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By guest blogger, James R Flynn, Professor FRSNZ *
As Ben Strauss (Director of Climate Control) says “the 22nd century will become the century from hell.”
Until very recently, scientific opinion included some who predicted only a very gradual rise in sea level over the remainder of this century: most of them less than a meter. This was because sea level rise up to now has been caused mainly by thermal expansion. As oceans get warmer the water expands but not too alarmingly. The best science is now predicting a huge rise by the year 2100. This is because of the fragility of the Polar Ice Caps. It sets into motion a feedback mechanism that takes global warming out of human control. The Polar Ice acts as a gigantic set of mirrors that reflect heat back into space. As they decline that raises the earth’s temperature, which melts more Polar Ice, which raises temperature further, and so we go. The carbon emissions we send into the atmosphere become a junior player in global warming to the extent that after 2050, our efforts to cut them become swamped by the Polar Ice factor. It is much easier to keep a glacier from decline than to restore it once it fragments, if only because that in itself creates temperatures that are too hot.
Polar Ice is not is not like a solid ice cube that comes out of your fridge and slowly melts on your bench. As DeContro and Pollard (2016) point out, in their article in Nature, when a glacier is near the sea, melting ice on top of it fractures it into a series of ‘cliffs’. The ice between them falls into the sea leaving sheer cliffs behind. These cannot support their weight, and suffer from ‘cliff collapse’ that sends them into the sea as well. Moreover, some ice is strategically placed to keep other ice from sliding into the sea. In the West Antarctic, the Thwaites Glacier acts like a cork that holds back other glaciers that rest on a seabed that slopes toward the sea. It is melting fast and when it goes the others will follow it into the ocean. In the Arctic, sea ice plays this role and as it melts, the land ice it encircles will no longer be impeded from drifting toward the ocean.
I have focused on Polar land ice but note that we must take into account the polar ice that presently rests on the sea. It may seem less significant because when it melts, it does not directly raise sea levels (it is already displacing its volume in the sea). But when it is gone that is another huge mirror gone. Notz and Stove (2016) predict that all Arctic sea ice (not land ice) will disappear by the year 2050.
James Hansen and his team have integrated the effect of glacier ice loss into a new and more comprehensive model of sea level rise. It gives estimates with a median of 3.5 meters (scenarios range from 2 to 5) by the year 2100. As Ben Strauss (Director of Climate Control) says, even a low estimate promises that the 22nd century will become the century from hell. If sea level is rising exponentially, then after 2100 the rise will be huge for each decade – somewhere between 0.80 and 2.73 meters between 2100 and 2110 alone and nightmarish after that. Planning to move inland will become a panic unless cities are put on roller skates.
To illustrate what sea-level rise implies, a rise of even 2.6 meters would put large percentages of American cities under water: New Orleans 93, Galveston 82, Atlantic City 80, Miami 46, Norfolk 43, St. Petersburg 40, Jersey City 33, Charleston 30, Savannah 24. New York City would lose ‘only’ 15 per cent, so only about 1.26 million people would be directly affected (really more with population growth).
In sum, unless we abolish coal today, oil in ten years, and national gas in 20, the race to avoid unacceptable temperature and sea level rise has been lost. The only solution is to use a benign form of climate engineering to hold temperatures at their present level and give us 50 years to eliminate emissions. I will explore alternatives in my next posting.
* James R. Flynn is Emeritus Professor of Political Studies in New Zealand and author of 16 books including a series on the problems of the modern world, among which he considers climate change to be the most important. His book, No Place To Hide, attracted the following praise:
‘A broad-ranging view of the critical issues facing our planet written in an easy to understand non-technical manner’ — Jay Zwally, Maryland Earth Sciences and NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre.
‘A great read. A massive amount of information well organized and expressed’ — Sir Alan Mark, FRSNZ, Knight of the N. Z. Order of Merit.
‘Wonderful, for the first time I have read an unbiased overview of the science behind global warming’ — Rolf Dobelli, Author of The Art of Thinking Clearly.
All things are born of woman – Climate Change and Feminine Leadership (Part 2)
By guest blogger, Joey Walters
“And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom…” Anais Nin
Blossoming requires us to open. It’s an act of courage to open to feeling our vulnerability, to receiving, to re-Sourcing and to flourishing in our potential.
I have come to see from my own experience and that of the many women I’ve had the privilege to mentor, that our capacity to ‘hold space’ for ourselves; to allow ourselves to fully sense and feel what’s present, is one of the primary ways our feminine power has been suppressed. It shows up as dissociation from our bodies, as a sense of disconnection from nature and ultimately in the mistrust of our intuitive guidance and wisdom. Perhaps the greatest irony for us as women, is that we have learned to override our own needs for well-being and lost touch with our essential feminine capacity to receive the deep re-Sourcing we need to sustain ourselves, as we continue to birth and sustain life around us.
I believe that true healing of this ‘wounding of the feminine’ (I.e. a sense of disconnection from the Earth and from the Source of life itself) is where our power to create real change lies
What’s in the way, is the way. We need to ‘hold space’ for the Great Inner Turning.
Our ‘wounding’ is not a problem in itself; it’s a doorway to our power. When we learn how to reclaim our innate capacity to feel and witness our pain with love, we can begin to see and relate, with greater empathy, to what is happening in the world around us. This is one of the greatest leverage points we have in responding wisely to our challenged, climate changing world. It’s the shift from reactivity which repeats the past, to response-ability, which generates a new future.
One of the most significant, yet unseen challenges we face in society as a whole, is that we have become entrenched in a cultural malaise of ‘resistance’ to feeling and witnessing what is truly present ~ within and without. We’ve become addicted to whatever helps us to avoid what we don’t want to acknowledge. Though this apparent denial or ‘numbing’ of difficult emotions is at one level personal, we can also see it through a cultural lens, as a collective suppression of the fear, rage, shame and grief we have been carrying for generations. We tend to either avoid feeling these ‘difficult’ emotions or become overwhelmed and victimised by them, projecting blame (and consequently our power) onto others. We hold some feelings acceptable and reject others as shameful. We have forgotten how to hold witnessing, honouring, unconditional space for all our emotions ~ for the totality of our human experience.
We know that, at some point, this ‘dissociation’ and splitting from our wholeness, was an intelligent survival response to trauma that the nervous system couldn’t handle. However, continuing to skip over this pain, is a flawed long term strategy as it also keeps us from accessing our joy, our inspired creative guidance, our love and our ability to attune to one another – all the essential ingredients needed to co-create the future we want for our Grandchildren.
Many women are feeling a powerful awakening out of this collective trance. It often begins as a deep yearning to contribute our feminine wisdom and gifts ~ a call to feminine leadership. Yet as we open to feel and act on our heart’s desire, the unresolved personal and intergenerational trauma that has been handed down, perhaps, through many generations, naturally begins to surface for healing.
Our conditioned response to this emotional turbulence is to treat it as resistance that we must push past or get rid of; a strategy that continues to exile the very parts of us that need to be loved and included, keeping us enslaved to repeating cycles of reactivity. However, if we embrace the principle ‘what’s in the way is the way’, we’re given permission to meet our difficult emotions and their narratives with awareness and care, so they can be safely felt, acknowledged and integrated. In doing so, we’re not just healing ourselves and our past, we’re restoring the natural flow of love and wisdom from our ancestors, which is our birthright. We’re restoring our capacity to respond whole-heartedly to our environment with integrity, love and inspired decision making about our future.
Climate change needs culture change. Culture change starts from within.
This rigorous inner training to ‘hold ourselves with love’, is a necessary feature of the beautiful Great Turning we are in – a critical moment in history where the collective bud of humanity is awakening to the choice we have to blossom together.
Holding a loving, respectful and accepting space for ourselves is the birthplace of culture change. It’s the essential foundation needed if we are to foster an intelligent culture of compassion and respect for humanity and for the Earth.
Holding ourselves this way, gives us access to a deeper field of wisdom and love that enables us to hold a generative space for others to discover their wholeness. Imagine what it would be like if we created a ‘field of relationship’ in which we could all express our authentic voices and be shamelessly present with our vulnerability (and therefore our power) as a natural part of our culture? What might we be able to co-create in that environment?
The Two Sacred Laws,* ‘All things are born of women’ and ‘No law shall be passed that will harm the children’, remind us of this innate quality of feminine presence; our capacity to hold the sacred birthing space in which life within us and around us can truly blossom.
It’s taken me years to learn how to welcome my darker moments with love; how to be present with and accept the messiness of being human. I’ve needed courage to see the ways that I have devalued and suppressed my power as a woman, and to hold space for the fear, rage and grief of the unspoken feminine in me.
My journey has taught me that feminine leadership is as much about tending to the courageous inner journey of our blossoming as it is the action we take to make a difference. The two cannot be separated. Each time I take a step in my leadership which requires me to be more visible, I find myself being stalled by a younger, more vulnerable part of me that doesn’t feel safe being seen.
This isn’t just my story. It’s the collective story of woman ~ our challenge to be seen in our vulnerability; to speak up about something we care deeply about; to hold firm boundaries; to share our anger and shame; to lovingly challenge behaviour that’s out of integrity ~ these are all ways of being authentically visible that can be terrifying if we haven’t learned to embrace the part of us that’s carrying fear from the past.
We don’t have to learn to do this alone. In fact, we can’t.
None of us can blossom alone. We need a c ircle of midwives, like our ancestors had…
In the last 15 years, I’ve learned how essential it is for women to share their experience together. Knowing we are not alone gives us the strength and courage to keep moving forward. But more importantly, my experience over many years that I’ve been holding Women’s Circles, has lead me to a deeper understanding of the power of being seen in a safe, sacred container.
In these circles, we are recreating an affirming culture of love and respect in which women can show up in their authentic power, which necessarily includes vulnerability. Being seen, witnessed and welcomed in this way is profoundly healing, imprinting a new experience of being received, just as we are, with love and non-judgement. This ‘holding field’ of the feminine, was likely missing from our early experiences, as it has been eroded and devalued in our culture over many generations. Bringing that archetypal Mother energy into the Circle creates a warm incubator for the emerging Feminine Leader in each of us; for the bud that needs tender nurturing and resourcing as it opens and births itself into life. It teaches us how to re-create that incubator within ourselves.
The truth is that none of us can heal our wounds of separation alone. In this time of The Great Turning, we need one another to hold, witness and validate both the pain and the beauty we are experiencing. We need a circle of ‘midwives’ to help us to trust our feminine wisdom and find the courage to express it though our leadership. Perhaps this is the wisdom of interdependence that our ancestors have been whispering to us in our dreams.
Earth Wisdom Teacher, Ohki SImine Forest said: In re-creating the women’s clans, the mother’s clans, we’ll be able to stand for what is right, not isolated as we have been for thousands of years. In solidarity to one another, this journey will be less painful. For it’s together, in our women circles, that we’ll find the way to lead powerfully along side with men.’
If can we receive this message from our Grandmothers to re-create our Women’s Circles, we can learn how to hold this nourishing, birthing space for ourselves and for one another. We can re-member, together, the Sacred container that each one of us carries and bring the power of our womanhood not just back into our own lives but back into our lineage and forward into our future.
As we hear the Earth’s call for balance and envision the future ‘climate’ we want to create for our Grandchildren, perhaps, our primary role as Feminine Leaders is to weave our deepest respect for the Sacredness of all life back into our culture. If we can become midwives for The Great Inner Turning of consciousness taking place perhaps, hand in hand with our brothers, we can hold the Sacred space needed for us to move through the pain of this great birthing of interdependence, with love and trust.
Now is ‘The time of the Grandmothers’. For the sake of our grandchildren and our beautiful planet, let’s embrace it together.
* The Two Sacred Laws were held by a lineage of indigenous Earth Wisdom Teachings (originating in Mexico and then spreading through North America) known as ‘The Origin Teachings of the Delicate Lodge.’
Joey Walters is the Founder of Awakening Feminine Leaders (http://awakeningfeminineleaders.com/). Her work brings nature~based wisdom teachings to contemporary leadership creating a soulful, authentic pathway that allows Feminine Leadership to emerge. She is a gifted mentor and Circle Teacher, fostering women’s Wisdom Circles that awaken personal and collective transformation. Joey is completing her first book based on her successful international series “A Call to Stand.” She will lead a circle at CCC19 to explore the leadership role of women in response to climate change.
Joey, Deborah Jay-Lewin, Margaret Elphinstone and Stephanie Mines, all of whom are involved in CCC19 will speak at a TEDx Findhorn event in the Universal Hall, Findhorn on October 5th, 2017 (See http://tedxfindhorn.com/ for more details).
Joey is also hosting The Women’s Council (http://awakeningfeminineleaders.com/council/), a retreat to be held at Newbold House, near Findhorn, on October 6th-8th, 2017, as a forum for women to draw on their collective feminine wisdom and re-Source their leadership at this challenging time of The Great Turning.
All Things Are Born Of Woman ~ Climate Change & Feminine Leadership (Part 1)
By guest blogger, Joey Walters*
It’s no secret that we are living in a time of extraordinary upheaval and transition, climate change perhaps being the most significant expression of the all-pervading flux in which we find ourselves. Our compromised environment and the related breakdown of political, social and economic structures, have brought us to a doorway, inviting us to let go of isolation and conflict and rediscover the essential wisdom of our interconnectedness.
Prophets and wisdom teachers have spoken of this momentous transition as ‘The Great Turning’; a time when humanity would shift from independence to interdependence, re-turning to living in harmony with the Earth and with one another, as many of our indigenous ancestors did. Joanna Macy speaks of the Great Turning as ‘the shift from industrial growth society to a life sustaining civilisation,’ reflecting the same evolution of consciousness from ‘I’ to ‘we’.
The Great Turning was also heralded as a time when women would ‘lead’ our world into this new era, such prophecies being an affirmation of what many women have long been experiencing. Climate change, starving nations, political chaos, devastating terrorist attacks and continuing bloody wars have been opening our eyes and hearts to the harsh reality of the world we inhabit and stirring women to take action, individually and collectively – not simply re-action, but action that is grounded in feminine wisdom and values, restoring balance to our fractured, patriarchal world.
Environmental lawyer, Polly Higgins, who is leading the global legal movement to enact laws prohibiting ecocide, speaks of women rising as ‘Voices for the Earth.’ We are inspired by Polly and other environmental women leaders like the late Wangari Maathai, who established the pan African grass roots Green Belt Movement assisting women to plant millions of trees; and Vandana Shiva who is courageously committed to feeding our expanding population without harming the Earth.
Many of us are finding the courage to take a stand for our future, not just in the environmental field but in unique ways that are authentic expressions of our feminine gifts and values, working consciously towards Macy’s life sustaining civilisation. But this heart-led call to heal our destabilised world environment, is not just an altruistic impulse to affect change in the world around us. It’s accompanied by a deep, soulful yearning to express, more fully, our authentic feminine nature and power as women.
Over the years of my own journey and in my work with women leaders from all walks of life, I have sensed this ‘call to leadership’ as an invitation from the Earth to rediscover the feminine wisdom known to our ancestors that has been so suppressed and dishonoured by the patriarchy of the age. This ‘re-awakening’ of our innate feminine power brings with it a whole host of conflicting experiences from profound heart-expansion, spiritual epiphanies and creative inspiration, to intense fear, rage, grief and longing for wholeness. Women are trying to make sense, often in isolation, of this tumultuous experience – isolation, of course, being a core facet of the fragmented culture that we can no longer tolerate.
However, we are not as alone as it seems. In this Great Turning from independence to interdependence, we are part of a growing collective movement to heal the disconnection between the out of balance masculine and the feminine that has been suppressed, misrepresented and devalued for generations. Of course, this rebalancing starts from within, hence the emotional turbulence so many of us are experiencing. Beginning with re-embracing the feminine within ourselves and revaluing the natural gifts of our womanhood, I believe we are growing our capacity to re-instate a balanced feminine/masculine world.
Although many passionate men are also waking up to this non-gender based integration of feminine and masculine energy, I’m curious about the potent rise of feminine leaders taking place globally that might, as the prophecies suggest, play a crucial role in fostering a thriving, climate-responsible, life-sustaining future. Women perhaps are one of the greatest untapped resources on our planet.
The question we might ask ourselves individually and collectively as women is: ‘What is my/our role in co-creating a new ‘culture of care’ for ourselves and our world, and how can I/we resource ourselves to play it?’ (This is an essential inquiry we are bringing to The Women’s Council in October this year; see Notes, below.)
It’s helpful to look back to our indigenous ancestors for guidance. I have always been deeply moved by the stories of Earth based communities who honoured the feminine through their respect and care for women, the Earth and all her inhabitants. In the lineage of Earth Wisdom that I was taught by RainbowHawk and WindEagle of the Ehama Institute in New Mexico, there were ‘Two Sacred Laws’ that embedded this respect for the feminine in their culture:
1. All things are born of woman.
2. No law shall be passed that will harm the children.
These were fundamental ‘laws’ of feminine wisdom, rooted in their understanding of the interrelatedness of all life, that sustained their communities over many generations.
Kurt Kaltreider wrote in Conversations with Chasing Deer:
“Indians know that the strength of the tribe resides in the strength of its women. Did you know that among the Iroquois it was the women, the grandmothers, who decided if war was to be waged? They decided if the lives of the young men should be put at risk, and only if they could see the benefit seven generations into the future did they allow the conflict to occur. It was only right that the givers of life should be given the decision that might destroy it. The grandmothers were also given the power to ask a chief to step down.”
Many indigenous cultures throughout the world, recognised that women, through their wombs, held a ‘Sacred Container’ though which life could flourish. They expanded the presence of this life-enhancing container beyond child-bearing, to leadership within their communities, particularly as guardians of the land but also in political and spiritual roles. They were profoundly connected to and guided by nature and her cycles and received their ‘authority’ from the Earth. Quite simply, women were deeply respected and valued for their embodied feminine wisdom. Likewise, the Earth and nature as a whole were honoured as feminine ~ as the ultimate bearer of life. Throughout the world, women also nurtured their connection to one another, re-Sourcing themselves in Women’s Circles and Councils where they shared their stories and honoured their collective feminine wisdom.
Alongside the impacts of Climate Change, we are recognising the loss and trauma humanity has suffered as a result of these Two Sacred Laws being broken. The suppression of the feminine that has taken place through the dishonouring of women, the Earth and the indigenous cultures that knew how to steward her, has had a profound impact on our well-being (men alongside women) and on our capacity to sustain life.
However, though the consequences are painful to acknowledge, we must remember that this wisdom has not been lost. It was suppressed and, in this Great Turning time, it is beginning to rise again ~ through us. If we are willing to be an open vessel through which it can be re-awakened, then perhaps our primary work as women is to remember how to fully feel and receive, so that we can emanate this authentic care for life, once more, though our leadership.
We may be at a crucial and challenging turning point in our history but we are also at an exciting juncture where we have a choice to continue to feed the status quo or open ourselves to discover a new way forward.
In the words of author, Anais Nin: ‘And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’
Perhaps, if we have the courage to blossom and hold a nurturing space for the profound transformation we are in, we can put our roots back down into the Earth and re-claim the wisdom and resourcing of our ancestors.
To be continued with Part 2.
* Joey Walters is the Founder of Awakening Feminine Leaders (http://awakeningfeminineleaders.com/). Her work brings nature~based wisdom teachings to contemporary leadership creating a soulful, authentic pathway that allows Feminine Leadership to emerge. She is a gifted mentor and Circle Teacher, fostering women’s Wisdom Circles that awaken personal and collective transformation. Joey is completing her first book based on her successful international series “A Call to Stand.” She will lead a circle at CCC19 to explore the leadership role of women in response to climate change.
Joey, Deborah Jay-Lewin, Margaret Elphinstone and Stephanie Mines, all of whom are involved in CCC19 will speak at a TEDx Findhorn event in the Universal Hall, Findhorn on October 5th, 2017 (See http://tedxfindhorn.com/ for more details)..
Joey is also hosting The Women’s Council (http://awakeningfeminineleaders.com/council/), a retreat to be held at Newbold House, near Findhorn, on October 6th-8th, 2017, as a forum for women to draw on their collective feminine wisdom and re-Source their leadership at this challenging time of The Great Turning.
By conference convener, Stephanie Mines PhD.
My father was not available to protect me from the dangers of life, nor show me how to navigate the world. He abandoned our family, returning periodically only to disappear again. We later discovered that he had other families and that I had siblings whom I’d never met. The situation was deeply disturbing and destabilizing. It caused me to feel that the world is unreliable and dangerous; that there is little protection from its vicissitudes, that there are no safe spaces. And the concept of the healthy masculine was foreign to me.
This aspect of my personal history now texturizes how I feel about the threat of climate change and how I respond to it. I imagine that others with similar or related trauma in their early histories, whose nervous systems are triggered by the threat that climate change poses, respond to it (consciously or subconsciously) as they did to threats experienced in their developmental years.
I sense a groundswell of varied fear responses to climate change all over the world. Denial is one way that fear is registered, along with despair and panic. I will explore the relationship between collective trauma and climate change in future blogs, but for this one I want to look at the vulnerability of the fatherless because that is particularly close to my heart.
As the convener of the conference, CLIMATE CHANGE & CONSCIOUSNESS: Our Legacy for the Earth (CCC19) I am being rewarded regularly by meeting remarkable people who are magnetized to my vision. After years of teaching with groups dominated by women I find I am now actively dialoguing and collaborating with more and more inspired and inspiring men. I chose to interview two of these remarkable gentlemen about how their experience of fatherhood shapes their response to climate change.
Jarvis Smith is the founder of My Green Pod, the UK’s leading network and publication about ethical, green, climate change conscious businesses. Jarvis is also a father and a grandfather. My Green Pod is a vehicle for his passionate activism on behalf of the Earth. He wants people to know that they can make conscious choices about how they spend their money and use their energy.
“I want to be a model of courageous and empowered change-making possibility for my children,” Jarvis told me. “Being a father is what really woke me up to this path. The birth of my first child made me realize that everything I do impacts the future. Having developed a vehicle for showing everyone that they can live an ethical lifestyle, I now realize that it is my job to encourage a movement of connectedness. I have to demonstrate the importance of relationship and how all of us have a responsibility for human evolution.”
Jarvis validates the sense I had when I envisioned CCC19 – that it is first and foremost about children, parents and families. “Parents are the leaders in this movement,” he states passionately. “We have to prepare all children for climate change. We can’t be lazy. We have to be inspiring examples. We need to show our children how to connect with Nature. I have conspired with the Earth to be her ambassador. And I have to join with other Earth Ambassadors to remind everyone to find their skill and give it to the Earth. This actually feels like my true calling in life. I see us all gathering at CCC19 to shine this bright light to the world.”
Robin Grille is an Australian psychologist and author of Parenting for a Peaceful World. He is also an avid and articulate environmental activist. He merges his understanding of natural parenting with his awareness of climate change and lives the two in seamless relationship. He is a father.
Robin tells me with piercing honesty that he feels “despair and outrage when contemplating the reckless continuation of fossil fuel related profiteering. I consider this a genocidal industrial pursuit. Parenthood has sharpened these feelings for me and made them acute. Inaction feels intolerable to me.”
Robin’s protest comes from deep within the well of his profound and compassionate understanding of human development. “My research enables me to see that the economic rationale that dominates today is little more than the symptom of punished, shamed, abused and emotionally neglected childhoods – en masse. Eco-holocaust reveals the widespread frontal lobe damage and high cortisol caused by toxic authoritarian parenting and education.” Like Jarvis, Robin identifies Nature as a third parent who can open the collective heart and heal the collective brain, which is a central theme of CCC19. Jarvis and Robin echo the crucial importance of having parents attend CCC19.
While I am used to women speaking up for future generations, hearing men being outspoken about their devotion to children and their willingness to protect them, soothes my nervous system and makes my heart soar. I hope the same is true for others reading this piece who have lived fatherless lives and who long for the healthy masculine. CCC19 is a place where dads like Jarvis and Robin can express their vibrant and daring fatherly love for their own children and the children of the world. These dads affirm each child’s sacred birthright – to be nurtured and protected and live in harmony with Nature.
If you are a parent or a grandparent, CCC19 offers you a space to bring your concerns for the future of humanity and your willingness to be part of a worldwide community of stewards for our children. It is from the base of our collective wisdom that the way forward will emerge. When you register for the conference, please consider sponsoring other parents so that they can attend, if this is within your scope of possibility.
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.