I enjoyed the send-up of the media, the scientists and the politicians in “Don’t Look Up”, a recent film about a PhD student’s discovery of a huge asteroid headed towards planet Earth. On the one hand it’s totally believable that those in power wouldn’t take seriously the fact that we could be headed towards the 6th extinction, preferring to focus on their own self-interest. On the other hand, there have been all kinds of initiatives - by governments, organisations and individuals to help combat climate change and reshape our world.
To quote a much maligned phrase, ‘we are all in this together’. Climate change can no longer be denied, nor the fact that animal and plant species are dying out at an alarming rate. Instability, uncertainty, desperation and fear are prevalent everywhere. Our way of life is no longer sustainable, and many can now see this, but although we are the problem, we are also the solution. We have the power to make changes in our lives which can help restore balance and harmony.
Slowly a revolution has been unfolding, manifesting in all sorts of ways. Many people are choosing to live more simply, to recycle, to shop local, to rent rather than buy, to fly less, to work less etc. Along with individual choice about how to live more lightly on the earth and consume less, there is a far greater awareness of inequalities and prejudices within society. The world of business knows too that a more enlightened attitude is needed towards employees - they can no longer be exploited to maximise profits for the few. There is also on the whole increasing acceptance of diversity, and greater tolerance for those from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, or of a different sexual orientation.
It is in our long-term interest to think of the whole of humanity, not just ourselves. It may sound counter-intuitive, but connecting with the whole requires us to look inwards and grow as human beings, rather than continually looking outward. There is nothing self-indulgent about going within. Self-awareness is key to our maturity, and the more we turn our attention inward, the more our self-knowledge increases. With it comes not only peace of mind, but also more open-heartedness and greater compassion for others. When we choose more consciously our motivations, values, likes and dislikes, goals and objectives, we understand that co-operation rather than competition has to be our watchword, and that living in harmony with nature and our fellow human-beings is the only way forward if we are to avoid catastrophe.
All the crises we face right now are forcing us to change our behaviour. If we choose to work together, just as the cells of our body work together to keep us alive, so can we work together for the transformation of our planet. Our task as mature human beings is to come together to form a planetary community, overcoming the fragmentation and separation that exists. Many people from around the world are consciously choosing to live their lives differently, linking up with like-minded individuals and engaging in communal activities that make a difference. The old order is disintegrating and we can all play our part in the transformational shift. Each of us can join with another, and then another, and another, and so we help reshape our world.
The painting is by Eileen Forrester Agar RA - Dance of Peace