By conference convener, Stephanie Mines.
A Review of ‘Climate Generation: Awakening to Our Children’s Future,’ a new book authored by CCC19 participant, Lorna Gold
Lorna Gold’s book, Climate Generation: Awakening to Our Children’s Future, offers an accessible rendition of climate science and an action-path to mitigation. But what is really striking to me is that this book points us to the real motivational fuel we need to meet the daunting environmental challenges we face. That fuel is love. Lorna’s description of how parenthood made her a dedicated climate change activist demonstrates convincingly how love for our children, all children, empowers each one of us to defy the impossible. Love is faith in action.
I would like to ask you to take some time now to look at the world we inhabit as if through the eyes of a young child. Even if you do not have children in your life you can reflect on the child you once were. Recreate that child in your mind’s eye and recall how life communicated itself to you then. If you do have children in your life, observe them and see how they experience the world they inhabit. Breathe in how they reach out to understand; feel the intelligence of their sensory experiences and the questions that accompany them. Children ask questions more with their bodies than with their words. They turn to the adults around them to respond to their needs and to provide answers.
Small children do not understand the words “climate change” or “mitigation.” But they can sense when there is distress in the environment and they are extremely attuned to the distress that their adult caregivers feel. “The time has come,” says Lorna Gold, “to translate the acute anxiety we feel when facing climate change into action for what really matters, for the future of our children.”
When the vision of Climate Change & Consciousness: Our Legacy for the Earth swept through me I saw images of my two grand-daughters standing like sentinels on either side of me. It is for them and all the children of the world that I am dedicated to the principles of Climate Change & Consciousness. So when I saw Lorna Gold’s book title I breathed a deep sigh of relief. I had been pouring over books about climate change and few of them discussed children and families except to identify their vulnerabilities. Here at last was someone who talked about children before she talked about anything else.
Lorna Gold is a founder of Stop Climate Chaos in Ireland and vice-chair of the Global Catholic Climate Movement. She is a member of the Irish government’s advisory group on the national climate dialogue and she speaks extensively on Pope Francis’ Laudato Si. She works for Trocaire, the Irish Catholic Development Agency. Her book is dedicated to her sons and she attributes to her motherhood, the primary motivating factor in her climate activism. I met her in person in Ireland when I attended the climate events she organized for the Festival of Families during the visit of Pope Francis in August 2018. She hosted multiple large scale gatherings devoted to educating about climate change and for each one she was on fire; well-spoken, high spirited, focused and utterly optimistic about human resilience and the spiritual force that can be rallied for climate change mitigation. She is working right now to raise funds to bring Irish youth to Climate Change & Consciousness because she knows, as I do, that the presence of youth is crucial to the mission of the conference.
Love is the defining component of what Lorna and I mean when we talk about consciousness in the context of climate change. Lorna defines specifically how love incorporates protection, advocacy and action. She is speaking of love not as a theory or philosophy. She means the raw instinctual essence of parental love as exemplified by the mother bear or the lioness that will stop at nothing if her cubs are at risk. That is the fuel that drives Lorna Gold and that drives me, and that keeps both of us going no matter what. This is the transformational power of love that once aroused will evoke the resilient intelligence we need as a global family to transcend the conundrums of the environmental dilemma we have created. For Lorna and I, love is a verb.
Lorna understands, as do many of us that this dilemma we are in together is not just about the data or the science. It is about our fragmented relationships to one another, to the Earth, to all of nature, and to the subtle, angelic realms that wait for us to ask them to intervene. It is about a crisis of faith. “At times,” she says, “the reality of climate change can be overwhelming. In those moments, I have to keep my eyes firmly fixed on the reasons such a struggle is necessary and worthwhile. It takes all my reserves of hope and the belief instilled in me since childhood that there is no force more powerful than a love that knows no bounds.”
Lorna looks deeply at the nature of love in Climate Generation. While providing facts, statistics and investigative reports about the impacts of climate change on communities, this really is a book about love. “The saving grace for me, amid the emotional turmoil of facing up to our children’s and our planet’s future, has been finding a deeper connection with our beautiful earth and learning to love it like never before. It has been a deeply personal spiritual journey. Since I started on this journey it is like I have fallen in love with the wonder of the earth we live on once again.” This is Lorna’s heartfelt declaration, made in words that everyone can comprehend, of how our global environmental crisis is awakening consciousness and how the basis of that consciousness is love.
Data about climate change is proliferating and now, finally, after decades of warnings, the elephant in the room is in everyone’s inbox and everyone’s social media. Yet no matter how complex the dilemma and how much technology is rallied for problem solving; no matter how sophisticated the delivery systems for distributing the information, the true crux of the issue, even from a neurochemical standpoint, is love.
Love is neurochemical fuel. Oxytocin, the neurohormone of love, is a cocktail so rich and vibrant, so potent, that it is the elixir of miracles. Climate Generation: Awakening to Our Children’s Future, is a practical book. It gives your logical mind the information it needs so that you can understand the environmental situation we are in and see, quite simply, what you can do about it. If you are a parent or a grandparent Climate Generation gives you specific resources you can use in your daily life for mitigation and to educate your children and your community so that they go into gear and make a difference. But from my perspective this book is really about love; love for the world’s children and love for the earth, for Gaia, for the natural world that nourishes and embraces us and yearns to collaborate with us for continuity.
Climate Change & Consciousness is honored that Lorna Gold, who has supported the vision of this conference since it was first posted, is attending. She will be joined by others from Ireland where she lives, though she is a Scot by birth. She brings with her a strong lineage of community organizing and advocacy. She is a resource and a treasure. As a mother and a grandmother I am humbled to stand with her and to be, as she said in her inscription to my copy of her book, “on the climate journey together.”