Hope and Climate Despair

Merry Beltane!

Beltane is a Celtic festival that honors the midpoint between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. At this time, the energy of life, light, fertility, and mirth are growing to their summer peak. You don’t have to be of Celtic heritage (I’m not!) to mark this time of abundance and joy.

Joy….hmmm, not something I’ve been feeling a lot of lately, at least not in terms of the world beyond my doorstep. I’ve been digging deep into the crisis of climate change. This has left me feeling utterly devastated and afraid for my daughter’s future and the future of the entire planet. I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to practice earth-centered spirituality in a time of overwhelming environmental decline.

One thing I know for sure is that the work of resisting climate collapse (and that work can be defined in a million ways) must be central to my spiritual work. Energy is all, and if more and more of us direct our energy to earth healing, we can contribute to the solutions needed at this late, dire hour.

One thing I feel for sure is the endless generosity of the earth, even in the midst of her suffering. Here we are at the height of spring, the wheel turning toward summer, and we see so much hope in the blossoming trees, waking bees (which are endangered), and longer light. I wonder how the earth can be so hopeful and giving when we are taking so much from her. But this is the lesson of this path: the earth has much to teach us if we are willing to learn.

The question is can we learn fast enough to save our earth home? The seemingly sudden protest movements, such as The Climate Mobilization, Extinction Rebellion, Youth Climate Strike, and the work of young people like Greta Thunberg give me hope.

In these weeks of life and abundance, let’s take some time to give back to the earth with gratitude and deep healing. She – and we – need it.

If you are interested in learning more about climate change, here are some suggestions:

David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

Dahr Jamail, The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption

BBC documentary series, Our Planet (on Netflix)

None of this is for the faint of heart. But neither is the situation that we find ourselves in. There is still time to avoid the worst, but we must wake up to this reality.

Photo by The Climate Reality Project