(A kind of update from my last blog “The Hopium of the Bamboo Toothbrush”)
The last two months has, for me, been characterised by huge amounts of research, a wide range of conversations, and deep inner reflection about the climate and ecological catastrophe we now face. And because I’ve been thinking about these things, I have experienced too the subsequent roller-coaster of deep emotions, including the most profound grief I have ever felt.
I have looked into the abyss.
The most recent part of that journey was a 4-day programme led Professor Jem Bendell at the University of Cumbria. The theme of the course was “Leadership in the Climate Crisis”. This was a profound and very connected four days, in the company of 25 loving and conscious human beings.
I was the only person who doesn’t work in the field professionally.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Please don’t hear anything in what follows that says “You should be doing this, or that”. I don’t even know myself what to do yet. But it has helped me to just express all this, and I had a ‘nudge’ that I should share it here. And I am genuinely curious…. about where you’re at with this whole thing.
Hardly anybody is a full-on climate change denier these days (except maybe a certain President). But the denial has become more subtle and nuanced.
Early June 2019 (my God, has it only been just over a month?) I stumbled upon some of the latest science about the climate crisis. I don’t know why – I was nudged or something. I’d known things were getting pretty bad, I’d watched Blue Planet II along with most other people. But I really had no idea. As is the case with the inter-web, one article, paper or talk neatly led me into the next.. and the next… and the next.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
Except what most people seem to mean by this is the exact opposite of the term.
It should be called “Mental Ill-Health Week”, judging by my social media feed – which is full of posts brimming with sad stories of suffering and struggle.
I think it’s brilliant that there’s less social stigma – and this means that people feel they can reach out, ask for help where they couldn’t before.
I also realise that the many people on social media this week who are offering strategies and techniques to ‘stay mentally healthy’, and/or to provide coping strategies to those who are suffering are sincere and well-meaning. (Before 2010 you would have found me doing the same)
These strategies range from going for a walk in nature during your lunch-break, to making sure you’re carving out enough time to meditate, or do yoga, or use the app on your phone to remain calm and mindful.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with any of these strategies. They’ll certainly ‘work’ some of the time for some people. It’s just an innocent misunderstanding about where our experience is coming from.