Not quite, anyway. This week’s Climate Crisis report from the IPCC was shocking in the starkness of its language and in the hard reality of the challenges that we face in the next few years. There’s been a tendency in many of us, myself included, to view climate change as happening in some ill-defined future; a crisis to be sure, but somehow it didn’t feel as immediate, as frightening or as strident in its demand for urgent action as it does now.
So what can we do? For myself, I’ve just started donating to a charity called Cool Earth who work with rainforest communities to protect and replenish the Amazon, the planet’s greatest carbon dioxide sink, which absorbs 7.6 billion metric tons of CO2 per year. Worryingly, research shows that the Amazon is on the verge of emitting more CO2 than it absorbs due to the effects of deforestation and burning of trees. It cannot continue if we’re to save the planet for our children and their descendants.
Obviously it’s not enough; we’ll all have to take a serious look at the way we eat, the transport we use, the way we heat and light our homes, the clothes that we wear etc. It won’t be easy, but what choice do we have in the end? Climate change is happening all around us with wildfires, temperature rises, floods and droughts. It’s no longer something that we can ignore or pretend is only happening in some distant future or faraway land. It’s right here, right now.
Caring for ourselves and the planet
So what is the connection between the global climate crisis and the very personal world of mental health and emotional wellbeing? I’ve written before on this blog about the power of nature and how it benefits us to be in contact with the natural world. Humans need green spaces, clean water, the life-affirming beauty of trees. We’re currently polluting the planet at an unsustainable rate and unless we change course quickly, we’ll lose too much of what we love most about the natural world – its beauty and diversity and its ability to sustain and nourish us.
As a counsellor, I often talk about living our lives in alignment with our deeply held personal values; protecting and healing the world for its own sake and for our descendants surely ranks as one of mine.
If you’d like to explore how you can live your life in closer alignment with your personal values, please drop me a line.
Take good care