“We as humans have to start coming to terms with & understanding on a personal level the catastrophic amount of loss that we’re facing, & to ask, how am I going to comport myself during this era?” –Dahr Jamail, author, The End of Ice: Bearing Witness & Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Destruction
The Science: GHG Emissions & Climate Impacts
IPCC Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5º C
Fourth National Climate Assessment
-13 US Federal Agencies
Earlier report from globalchange.gov: 2017 Climate Science Report
Historic monthly mean CO2 at Mauna Loa:
Science on track (Source: NOAA). Current PPMV:
The science has been telling us (for decades) that we must transition off of fossil fuels.
A successful transition will affect different countries in very different ways.
Impact of the energy transition on GDP
Source: IRENA.org (International Renewable Energy Agency)
IRENA’s objective: supporting countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future.
America is poised to fare well with a successful transition. Russia & Middle East, not so much.
Countries/interests interfering with climate action = same actors destabilizing US democracy in a concerted effort to secure their own wealth & power. This has been going on a lot longer than most of us have realized…our comfort & privilege made this covert information war easy to ignore.
As the truth becomes harder to conceal, we’re being collectively gaslit and traumatized by shocking human rights violations while govt quietly dismantles environmental protections and installs #FF interests in key leadership positions.
In addition, some of us are gaslighting & traumatizing each other. What’s that about?
The Stages of Adult Development per Robert Kegan
Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development
Stage 2: “other people are meaningless unless they directly affect one’s immediate interest”
-“Most (but not all) Westerners make the transition from stage 2 to stage 3 during adolescence.
-While many in the developed world are working to level up from stage 3 to stage 4 to address climate change, we’ve been largely stuck by comparison.
-Arrested emotional development is a feature of The American Dream. Perpetually adolescent brain. State sanctioned narcissism.
–Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as defined by the DSM-V. Estimated 4% of population full-blown NPD.
-Narcissism (in the ‘on the spectrum’ sense) much higher. AND, we don’t have a common definition, so we can’t communicate effectively about it with each other.
-Current president = unique opportunity to share experiences and use common language around pathological narcissism.
Stage 1: – “A pre-conventional level of intellectual & moral development”
Obedience & punishment orientation: might makes right.
“For example, an action is perceived as morally wrong because the perpetrator is punished; the worse the punishment for the act is, the more “bad” the act is perceived to be.”
“accept and believe the rules of authority figures, such as parents and teachers, and
“they judge an action based on its consequences.”
What does this mean for us?
1- We can not force or shame others into leveling up. In fact, it’s a waste of time to try. Ignore those who resist…put energy into moving forward ourselves and with those who are ready.
2- Using fossil fuels and buying products that promote their industrial use = funding & empowering narcissistic psychopaths. Reclaim personal power via a widespread & climate-focused #GrabYourWallet effort. Also: self care & compassion.
2. Responding to climate change involves leveling up emotionally: this is intensely personal. We can use our trauma to level up and commit ourselves to providing the healthiest-possible future for our kiddos.
“I think the main reason we have increased rates of mental illness in young people is that climate change is real, dangerous, & usually minimized or ignored by adults. Imagine being a kid & a monster lurches toward you while the so called grown ups play keep up with the kardashians.” – Dan Rubin, PsyD
3- Use our grief – and the trauma being perpetrated on us by an unethical few – to rewrite our life scripts: the dreams are different than the ones we had expected. We will continue to grieve these losses and use the process to build new ones based on awakening in a new reality. Build new vision of What Good Looks Like within a climate-informed framework.
4- Unite behind the science to demand systemic solutions that meet the scope of the problem. This is bigger than politics.
5- Unite behind the science to take personal action to prepare for the most stable future possible: shift proactively. Act based on science, get ready for change, build community, and be ready to help others adapt as they’re ready. The faster you act, the faster others will follow. Reducing your environmental footprint is a powerful and socially-spreadable act of resistance. Goal: Shift your target to hitting a 5-Ton Life in 2020.
6- Shift social culture: talk openly about the shifts you’re making to make them normal conversations: people like us who care about things like a habitable planet for ourselves, our kids, and other humans make choices like these… no shame, no blame, no coercion, no guilt. Meet people where they’re at.
To make change attractive, make it fun, include an element of surprise/novelty, and involve a crowd (if that doesn’t say plant-based pot-luck, what does?).
Dan Rubin (a mental health professional on the West Coast) has written a fantastic guide that anyone thinking about evangelizing climate to a doubter or delayer should read first: How to have a useful conversation about Climate Change
7- Use what you’re learning to advocate for systems change… local, grassroots action may be more effective than federally-focused efforts: federal governments will not be able to move quickly enough to keep up with the pace of change.
8- Build resilient community. Find the others. Resolve to pull on the same end of the rope for a common cause (see also: unite behind the science). Nurture your healthy relationships. Consider letting the toxic ones go with kindness and grace. Embody gratitude & generosity: social currency is more important than ever in a time of social/political/environmental/financial upheaval.
9- Build your most resilient self. Embrace trauma as means to enlightenment. Grieve, using each wave & stage to level up for Climate: Choose to Move Past Denial into Action.
Allow anger to hone your resolve & reject the damage that’s being perpetrated on us by a morally and ethically depraved few. Focus on moving forward.
Learn to live with and become fluent in the machinations of Ambiguous Loss. Heal. Find meaning in being helpful.
10- Let’s RALLY.
Find joy in the struggle: we haven’t lost yet, and we’re poised to engage in an epic battle. How do we write ourselves into the story together?
Embrace HopePunk and possibility! While the odds don’t look good, we’ve got the tenacity & grit to achieve a come-from-behind victory.