Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Did you know . . . ?

Did you know that, in November this year, when the temperature at  the North Pole would normally have been minus twenty degrees centigrade, the ice was at melting point? 

To learn more about this disturbing situation, click here.

Did you know that, in the view of the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London, 'humanity is taking a chainsaw to the tree of life'?

In a recent report they jointly predicted that by 2020 two-thirds of the world's wild animals will have gone.

To obtain full details of the Living Planet report,  click here.

Did you know that the human population, which is currently seven and a half billion, is forecast to grow to eleven billion by the end of the century?

Eleven billion people in need of oxygen, food and water . . . not to mention space.

Did you know that we are no longer in the stable Holocene epoch, which has lasted for twelve thousand years?

Through our own actions the Earth is so profoundly changed that the Holocene must give way to the unstable Antropocene.

But that's enough of the alarming news . . . let's turn to the positive variety.

Did you know that the answers to climate change won't be found by delegates at an international conference?
It's a responsibility that rests with us.

Did you know that the current crisis is far too important to be left to world leaders?
They need to be guided by us.

And if you're overwhelmed by this concept, by the scale of the problem, and are bereft of any ideas, then read the Living Planet report.
It's full of ideas . . . and full of hope.

Did you know that we still have three years left in which to save life on our planet?
Who knows . . .  we may have a future after all!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A time for hope . . . ?

This week I heard an uplifting talk by the American evolutionary biologist, Elisabet Sahtouris.
Along with other wise advice, she recommended that we should abandon our long-held preference for pyramids.  We must move on, she told us, to the wisdom and maturity of the circle.

Her comment set me pondering . . .

It's true, we live in a world of pyramids.  There are national pyramids, political pyramids, religious and corporate pyramids . . .  I'm sure you can think of many others.  Pyramids that compete with each other, pyramids that, on occasions, go to war against each other.

Within each pyramid there's the leader holding his own at the top of the pile, the supporters below keeping him in position, and those at the bottom maintaining the stability of the structure.  You'll note that I say 'his' and 'him, the pyramid is essentially a masculine concept.

The leader's position is always precarious.
Those just below him may be his supporters, they may also be wishing to usurp him.
His attention is focussed on retaining his position, which means that he's largely out of touch with the workers who form the base.
He's privileged, obeyed . . . but isolated.

For those on the way up the situation is different, they can have dreams .  . . they can aspire to reaching the top.  At the same time, they, too, rely on those below them to ensure their stability and safety.

But what about those at the bottom?  They have little to aspire to.  Looking upwards all they can see is the rear view of those above.
Yet it's on their strength, and their willingness to co-operate, that the stability and permanence of the pyramid depends.  Should they pull away, the whole edifice tumbles.

Isn't this what's happened both in the UK Referendum and the US Presidential Election?

The pyramids had grown top-heavy, those at the top were out of touch with the base, whilst those in the middle were doing well out of self-serving alliances, thereby distorting the structure and making it harder for those below.

Understandably exhausted by the weight and the lack of reward, those at the bottom finally rebelled.

As Elisabet Sahtouris pointed out, whilst civilisations are young and growing, the pyramid structure encourages expansion and enterprise.  However, with age it becomes top-heavy, unwieldy and out of touch with its components.

The circle, a feminine concept, is devoid of the competitive factor.  There's no high point to aspire to, no-one is carrying a burdensome weight.  Each person is individual, but equal . . . each voice is heard.  Those in the circle communicate whilst looking at each others' faces, not at the back of their legs.  Whilst pyramids are sharp-sided, circles blend.  Pressures and tensions are borne equally and contributions are shared on a communal basis.  With competition no longer rampant there is a calming down of the energy, a collaboration of effort, a lifting of pressure.

All of which makes sense.
But what if we added another simile to this story?

Nature, as we know, is constantly evolving.
What if we looked upon the pyramid as the caterpillar stage of man's evolution?  What if the move from pyramid to circle was also a move from all-consuming caterpillar to self-supportive larvae?

And what if, in the not too distant future, a resplendent butterfly was waiting to emerge . . . ?

It's impossible at a time of transition to see what lies ahead.
But, as the pyramids crumble and the circles start forming, could this, perhaps, be a time for hope . . . ?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A choice of words

I'm worried . . . let me explain why.

First of all, with your agreement I'd like to carry out a short experiment.
Below, I'm going to type a series of words.  Please read them aloud, one after the other, and feel the effect they have on your body as you do so.  Take it slowly, and see what happens.

Off we go:

'Anger' . . . 'Fear' . . .  'Hate' . . . 'Anxiety' . . . 'Deceit' . . . 'Aggression' . . . 'Duplicity'

How did that feel?  Did you find your body tensing, particularly around the chest?  Did your breathing become more shallow and rapid?
Did you become rigid in your seat?

Now, let's repeat that with a different set of words.

Once again:

'Compassion' . . . 'Generosity'. . . 'Decency' . . . 'Respect' . . . 'Trust' . . . 'Understanding' . . . 'Compromise'

Did you feel any difference?
Was there an expansion of the body?  Did your breathing deepen?  And was there a feeling of warmth, a renewal of energy?

I said that I was worried, and I am.
I'm worried because language is important, vitally important.  The words we choose to express our thoughts affect us physically and colour our world.
I'm sure we've all experienced how words that are negative and destructive not only enfeeble, they can even paralyse.

At the current time the all-pervasive language of fear and criticism is overwhelming.
And it isn't just found in the Press, and used by politicians . . . it's the common currency for all of us.  We're all contributing to the explosive atmosphere in the world.

Wouldn't you agree that, if we're to unite in recognition of our shared humanity, we need the healing energy of a compassionate vocabulary?

It could also be said that we'd benefit from putting words aside and absorbing the gifts of nature . . . the gifts of a spectacular autumn.

Now, there's a word to warm the heart . . . 'Gratitude'!