writing on suffering and awakening

The opportunity of climate change

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just issued a report predicting that, barring a transformative shift in the global economy, life on earth will be drastically different by 2040—and not in a pleasant way. In other words, climate change isn’t just a problem for future generations. It’s right in front of us.

If we’re looking for a reason to come together, well, we’ve got one. Climate change seems like a pretty spectacular opportunity to witness interconnectedness and understand the importance of compassion: either we help each other, or we surely perish separately. Seven billion plus strands of karma are pointing towards one planetary pile-up. But it’s never too late to begin anew.

At least I hope not. Questions we should be asking ourselves right now: what can I do? What can my community do? What can we give up?

People have united to face existential challenges before. But those challenges often involved an enemy—an outside aggressor. Now, the only enemy is our own small-mindedness.

The good news is that means we don’t have to fight each other. But it also means we’ll have to learn to take a long look in the mirror, and do so regularly. If we want to steer the ship towards smoother waters, we no longer have the luxury of hating each other, no matter how legitimate our grievances. The manner in which we approach this process will determine the results.

Civilization is going to change. Can we accept that, and let the change help us grow?

Ian Cooper