

"Do-Over"

Pope Francis issued his Encyclical on Climate on June 18, a document reserved for only the most pressing of global matters. The Pope said that protecting our planet is a moral and ethical imperative, and that a bold cultural revolution is needed to save the planet from Climate Change and Consumerism.

Vatican Pope

Sometimes people are surprised that as a yoga teacher I am speaking out on Climate Change and they ask what Yoga and Climate Change have to do with each other. Listen to my talk on the topic.

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If we walk our talk that ‘We are All One’, that we are manifestations of the same Spirit, then it follows that we care about all life on this planet. We care about the suffering of others because at some level we are all spiritual sisters and brothers. We care about earth’s animals and plants because they are part of our only home. Yoga and virtually all spiritual and religious traditions teach us to be compassionate toward all living beings and to be of service.

Join me for an opportunity to be with kindred spirits for a one-     of-a-kind Yoga &  The Climate Crisis workshop at Willow Street Yoga Center July 24-25, in which  we’ll look at Climate through the lens of yoga as we reclaim our connection to the  sacred. 

It is remarkable to have the Pope speaking about Climate in such a powerful way.  And to also see so many spiritual groups speaking out, all of them addressing it  as a moral imperative in addition to the environmental necessity:

Interfaith Power & Light, a religious response to global warming, was founded by  Rev. Canon Sally Bingham.  She was one of the first religious leaders to recognize  climate as a critical moral issue. They are building momentum for a binding  agreement in Dec. in Paris for a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030. 

  •  The Episcopal Church, led by Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, is responding to  the Climate Crisis. Her voice is uniquely powerful, backed by science (she has a  doctorate in Oceanography), and her moral authority as a spiritual leader, when  she says, "We are making war on the integrity of this planet.
  •  Also the climate resources the Episcopal Church has put together are  exceptional!

As Pope Francis makes clear, addressing climate change calls for a deep transformation of our social, political, and economic systems. All of us must do our part to care for the world we share.

So what can we do?

  • Participate! Choose one issue related to Climate Change: get educated and get involved! Whether that takes the form of donating to a cause you believe in, talking about climate with your friends and family, calling your members of Congress, or writing letters to Congress and/or the editor of your local paper.  
    • There are many environmental and climate organizations that are making a difference.  Google "climate change organizations" to find one that speaks to you. Choose one!   
    • Talk it up!  Research shows only 3% of the U. S. population regularly talks about the climate situation… let’s increase that number!
  • Support a fee on carbon! Considered by many to be THE most significant action we can take, because it establishes policies that support the result we want: less CO2 in the atmosphere. This is something we have to do together. Join with others to pressure Congress to adopt this needed and sensible legislation.  
    • The organization I like so much that I joined is the Citizens Climate Lobby (and I even went to DC June 21-23 and lobbied Congress with 800 other CCL volunteers! I’m the one in the teal blouse!)

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    • A basic CCL tenet is: "Politicians don’t create political will, they respond to it". 
    • If this doesn’t appeal to you Google Carbon Fee and choose another organization promoting a fee on carbon. 
    • Talk it up! Make "carbon fee" part of mainstream conversation.  
  • Reduce your carbon footprint. Consume less. Eat local.
    • Check out Project Draw Down for more inspiring actions you can take. 
      • DRAWDOWN is the point when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begin to decline.
    • Talk it up! Be the first in your group to mention  ‘climate change’ & ‘carbon fee’, and the importance of reducing CO2 in the atmosphere.
  • Develop your compassion! Choose to look at other peoples around the world, especially poorer coastal countries who contributed very little to global warming but are reaping the destructive forces of it, like the Philippines and the Maldives. Stand up and speak out for climate justice.   
  • Try Meatless Mondays! Research shows that raising livestock is a major contributor to increasing greenhouse gasses and also consumes a huge amount of water, which we all know is a dwindling resource. 
  • Continue or increase your spiritual practices, whatever they are, that bring you peace and a sense of well-being. Take time to be in Nature and appreciate her magnificence! Exercise. Eat well. Nourish yourself daily. Practice soothing yourself naturally, so you are as balanced, centered, and steady as possible during these turbulent times of change.  

We are facing an unprecedented crisis… an emergency of epic proportions! It’s time for all hands on deck! Invoke your Warrior Spirit and get involved!

Consider this: maybe this is why you are living at this historic time! Maybe it is your Life Purpose to wake up now: both to this unprecedented emergency and to the most profound opportunity you will every have to make a difference. We have the opportunity to work with others around the world on a major "Do-Over". Maybe this is the opportunity of a lifetime: the opportunity to remake the world into the kind of home we want it to be, with compassion, with true freedom, and with liberty and justice for all. 

Solutions Abound, but First …

Solutions Abound, but First …

Solutions abound to respond to the Climate Crisis, but first we need to acknowledge the extent of the problem.

We need to see and accept how dire the climate situation is … I know, people don’t want to read these words, or stop long enough in their busy schedules to take in the severity of the crisis we’re in. Because if we do, we’ll feel compelled to action: for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

By burning gas, oil and coal we’re putting a blanket of CO2 around the earth that warms up the earth too much. These increased temperatures are shifting the climate on Planet Earth. Here are some of the consequences:

*  Increased air temperature
*  Increased ocean temperature
*  Both of these have led to birds, animals, butterflies and other insects (including pests) moving northward. Some species will not be able to migrate fast enough to survive.

*  Increased extinction of many species, and at an increasing rate; an article in Science estimates that one in six species may go extinct

  *  Increased ocean acidity, leading to die off of coral reefs and fish; especially problematic is the die off of phytoplankton and zooplankton, the tiny plants and animals that form the base of the marine food chain
*  Increased severe weather events, including hurricanes and typhoons
*  Increased droughts, wildfires, and flooding, decreasing crop yields
*  Increased political unrest around the world, especially in countries who are already poor and are having difficulty feeding their populations
*  Increased humanitarian needs around the world, including a new category of climate refugees
*  Decreased amount of fresh water available, due to melting of glaciers that supply fresh water
*  Sea level rise, affecting coastal cities around the world, especially NYC and Miami in the US.

Why is there not a national emergency declared
over this significant threat to the very survival of the planet
as we know it?

Lack of media attention is one huge reason.
MONEY is the other big reason – we’ll discuss that below!

The Ed Show on msnbc has been running a story on the climate crisis every day this week. If you missed any of it, you can find the stories here.

There are a tremendous number of solutions! Countries around the world, Europe especially, are already involved in implementing solutions. In fact, many countries are switching to renewables at a blistering pace!
*  Solar: Germany led the world in the number of roof top solar installations beginning in 2005, a position it still held at the beginning of 2014, with 1.4 million rooftop units installed. Australia has gone from 8,000 rooftop solar systems in 2007 to over 1 million today. China is also going full-speed ahead on solar and is positioned to soon lead the world in the amount of energy produced from the sun.
*   Wind: Denmark supplied 62% of its energy needs in January 2014 with wind, up from 34% in 2013. Portugal and Spain got over 20% of their electricity from wind in 2013.
*  In the state of South Australia, on September 30, 2014, power generated from wind and solar exceeded the state’s electricity demand!
The U.S. lags behind most of the world, but as prices drop, installations are increasing. 600,000 rooftop units had been installed as of late 2014.
*  I’m excited to be putting solar panels on my roof!
*  Plus the price of solar panels has decreased by 2/3 in recent years!

Lester Brown in his new book, The Great Transition, Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy, states this:

"The sunlight striking the earth’s surface in just one hour delivers enough energy
to power the world economy for one year."

Why then are we still focusing on fossil fuels for our energy?

MONEY!

One reason for our focus on fossil fuel and the lack of mainstream media attention on climate change is that a core group of very wealthy people benefits from the status quo. They are making decisions to go for short-term profits rather than the long-term security and safety of their children and grandchildren and even the earth.

Therefore the most significant impact we can have is
to get a fee on carbon.
So that those who put CO2 into the atmosphere pay for it.

The good news is that there are bipartisan efforts in Congress working on this!!

I just joined The Citizens Climate Lobby, a bipartisan organization focused on getting a law passed to put an escalating fee on carbon. They lobby members of Congress to let them know what their constituents want. The latest polling shows public opinion supports the government doing something about climate!!

Support this organization or any other organization fighting to place a fee on carbon. Or better yet, join CCL and attend the Annual Conference in Washington, DC, June 22-24. I’m going and would be thrilled to see you there!!. Don’t worry they train us before we go to lobby the members of Congress! And they send experienced members in with us newbies!

So what significant actions can you take?
*  Talk about Climate Change!
o With your neighbors, family, church, friends, and other groups you participate in. It’s the biggest issue facing our country and the world, and your children and grandchildren. Nothing will make more of a difference in their lives than you taking action to promote the solutions!
o As an awakened public we want to put pressure on the White House to sign a binding agreement in Paris in December, as Pope Frances wants to do.

*  Support a fee on carbon.
*  Educate yourself on all the issues around the Climate Crisis. A great place to start is with the book, This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein.
*  Do what you can to lower your carbon footprint.
*  Listen to my presentation on Yoga & the Climate Crisis, given in Austin, TX, in February 2015.

So… here we are!  In the biggest crisis ever to face the earth and significant numbers of people are still asleep!  With deep compassion, talk to everyone… help them wake up to the situation so we can come together in collective action before we create more burdens for our children and grandchildren.

Individually we are not strong enough!  Individually we cannot change enough to make the needed impact.  We need to exert our collective will on our legislators; we need policy changes.  We need to put pressure on our legislators and the White House to sign a binding agreement at the Paris Climate Talks this coming December.

In the words of Drew Dellinger, who says it so eloquently:

"It’s 3:23 in the morning
and I’m awake
because my great great grandchildren
won’t let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams,
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?

surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?

as the mammals, reptiles, and birds were all dying?

did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?

what did you do
once
you
knew?

Excerpt from Hieroglyphic Stairway, a poem by Drew Dellinger
Re-printed with permission.