I warn you, this may be a bit of a “downer.”
The term “new normal” keeps coming up. We keep hearing that this is a “new normal” we are dealing with regarding Climate Change, but where did that term even originate, and what does it really mean, and most important, does it even apply?
One definition is that new normal occurs when “a previously unfamiliar or atypical situation has become standard, usual, or expected.” Some say that term originated following WWI, others attribute it to 9/11, and others to the financial crisis of 2008.
But the question that has arisen: Is there such a thing as a New Normal when it comes to Climate Change? I read an excerpt about a young woman named Melanie Guttmann, who was co-founder of Letzte Generation (Last Generation), a German climate group. She once spent six days in jail after being arrested during a protest. She said, “I just wanted to get out of there and have a peaceful life, spend some time with the people I love, start a family.” But as bad as it was to be in prison, she said she would do it again if it might make a difference. She went on to say, “I started to realize that no matter if I’m in prison or not, I will never have those things because the climate crisis destroyed everything I dreamed of for my future.”
This year, 2023, was a year of heat, floods, and fire; scientists are warning it was only a preview of unpredictable chaos. According to InsideClimateNews.org, climate disasters and extreme weather are now forcing more than 20 million people a year to leave their homes and relocate to other areas. And this is not just in what we may term as third-world countries but in rich and poor alike. Climate change makes no distinction.
And the fact is, there will be no “new normal,” a time when we can adjust, settle in, and catch our breath.
But always there is hope that we can mitigate the crisis. We can pray for technological miracles, and/or we can demand that fossil fuel be eliminated, protesting with our voices, our votes, and our pocket books. We can shop sustainably, vote responsibly, and live simply, remembering that this world was not for us to dominate, but to tend.
So much depends upon us.
So this month take time for gratitude and appreciation for the beauty of the transition into Fall, be grateful for this beleaguered planet, and pledge to protect her as best you can by the choices you make. May we make gratitude and responsible living our “New Normal.”
by Mary Oliver
What did you notice?
the low-flying sparrow;
the bat, on the wind, in the dark;
big-chested geese, in the V of sleekest performance;
the soft toad, patient in the hot sand;
the sweet-hungry ants;
the uproar of mice in the empty house;
the tin music of the cricket’s body;
the blouse of the goldenrod.
What did you hear?
The thrush greeting the morning;
the little bluebirds in their hot box;
the salty talk of the wren,
then the deep cup of the hour of silence.
When did you admire?
The oaks, letting down their dark and hairy fruit;
the carrot, rising in its elongated waist;
the onion, sheet after sheet, curved inward to the pale green wand;
at the end of summer the brassy dust, the almost liquid beauty of the flowers;
then the ferns, scrawned black by the frost.
What astonished you?
The swallows making their dip and turn over the water.
What would you like to see again?
My dog: her energy and exuberance, her willingness,
her language beyond all nimbleness of tongue,
her recklessness, her loyalty, her sweetness,
her strong legs, her curled black lip, her snap.
What was most tender?
Queen Anne’s lace, with its parsnip root;
the everlasting in its bonnets of wool;
the kinks and turns of the tupelo’s body;
the tall, blank banks of sand;
the clam, clamped down.
What was most wonderful?
The sea, and its wide shoulders;
the sea and its triangles;
the sea lying back on its long athlete’s spine.
What did you think was happening?
The green beast of the hummingbird;
the eye of the pond;
the wet face of the lily;
the bright, puckered knee of the broken oak;
the red tulip of the fox’s mouth;
the up-swing, the down-pour, the frayed sleeve of the first snow—
so the gods shake us from our sleep.
We give thanks.
Thank you for being on this journey.
Wishing peace and health to you and your loved ones.
Till next time,