Latest Event Updates
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.
CCC19 Conference Update: Welcome Vandana Shiva and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.
“The future of humanity depends on our advocacy for diversity, culture, freedom and joyful living.” Vandana Shiva
This week, from my perspective as the vision-holder for CCC19, we passed a milestone; Vandana Shiva and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez committed to joining us. Vandana Shiva epitomizes the vibrant elder-mentor who speaks for and with the Earth. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a young climate activist and hip hop artist who, along with other youth, is suing the US government for its failure to protect the environment for future generation. The participation of these two passionate activists fulfils crucial aspects of my vision for the event and helps me to feel that it is fully seeded and securely anchored.
There is not enough space here to properly tell you about Vandana Shiva and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez; their energies are almost mythic. Vandana Shiva has taken on what is likely one of the greatest challenges of climate change – feeding a growing population without further harming the Earth. She assures us that the anticipated 10 million inhabitants we will see by the end of the century can be fed “if seeds are in the hands of the farmers and the gardeners as well as the land.” Vandana has authored 20 books and been the recipient of numerous awards including the Right Livelihood Award in 1993.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez launched his first environmental campaign at the age of six. With beauty, flare, and music he has, since then, taken on fracking, developed a climate recovery plan, and spoken at the Rio + 20 Summit and the UN. His mission, he says, is to reach out to youth and invite them to be advocates for the Earth. He received the Peace First Prize in 2015 and the Children’s Climate Prize in Sweden in 2016. He is now the Youth Director of the international organization Earth Guardians. And because, as he says, “movements need songs,” he has released one album and is working on another with his equally inspired younger brother and sister.
We are truly honored and blessed that these two people, one a wise elder and the other a young, talented rapper, will be with us at CCC19, to inspire and guide us along with our other eminent presenters.
Finally, on April 20th 2017, at 8 PM BST and Noon PST, we will be exactly two years from the moment that CCC19 opens in Findhorn. Please join us in being still at that time to invoke the highest and the best for our gathering. We will connect with each other, with Nature, the Ancestors and the future ones for twenty minutes of attunement. Let’s evoke, through meditation and attunement, the unseen guardians for our conference and the Earth!
By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.
In March 2017 the Washington Post reported that a group of high school students in Kansas, working on an article for their campus newspaper, discovered that their newly hired principal was misrepresenting her credentials. While some were initially incredulous, the voices of the young journalists ultimately prevailed and the woman resigned. The Post’s renowned Spotlight team, known for their daring and incisive research, applauded the youth. Their courage and determination won the day. It is exactly these qualities in our youth that will characterize and perhaps define the Climate Change & Consciousness conference in April, 2019 (CCC19).
CCC19 seeks and welcomes the curiosity and passion of young people. We are actively engaged in finding ways to bring young people from all over the world to the gathering. We are calling in youth to help uncover the kind of indefatigable creativity that we need to meet the greatest existential challenge we have ever faced together. We will ensure that their voices are heard and their ideas, acted upon. After all, isn’t it for them that we are called to steward?
Climate change is forcing a shift in consciousness that includes how we prioritize the voices of our youth. The coming together of elders and other mentors with youth will spark emergent and compelling conversations that will occur everywhere, formally and informally, deliberately and serendipitously, during the conference. The minds, hearts, songs, dances, ideas, and brilliance of youth absolutely must be present for this seeding.
Be an actor in the manifestation of the global family that is CCC19 by helping us bring youth there from all over the word. Representative youth can only attend with your support. Give yourself, give them, give us all the gift of their presence. Offer a donation of an amount you can afford by contacting us here. You can specify that you want your sponsorship to go specifically to youth. You can also choose to support a particular young person to attend by registering them for the event here.
Activate your stewardship; help build our global family. We are all in this together. No one can survive climate change alone. Ignite the inclusivity that lives in your heart by reaching out to the youth of the world and telling them, with your sponsorship, that you are ready to listen, ready to hear their voice. Let the child who lives within you, who perhaps was not heard as a youth, feel welcomed into the human family as you welcome a young man or young woman into CCC19.
By conference convener, Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.
Research into the psychological effects of war (see my book, They Were Families: How War Comes Home (New Forums, 2015)) has identified secondary traumatization as the fallout from an atmosphere of trauma, just as secondary smoke infects non-smokers. It occurs when an enormous threat prevails in the ambience of a home, a community or a country. The fallout lands invisibly on the people there, even when the threat is not much palpable. In Western psychology, this is called vicarious retraumatization. When it happens to healthcare providers it is called burnout. Both are responses to shock on a subtle level.
Climate change will wreak the same kind of havoc i.e. unprecedented mental health and nervous system challenges on a pandemic scale. If we are lucky, its treatment will come from the widespread application of integrative medicine. As someone who has developed a paradigm dedicated to integrative medicine, I can vouch for its effectiveness in resolving shock. Western medicine can help us identify the symptoms, as the following article shows, so that we can treat these destabilizing influences on our nervous systems.
Energy medicine (such as trauma-informed touch, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Repatterning), TRE (Trauma Release Exercises), Art Therapy and Movement Therapy) gracefully leads the nervous system back home to its innate symmetry, frequently making pharmaceuticals unnecessary. This is integrative medicine at its best. We will be considering these kinds of health impacts and their treatment when we come together in Findhorn for CLIMATE CHANGE & CONSCIOUSNESS. This article summarizes what we now know about the mental health impacts of climate change in places where it is already doing damage. The good news is that we can prepare ourselves and be ready to come to the aid of those effected. Western science has been consistent in singing the praises of early intervention. I am grateful to be one of early intervention’s team leaders.
An Introduction by Bob Yuhnke
to an article in the Guardian titled, Record-breaking climate change pushes world into ‘uncharted territory’
My dearest friends, This article from the Guardian warns that rising global heat bodes ill for humanity. Beware this summer. It’s going to be a scorcher, with massive fires in too many places to be effectively controlled. The climate is quickly approaching the point of no return.
We must demand that Trump invest in securing the American people, and the world, from the true threats to humans. Syrian women and children escaping Isis and Assad and the American news media are the Fake News threats he has conjured up to distract us from his conspiracy with Putin, Exxon, and his corporate cronies to protect their Three trillion $ investments in fossil carbon reserves. Those reserves must stay in the ground to save our planet’s food supply and life support systems.
In the last 60 days, Trump has issued an executive order to cancel EPA’s Clean Coal program, has announced an intent to roll back the tailpipe emission standards for CO2 emitted from cars and trucks, has signed a bill revoking the recent standards for controlling methane pollution from oil and gas drilling, and signed another bill to allow coal mining companies to dump mine wastes into rivers and streams. These actions serve only the special interests of the corporate elite invested in carbon extraction.
These actions confirm that Trump has put the fossil fuel industry in charge of the federal government, with Exxon running the Department of State, Imhofe and his gang of Oklahoma oil industry shills running EPA, and Rick Perry running DOE.
Climate denial is a political disinformation propaganda campaign bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry. The industry is invested in fossil carbon reserves worth $3 trillion ($3,000,000,000,000,000). . The fossil industry has no investment in protecting the earth, our children, the human food supply, the oceans, the forests or the wild animals that depend for their existence on the health of the oceans and forests.
These are the forces that threaten the future of life on the planet. These are the terrorists of the planet, having gained control over the most powerful government on earth for the purpose of preserving the power of a small economic elite at the expense of humanity and life itself. Those of us dedicated to preserving life on this planet must resist this coup d’tat. We must protest now to protect our health, as strongly as we protested to protect health care.
Resistance begins with eliminating our personal reliance on fossil fuels. Then it moves to supporting policies at the state and local levels to eliminate fossil fuels from our systems for electric power generation and transport. Finally, we must organize to remove the fossil terrorists from power. If that does not work, then we must look to Gandhi and MLK, Jr. for examples of how to use civil disobedience to disable the terrorist fossil state.
Bob Yuhnke with wife, Stephanie Mines (our conference convener).