Obstacles to Work on the Environment

In two interesting conversations this last week about the environment, I heard about the difficulties of taking on the environment as a concern. My answers are partial, even after a few days to reflect and add to them. I am very interested in what you can add or shift in my response.

One person found that reading newspaper articles on the environment put her into a space of fear rather than love.

Being with the pain is an act of love. We don’t just love people when they are happy. That said, if we are to actually be constructive, we need to find or create ways to shift us from fear to love, for ourselves, but also for the work that needs to be done. Creating such a space for ourselves and others may be the most constructive work we can do today.

Another found concerns about the science, generated by people immersed in the details, too abstract compared to what he could understand about the destructive effects of oil in Nigeria and Colombia.

This is a challenge for all of us, to shift from what we are comfortable with, problems that follow our heart, to listening to the voice that asks us to change our priorities. This is difficult no matter how important our current work is, and addressing the destructive effects of oil on a culture and the environment is important work indeed. But it may be less our work, due to the immediacy and magnitude of the response required of us if we are to address climate change.

There is much important work to do today, and not nearly enough workers. To slow down climate change and its companion problems — the Earth’s degrading ability to supply food and clean water, and biodiversity loss — will require so many of us to help if we are to find our way to solutions. How do we as individuals decide if this is to be just one of the projects needing attention, or one of major importance to us?

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