Tag Archive | interconnections

Climate Change Resistance

Most readers of this blog are probably already concerned about climate change, and possibly active in reducing it. This sometimes results in hostility to the people judged to be deniers or those who seem spiteful about adding to it. Lots of reasons are blamed for their negative responses: inaccurate and inadequate media coverage, investments in fossil fuel and weapons industries, mistaking it as a political issue, just plain greed. Many efforts have been made to overcome these resistances directly: for example, by providing better information.

These efforts don’t always work, at least in the United States. I believe we must at least consider another source of the problem:  the need to update “brain technology” o-COMPUTER-facebookto deal with current problems of climate (as well as violence and poverty). While some brains have evolved to motivate people to action, others seem stuck in past technology. Einstein warned: No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.

Solving this will still be challenging, but better to treat the cause of obstinacy than to treat the symptoms. I hope the following will serve to increase our patience with resisters and our commitment to sending the universe positive energy for required consciousness updating. I hope we’ll devise ways to ask questions that will cause cognitive dissonance; good questions often result in willingness to change. After all, negative energy will not help, and God’s power can do anything — “far more than we can even imagine or guess or request in our wildest dreams!” (Eph. 3)

Updates Available

Fortunately the brain is able to develop new connections throughout life. Every day the brain computes ways to respond to new learning, new experiences, new awareness — new questions! The more of us who “download” better awareness, the stronger the field becomes, and that makes it easier for others to evolve. New awareness grows from old. Let’s consider the consciousness humans already have evolved.

Responding to Immediate Threats

What an important software this has been for ages past! As Brian Swimme says, our ancestors
learned to run immediately if they caught a glimpse of yellow. Those who didn’t act fast enough
became lunch for some hungry lion. This skill was passed on in our DNA. It’s still needed, of
course, but additional “brain software” is now required for survival.

People who mistakenly think climate change has not yet affected them seem to assume they have
time to wait. They operate exclusively from a mindset that was sufficient for survival for
millennia, but no longer is.

The situation that already affects millions (and, actually, everyone) willf2b57-dscn7621
eventually seriously threaten all people’s survival. What about food
supply? Water? Where will they safely live? Longer-range vision is
required to comprehend this. New brain skills are needed — and,
ironically, immediately!

Already we have reached the point where some damage will be
impossible to reverse. Six glaciers have reached irreversible collapse.
Warming ocean water is melting away the base of the West Antarctic Ice
Sheet – and more rapidly than predicted. Further, the damage is self-perpetuating and will accelerate over time. It cannot be stopped.

It is vital to note that reducing greenhouse gas emissions now can at least delay the total collapse
and resulting ocean rise. But this, too, requires vision for the future.

Separations and Independence

This important skill was a huge breakthrough when human consciousness evolved from preconscious
oneness into awareness of separate identities, dualities, and the scientific belief that
everything is made of separate atoms. Competition and hierarchies resulted. God was relegated to the sky, separate from Earth. Recognizing differences was necessary and still needed. But our time calls for “brain-ware” that also recognizes that those differences exist within intercommunion and interdependence. Those atoms belong to wholes. The Divine Mystery is present everywhere, living and acting within all creation.

By not updating consciousness, some think of climate change as competing with “real concerns”
like poverty, trafficking, refugees. And they can think of it as separate from themselves, something “out there.” People choose their issue and miss the interconnectedness of all issues within one whole.

Ecospirituality Update Needed

Ecospirituality, by definition, uses a “deep time journey” vision that situates us in a
14.8 billion year on-going evolution that is changing each moment. It sees humanity as having
the highest degree of consciousness to date (as far as we know) and humans as the ones who
contribute consciously to our evolution story for good or ill. It sees creation as a sacred interconnected process in which “nothing is itself without everything else.” (Thomas Berry). IMG_7737

This understanding of creation as a sacramental “whole” comes in part from new
sciences, but mystics and others have lived it for centuries. Because of this wholeness, we cannot do one thing. The butterfly effect (wings flapping somewhere changing weather somewhere else) is a well-known example of that, but even babies learn it from mobiles. Touch any one item, and all are influenced.

“At an invisible level, everything and everyone is interconnected in a most profound way, not only as human beings but as energy, mind, and matter.” (Mark Matousek)

Connection with Resistances

What does obsolete brain power have to do with resistances to Climate Change activities? Remember:

Climate concerns need attention now, and they interact with other issues. We are not separate from our environment. The air we breathe flows within us, is altered, returns and continues to be altered as we breathe in yet other air particles. “The world around us is also within. We are an expression of it; it is an expression of us. . . . This is not ‘environment’ as much as the holy mystery of creation.” (Larry L. Rasmussen)

The United Nations Development Programme has a special envoy for environment, conflict and
disaster. (It is Eric Solheim.) The UN recognizes the inter connections among these three. One of the
recognized (if not often by the US media) causes of conflicts in the Middle East, in African
countries, and even in the United States, is fallout from global warming. The abrupt drying up of
arid land leads to competition over declining water resources, places to live, food to eat,
jobs . . . .

One example: after two years of drought in a rural area  Daily Life in Domiz refugee camp, Kurdistan Region of Iraq
of Syria, 300,000 families abandoned their homes and
moved to Syrian cities. The United Nations named it
one of the “largest internal displacements in the Middle
East in recent years.” Unemployed youth from dislocated families later joined Sunni groups that began the Syrian
Civil War, which ultimately became ISIS.

Climate change was not the direct cause of the Syrian
War, but it definitely contributed. This is true also in places like Nigeria.

Even the Pentagon and Center for Naval Analyses in the US have made connections, showing
how climate change increases the risk and level of economic, political, and ecological conflicts.
Dislocated and impoverished children are targets for trafficking as well as death by starvation and dehydration. Connections are everywhere to those who can recognize them.

Ultimate Connection

Here’s another essential connection to remember: ““By virtue of Creation, and still more the
Incarnation, nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see.” (Teilhard de
Chardin) Let us pray to always see the sacred in all things. Let us pray when we are tempted to judge others and become impatient and frustrated. Let us pray that we, too, keep evolving!

If this rings true for you, or if you have experience with it that you can share, please respond in Comments.

Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking: Preventable Modern Slavery

 Everything is interconnected. Thomas Berry liked to remind people that images-1 creation is    a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects. Thus care of our beloved Earth includes care for every component of it. This season the Sisters of the Holy Child (I am one) are focusing our corporate justice efforts on human trafficking.

A 2012 report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on human trafficking says around 20.9 million victims are forced into labor globally. “Labor” includes any work that is not voluntary, where freedom is denied and, too often, conditions are deplorable. This includes situations that are agricultural, domestic, manufacturing, or sexual. Trafficking for organ transplants also occurs.

Human trafficking is not limited to poor and underdeveloped areas, but extends to all world regions, including cities throughout the United States. Given the rapid increase in this slavery, it is possible that trafficking in persons could exceed the trafficking of drugs and arms, making it the most lucrative criminal activity in the world.

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Many countries 
(and states in the U.S.) have made laws meant to stop trafficking and assist victims of it. Vatican experts will gather November 2013 to tackle the growing scourge of human trafficking. The bishop’s academy, with the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, will meet at the Vatican City’s Casina Pio IV to discuss a Vatican action plan to help combat what is often referred to as the modern slave trade.

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Buying Fair Trade coffee and chocolate is one sure way to                                     reduce the demand for trafficked laborers.

Children are often trafficked to be used/abused in the growth and production of both coffee and chocolate. Multiple reports show that children aged 12-16, but sometimes as young as 7-9, are tricked, smuggled, and sold to work as slave labor working with coffee beans and cocoa beans. Thus one way to both care for creation and reduce trafficking is to purchase sustainable and fair trade coffee and chocolate.                                                                                       

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Fair-trade certification means that workers are paid fair wages, are free from abusive, exploitative labor practices, work in healthy and safe conditions, and that land, water, and birds are protected because growers use environmentally sustainable methods. Hundreds of thousands of farmers and workers in about 70 countries have benefited from fair trade practices.

By buying fair-trade coffee and chocolate we increase the demand for products free of abusive child labor and slavery.

When buying coffee and chocolate (and other products), check for a sign that it is Fair Trade. Some products have a rectangular black and white seal; others (e.g., Equal Exchange) mark themselves as “Fairly Traded” or (e.g., Theo chocolate) “fair for life.” Recommended coffee companies include Equal Exchange and Thanksgiving Coffee Company. Look for fair trade labels on other brands (e.g., Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Allegro, Green Mountain, Ben & Jerry’s) that provide some, but not all, fair trade.

These brands might be more expensive than brands like Nestle (Hills Brothers, Nescafe, Taster’s Choice) and Philip Morris (Brim, General Foods, Gevalia, Maxim, Maxwell House, Sanka), but the cheaper price might mean that child labor — or poor sustainability practices — are used. (No, I am not accusing these brands.) In this case, we definitely don’t want to buy the cheapest product! Reducing child trafficking is surely priceless!

Those who already buy only Fair Trade products can be comforted to know that they are reducing the number of children who are trafficked. Naturally buying fair trade products will not eliminate all human trafficking, but it will take a bite (sorry, couldn’t resist) from this modern slavery.