It feels like we’ve all been given a big time out since this pandemic began and sent to our rooms, asked to reflect and consider the world we create out the other side of this crisis.
While this pandemic is a very challenging time for everyone, it is much harder for those in the poorer parts of the world. Much harder.
Therefore, those of us who are the lucky ones have been given an opportunity to embrace a gift—the gift of time to deeply reflect. A time to reconsider how we live our lives and how we shape our collective future, so that all can live in dignity. We all have a chance, a beautiful opportunity, to create the world anew.
Will we, as a species, take this chance to reflect and change our ways? Or will we miss it and look back only when the next crisis hits, and the next, and the next?
With the climate crisis, the health crisis, the economic crisis and deepening global inequality rising all around us, it’s clear that if we do not change, we are ensuring a permanent state of crisis.
We are ensuring a global atmosphere of injustice, violence, economic slavery, famine, and extended financial suffering. Some of this is directly affecting us in the comfortable world too. It’s not somewhere out there for others to deal with.
I suppose we have to ask the question – do we want permanent crisis? I certainly don’t. We can no longer ignore the peril we are in. Scientists are predicting major ecosystems are starting to collapse – these predictions started with this paper back in 2008. It’s not happening in 2050 or even 2030—the signs are here already, and the bigger it is, the faster it will fall!
Yet we continue to chop down life-giving trees. We glory in excessive consumption and the acquisition of stuff, all while the land gets warmer and the oceans too. Emissions are trending in one direction—up! We continue to pass nature’s tipping points and don’t seem capable of grasping the impact it will have on all of our lives.
Why should we care about tipping points? Tipping points are lines that, once crossed, make it even harder to fix things or reduce impact. It’s pretty-much irreversible. If you read this, you’ll understand we are in deep here. Very deep.
We have been over-indulging – no gorging – on our beautiful planet without thought for too long.
But it’s not simply about us. It is about today’s children, and young people are frightened.
When my son was 11, he said to me, “Mum, if it gets too hot to be outside because of global warming, I am going to commit suicide.”
That was a devastating moment for me! Our children know, regardless of how we try to protect them from the worst truth. They see a future of unbearable hardship.
As adults, is that all we are prepared to offer them? An unbearable future? We cannot wait for our children to grow up and act. We don’t have time to kick it down the road yet again. The time to act was more than 30 years ago, so all we have is now. Right now.
This time out we are all enduring is a gift for us to claim a unique opportunity to rewrite our collective future.
A future where the sustainability and health of all life on planet earth are at the center of our values and plans.
Questions for reflection
With this gift of time, let’s ask ourselves some searching questions and find the answers, together.
- Are you happy with your life—family, home, community, and sense of achievement, contribution, and meaning? Even if you are, is it time for new directions?
- Are you questioning the frantic pace of life we left behind? Do we want it to be like that when it’s all over?
- Are you proud of the company you work for? Is it contributing positively towards all life on earth, or is shareholder value overwriting these needs? If so, what can you do to change it?
- Do you believe it is time we demand business to change dramatically, to take into consideration the earth’s finite resources and take responsibility for the waste left behind? What businesses—including your own, but also including those you patronize—can you begin to hold accountable?
- Are we individually ready to face up to our part in the devastation and suffering going on in so many places in the world? Do we continue to accept children suffering in mines to make our latest phones or computers? Women suffering in the garment industry for fast-fashion? Companies like Ikea benefitting from (and ignoring until recently) illegal logging practices to produce #FastFurniture to feed our insatiable appetites for new?
- Are you wasting less, buying less, saying no to #SingleUsePlastic, consuming less meat, shopping locally, and making plans to reduce your emissions?
- Is your country polluted and full of rubbish? Are you ready to demand action from the businesses who have profited from it for decades?
- Is it time to close the wildlife markets, while creating new livelihoods for those reliant on their income?
- What about overfishing and destruction of the seas? What’s the real impact? What’s the risk to us?
- Are you working to be part of the solution to end inequality, in all its forms?
- What parts of life from before should we get rid of? I want the false, ego-centric, hero-worshipping, sales-funnel-pushing nonsense gone. I want us to be real. To be meaningful. You?
- And to the parents, are we acting and doing enough to ensure our children have a beautiful future? Will they thank us or hate us?
We face big challenges. Will you join me, so we can face them together?
Will you raise your voice to demand change—on social media, in your communities, in your company, and on any platform or stage that you have access to?
Will you join a rising chorus demanding better for all life on planet earth?
Will we do the best we can to ensure our children do not face the worst possible outcome of the climate crisis?
Please join me. The time to act is now, but we need as many as possible on board. We have not hit the human tipping point to drive change yet. We need to pass that point.
Note: this blog is one of the 100+ Wisdoms for my forthcoming book – Uncommon Courage. I am hoping to get it published before Christmas, but I won’t rush it. Climate is only one of the topics covered in this book – it talks about a lot of wisdoms gained in life – but as I was editing this one today, I wanted to share it. Please join me and stay tuned for the book!!! It’s written from my heart and I’m excited to get it out into the world.
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