I had another brush with fear yesterday when I read the Climate Primer released by the Melbourne Climate Action Centre called 4 Degrees Hotter. Ironically I had just finished teaching at Royal Roads University, the inaugural Sustainable Community Development Graduate Certificate, with a Challenge focused on a Climate Action Plan for a BC City. I had completed the literature review in the challenge that covered mostly the same ground (and background) as the 4 Degrees Hotter pamphlet. But the concise 15 page document has such riveting maps of temperature and precipitation projections that, the seriousness of the situation is laser focused.
My colleague, Dr. Graeme Taylor (author of “Evolution’s Edge“) sent me the link to 4 Degrees Hotter with this comment.
“Global political failure to reach agreement on greenhouse gas reduction measures in accord with the scientific imperatives will result in 4 degrees Celsius of global warming by 2100, if only the present levels of commitments by nations are realised. There is now talk of, and planning for, adaptation to a 4-degree warmer world. But is that realistic, or delusional? The consequences of 4 degrees are almost unimaginable, and appear to be poorly understood outside the scientific community.”
James Lovelock is frequently referenced in the pamphlet – with more than one comment pointing out that his research and articles have been largely ignored. But as I have written elsewhere, it is James Lovelock who has both put the fear of evolutionary heat into my soul and given me the key to releasing that fear.
On a CBC interview in 2009, Lovelock declared that humans are Gaia’s most reflective organ. Whatever the outcome of 4 Degrees Hotter, Lovelock maintains that Gaia will take care of herself — she has done so before and will do so again. Our job is to maintain, sustain and retrain Gaia’s reflective organ so that not only the human species can survive – but that we actually add value to life on this planet.
That is an immense task – but one that each one of us can undertake. How? By committing to learning about the importance of climate (it underlies all the fundamentals of life on this earth as we know it); learning how climate is impacted by influences outside our control (going on at the solar system, galactic and universal scales); learning how human actions contribute to climate change – such as creating city heat sinks through heat absorption of black tar roofs or burning fossil fuels for cars and air conditioners. And learning how we can turn our consciousness to creating solutions that can reduce, shield, mitigate and adapt to climate change effects.
Human reactions on this “climate file” can inspire individual initiatives that calm denial, fear, worry and anger – the internal states caused by natural reactions to fearful news. These may be prayer, contemplation, meditation and integrated life practices. They can also include individual and family actions like taking responsibility for GHG and Ecofootprints.
Human interactions on this “climate file” can inspire collective intelligences to share information, connect the dots across social silos, plan adaptive responses, gain political will, demand resource allocation, commit to massive collaboration and act on the precautionary principle related to the changes that need to take place, fast.
Gaia’s Reflective Organ needs to gain strength in its individual cells, all its muscles, all its valves, it flow of life blood and appreciation for our evolutionary inheritance and our evolutionary future. 4 Degrees Hotter on the outside needs to be matched by at least 4 Degrees – or better yet 5 Degrees – Hotter on the inside. That may be the secret to shifting the balance of change to a positive outcome – fanning the flames of our evolutionary capacity for Reflection, Creativity and Innovation. May it be so.