Latest Event Updates
By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.
“One of the warning signs that a dangerous warming trend is under way in Antarctica will be the break-up of ice shelves on both coasts of the Antarctic Peninsula.” ~ John Mercer, Institute of Polar Studies.
Any time now, perhaps even by the time you read this article, a section (about 10%) of the West Antarctic Larsen C ice shelf will break away to become the largest iceberg ever recorded. The process, called calving, will generate a resounding rolling thunder clap in the vast silence of the Antarctic. The world’s sea levels will immediately be effected, as water that was held back is released in quantities that are impossible to accurately predict. “Ice shelves are like corks in a bottle,” says David Bromwich of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Centre, Ohio University. “They are holding back the contents of the bottle. You take the cork away and everything flows out. We don’t know the time scale of this. But sea level rise of this magnitude is alarming.”
Ultimately, this single calving event will increase sea levels dramatically. To quote David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey, “When it calves, the Larsen C ice shelf will lose more than 10% of its area. This will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula. The ice it holds back could add about four inches to sea levels.” Or, from Nagraj Adve, author of Global Warming in the Indian Context, “Ten centimeters of average sea level rise from the collapse of Larsen C may not seem like much until we put that figure in perspective. It’s a little over half of all the sea level rise the world has already experienced since 1901. This should deeply concern us.”
This sudden cataclysmic event, likely to be seen or heard by only a few, will reverse hundreds if not thousands of years of geological trend, depending on how one dates the formation and reformation of the mother ice sheet. The question I pose here, is whether human consciousness is ready for that moment when calving occurs. Decade after decade of ignorance and denial of global warming and climate change has brought us to the threshold of disaster. We have laced ourselves into a fateful straitjacket. However, there remains a way out, although it has to happen fast and it will require collective responsibility and human solidarity. As Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf, author of Our Threatened Oceans says, “The creation of a viable future for ourselves and for future generations requires the commitment of everyone on our planet.”
Just as that moment of calving in the Antarctic is the product of a long history, so is this moment of opportunity to collectively choose to live differently. The awakening may be as sudden for you as it was for me, but it is still likely to be a result of what preceded it. I was reflecting on this recently and wrote this poem to explain the guidance that resulted in the birth of the conference, Climate Change & Consciousness: Our legacy for the Earth.
Guidance recalibrates the logical mind
And consumes excuses with fire.
It seems a speedy process but
It is built on merit you did not know
You accumulated in order to
Burn resistance into
Love in action.
Suddenly you find
You are not making a decision;
The decision makes you.
This is the work of the
Goddess of Electricity.
It is hummingbird medicine.
Before you know it
The I has become We
And nothing is impossible.
If we look around at the chaos in the world, the injustices and the suffering, it feels like we are living in a degraded age or what the yogis called the Kali Yuga, defined by excesses, mechanistic thinking, materialism, greed and a focus on the gross aspects of life. But according to Vedic calculation, as described by mystical teachers like Paramhansa Yogananda, we are actually living in the Dwapara Yuga, an age of refined thinking when we are sensitive to energetic vibrations, bioelectrical rhythms and the power of thought.
The Kali Yuga is the Old Story and the Dwapara Yuga is the New Story. There are periods between these Yugas which are called Sandhis or transitional cycles. This is where we often feel stuck between stories. But the Yogic Masters say we are truly living in a time of hope. Our capacities have finally, over thousands of years, evolved so that we can unite to live brilliantly in a climate changed world. Collectively, we have developed the capacity to understand the truth about matter. We have cultivated the resources to expand true knowledge and have refined our means of expression. In the Dwapara Yuga, inner consciousness rises above density to perceive the quantum flow of energy. It is when individuals are empowered, transcending the subjugation and passivity of the Kali Yuga and instead, choosing awareness, compassion and inclusion.
Charles Eisenstein points out in The Most Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible that in order to cross over into the New Story we have to fully know the paradigm that we are leaving behind. This appears to slow us down but actually, it allows us to move forward with confidence. Then, when the old paradigm is fully spent, as I reference in my poem, change seems sudden, perhaps even instantaneous. Guidance tells me that on April 20, 2019 we will be ready to come together for a decisive shift in the collective understanding of ‘our legacy for the Earth.’ “Climate change is an intellectual challenge; but it is also a test of human solidarity,” says James Flynn, author of No Place to Hide. The representative gathering in the Universal Hall, Findhorn, will personify our readiness, as will thousands of people in hubs around the world participating through live streaming.
When the Larsen C ice shelf calves, will you hear it?
When your guidance descends in a whoosh of awakening, will you follow it?
I answer YES to both of these questions. I am reminded that guidance ‘recalibrates the logical mind and consumes excuses with fire.’ “Making people better informed is rarely enough to solve problems of great consequence, but I am convinced that the problem of climate change may be one of the rare exceptions,” says Jim Flynn.
The next blog in this series will reveal why the Findhorn Foundation is the perfect location for this decisive moment in our history.
LEGALLY BLIND: How the Law Interferes with Consciousness
By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.
“Law frustrates the process of transformation by becoming an end in itself. It inoculates us from the real thing, which is always relationship.” Richard Rohr
For most people the Law exists somewhere in an unconscious realm along with God and Queen, enshrined and untouchable. Or else we choose not to think on it at all. In almost every country however, the Law shapes its people emotionally and biologically, usually unbeknown to them. More often than not, the Law creates and maintains an unnatural separation between people. It disrespects the natural world by violating our relationship with it through objectification. The so-called ‘Law of the land’ is an oxymoron; it distorts our perception of, and connection with, the land by classifying it as a commodity.
I have lived for a long time with an environmental attorney who is a lover of, and advocate for, Mother Nature. And yet, until I had talked to Mumta Ito about her organization Nature’s Rights, I hadn’t realized how I had unconsciously allowed the Law to hijack my perception of Nature. She was quick to show me with her fiery love, how I projected onto Nature what I needed it to be, seeking to make it serve my needs, rather than deeply listening to her own true voice.
The shift that is occurring in me as a result, is taking me to another level of perception. Some might call this development ‘shamanic.’ I feel that Nature is communicating with me; I am no longer interpreting Nature. Words do not easily convey this experience, but I know it to be a profound shift in consciousness, one for which I am extremely grateful. I want to share the opportunity to cultivate intimacy with Nature with everyone who attends the Climate Change & Consciousness conference. That is why we have invited Mumta to lead a workshop there. And it’s why we are determined to find sponsorship for indigenous environmental leaders from around the world, particularly those from places already impacted by climate change. Their wisdom will bring forth the resilience and intelligence required to face what is truly an existential crisis. Nature herself can guide us if we can hear her speak.
Watch the video below about Nature’s Rights and open yourself to a refreshing, consciousness shifting relationship with Nature herself. Even if you already consider yourself an environmentalist, conservationist or outdoorsy person, open yourself to the surprise that can occur in really listening to Nature, rather than experience separation from her due to your preconceptions.
Mumta Ito is a lawyer and Founder of the young international NGO Nature’s Rights. She sees law as a vehicle for social transformation in a paradigm of restoration, reparation and healing. One of Europe’s leading advocates for rights of nature and earth jurisprudence, she is also European facilitator of the UN Harmony with Nature expert dialogues and initiator of a European Citizens Initiative to propose nature’s rights to the EU legislative agenda.
About Nature’s Rights: Nature’s Rights (previously Rights of Nature Europe) is a young international non-profit organization committed to establishing rights of nature in law and policy in Europe and around the world. Among its innovations is a Draft EU Directive to codify nature’s rights into European law.
By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.
Ever since we first publicized the conference, Climate Change & Consciousness (CCC19), we have fielded questions like, “Why consciousness?” and “What’s the connection between climate change and consciousness?” This post offers a partial response to such questions.
When humans are confronted with an overwhelming threat, the dominant outcome is activation of an adrenally driven survival response. Dr. Peter Levine was one of the first to document this primitive brain behavior in his best-selling book, Waking the Tiger. Following extensive research into the human stress response, Dr. Bruce McEwen coined the term, “allostatic load,” to describe how the neuroendocrine system becomes destabilized when threat appears.
Climate change is undoubtedly going to present the most serious allostatic load that most humans will ever face.
I have been tracking the pathways of shock and trauma through the human nervous system for forty years. The subtitle of my book, We Are All in Shock: How Overwhelming Experience Shatters Us and What We Can Do about It, summarizes my trajectory. I believe that responses to the shock of climate change will not necessarily follow the accepted norm of simply triggering human survival responses. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that, on the contrary, climate change can catalyze an expansion of consciousness.
Yudith Nieto, for example, lives in the shadow of an oil refinery in Texas and she and her entire community suffer the consequences of toxic exposure. She uses her impassioned voice to tell the world that we must refuse to tolerate the excesses and abuses of the oil industry. Yudith is not only speaking out for herself and her family, she fights for the rights of all marginalized peoples. “I stand with other…communities impacted by the fossil fuel industry,” she says. Yudith is not ordering from the old menu of flight or freeze. Instead, she elects strategic, purposeful action to empower people who have been victimized by corporations that ravage land and life. She joined 350.org and organized her community to participate in the People’s Climate March in the US on April 29, 2017.
A massive forest fire in Montana and then Hurricane Katrina similarly transformed Jay Toups from a 9-to-5 information technology executive into an environmental activist. “Everyone has to have their own carbon epiphany to decide, once and for all, not to be victims of this oil addiction death sentence,” he says. Jay managed to survive Katrina within an inch of his life. The day after he made it out, he quit his corporate job. He observes, “I use my own grief as fuel…as the world churns and burns, I get stronger.” Jay Toups harnessed his creativity to build an alternative fuel company, Bioroot Energy. He devotes himself to educating people about clean fuel sources. “Every issue that is presenting itself on the planet right now is carbon related. The most profound shift in our time is a shift in our understanding and use of energy.”
These examples illustrate how ‘I’ can become ‘We’ in response to the threat of climate change, challenging all of the research about trauma and shock. An entirely new story is being written for the human nervous system.
Shock and trauma have historically caused painful isolation. Victims are often excluded from social interaction due to stigma. They tend to bond with the shame that is projected onto them and either hold back from society or become marginalized outcasts. With climate change however, people who have been silenced by racism, abuse and poverty are pushing back alongside farmers, scientists, attorneys, physicians and parents. These compassionate unions have rarely been forged previously, because never before has a threat been so global and formidable, yet so personal.
Climate change is an ecumenical cry from the Earth, being heard wherever people are listening. It is Nature’s way of advocating for all Her creatures. And it is wedded to the ascent of human collective consciousness. As a victim of toxic algae growth and choking water supply caused by pollution in the Florida Everglades has said, “I want to reweave the tattered web of life for all creatures on this planet.” This kind of compassionate human response is what we mean by the subtitle of CCC19, ‘Our Legacy for the Earth.’
The conference, Climate Change & Consciousness, will amplify this trend toward increased human creativity and resilience. Instead of responding from our animal brains that get mired in memories of previous threat and habituated to the past, we will collectively revitalize our cortical (executive) and neo-cortical (visionary) capacities and infect one another with transformed consciousness.
Join us in Findhorn, Easter, 2019!
Note: If you would like to start now to cultivate your creativity and resilience join CCC19 convener Dr. Stephanie Mines in the workshop, Essence and Empowerment, at the Findhorn Foundation, beginning September 2, 2017.