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Some daunting facts

Last night I was (finally) reading last weekend’s NYT Sunday Magazine and this article about Paul Kingsnorth, an environmentalist who has abandoned hope for stopping climate change, spoke to me (click to read it). Here’s an excerpt from the piece that relates directly to our stated goal for 350 Dreamers, which I started in 2009 in response to 350.org’s call to take action to join together to stop global climate change:

… The first decade of the 21st century was shaping up to be the hottest in recorded history. In 2007, the Arctic sea ice shrank to a level not seen in centuries. That same year, the NASA climatologist James Hansen, who has been ringing the climate alarm since the 1980s, announced that in order to elude the most devastating consequences, we’d need to maintain carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at a level of 350 parts per million. But we’d already surpassed 380, and the figure was rising. (It has since reached 400 p.p.m.) Animal and plant species, meanwhile, were dying out at a spectacular rate. Scientists were beginning to warn that human activity — greenhouse-gas emissions, urbanization, the global spread of invasive species — was driving the planet toward a “mass extinction” event, something that has occurred only five times since life emerged, 3.5 billion years ago. (Daniel Smith, NYT Magazine, April 17, 2014)

I don’t agree with everything Kingsnorth says in the article, but in it he talks about about taking time to grieve, feel, and face what is happening in our world–a sentiment that strikes me as deeply true and necessary.

A dreamer’s response

The article also inspired me to put into words what I feel my role as a dreamer, and our role as members of 350 Dreamers, might be. I believe that as dreamers, we have a unique perspective that can support us and our communities as environmental changes continue to manifest at a breathtaking pace:

  • We dreamers know that first and foremost, we don’t run away from the monsters in our nightmares, we turn and face them instead.
  • We dreamers know that when we face a nightmare rather than shut it out, we become more than we ever dreamed we could be thanks to it.
  • As dreamers we know there is healing wisdom in even the most disturbing dream image.
  • As dreamers we learn to stay awake and aware in our dreams–and in daylight.
  • As dreamers we learn to bear witness to, and stay present to, all of it.
  • And as dreamers we know how to access guidance from our best selves–that part of each one of us that transcends the ordinary and connects us to the extraordinary.
  • Our dreams teach us that internal energetic shifts manifest loving change in the outside world. Activism can be quiet and invisible, and can take root one heart at a time.

Each of these skills and awarenesses can serve us as we face the nightmarish effects of global climate change, and help us to become agents of hope and compassion–in spite of the enormity of the problems we face.

ZZzzZZzzZZ

(Sylvia…thank you for sharing your dream with me today, which crystalizes these themes so clearly, and thank you for offering to share that dream with 350 Dreamers whenever you are able.)

 

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