Dear Partners in Green,
It was in 2007 that Al Gore warned us in his book, An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming, that the Earth was in peril and that we were running out of time. Action was needed immediately.
And he certainly was not the first. Remember Rachel Carson?
And once again, I find myself contemplating how we experience time, and why it is that we are having such difficulty feeling a sense of urgency around the reality of Climate Change?
We are on a collision course with a horrific future for our children, grandchildren, indeed for all life on this planet, a future which our addiction to fossil fuel, and to our western materialistic lifestyle, is rapidly ushering in. Something has to change. Our consumerism, travel, and consumption must be drastically altered even as the stock market analysts promote the antithesis of what is required of us, we the bearers of our progenies’ futures.
But why don’t we feel the urgency? I again hearken back to our perception of time.
Clocks and calendars are the means by which we record and manage time, which leads us to believe that time is objective. But studies have shown that our experience of time is subjective, that it changes as we age. It seems to pass more quickly as we get older. But also our thoughts, feelings and actions affect our experience of time.
Time passes quickly when we are busy, happy, and engaged, and slowly when we are sad, bored, and isolated. This means we may be more receptive to climate messaging depending on our mood and what is happening in our lives.
(Another consideration is that perception of time can be cultural, but that is too much to address in a short Seedling.)
It is not surprising that studies have been done to find a connection between people’s perception of time, and the action they take in regards to Climate Change. We may know that there is a climate crisis, but still may struggle to conceptualize it as urgent.
Studies have shown that we take the threat of anticipated future negative events less seriously, and perceive them as less risky, than those closer to the present.
It is not surprising that people who have suffered directly from Climate Change through floods, fires and extreme heat often perceive the climate crisis as in the present, while those who are just beginning to be touched by Climate Change perceive that the crisis is still in the future.
It has been suggested that a way to encourage people to take the crisis seriously is for the local news to focus on the ways in which Climate Change is affecting their local community, their farmers, their rivers and lakes, their wildlife, and even their health.
And time needs to be framed in a more informed and nuanced way if people are to effectively and with urgency address Climate Change.
It may be a societal change, a change away from “time is money” to a slower paced way of thinking. We simply must slow down, reconsider our lifestyle choices, and move care of the planet to the forefront.
Our time to act may be greatly reduced, but still there is time to address Climate Change, time to live mindfully, aware of our responsibility, knowing we hold the lives of future generations in our hands.
So reduce, reuse, recycle, vote, speak out, take a “staycation,” carpool, go vegetarian, and don’t keep your green light under a barrel.
The future is up to each one of us. No more “let George do it.” By all calculations, George is now over 100 years old.
There is a lag in time
during which we cannot discard
that which no longer serves,
as though it were tied to our very being,
was in the air which we breathe
though that air grows fetid and vile.
Our inertia is wedded to the element of will
binding us to ways untenable,
When will we recognize
that what we thought served us well
is a harbinger of death,
that what we thought served us well
is a contradiction to its once purported
gift of prosperity and life?
There is no luxury of time,
to come to our senses,
just hope that soon, very soon
we will awaken from insanity
and turn ourselves around.
Beth Frigard, 1/10/19
Thank you for being on this journey.
Wishing peace and health to you and your loved ones.
Till next time,