It’s April 22, 2020, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Following an oil spill off the coast of California in 1969, which released 3 million gallons of oil into a sensitive coastline area killing thousands of seabirds and marine mammals, a group of activists and concerned citizens initiated that first Earth Day – a day which is now recognized by most nations across the globe.
It is true that for more than fifty years scientists have been sounding the alarm on the impacts of burning fossil fuels on our climate. In a 1967 paper in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the author stated:
“Carbon dioxide released from burning our fossil fuels raises the carbon dioxide content of the air by 0.23% per year. This by-product of our industrial era may eventually have some disturbing consequences, not only in corrosive action: geochemists have predicted that a general warming of our atmosphere, melting of polar caps and rise of the levels of the oceans may be the result.” (A.J. Haagen Smit, 1967. The Chemistry of Atmospheric Pollution. Studies in Conservation Journal, Volume 12.)
It is mind-boggling that 53 years later there is still a space for climate change denial. That the fossil fuel industry still runs our politics and our economy. But, 53 years later, that exists, and here we are….facing the sixth mass extinction and the possibility that much of our planet may become uninhabitable in the coming decades.
I do sometimes give in to the luxury of wallowing in disbelief and rage. I cry and I rant, and I surrender to the grief that is so easy for me to feel. I dedicated my first career in science to trying to educate people on facts of climate change and create momentum for positive change. I am dedicating my current career to supporting the deep healing that so many people need to be able to step in to being their very best selves, in the way that the earth and its inhabitants so badly need. I am very personally invested in creating a different outcome than climate collapse for our beautiful planet and its creatures.
Luckily, there are still so many reasons to not get lost in the sea of despair!
What this pandemic is showing us is that we do actually care about each other. We do actually care whether or not the planet dies or thrives. The news of animal populations rebounding, emissions dropping, and air pollution decreasing, is being celebrated. I am seeing many signs of awe and relief in people everywhere that somehow we have discovered that we can change, and that maybe we actually want to.
Finland is set to go carbon neutral by 2035. In the wonderful week-long Earth Day conference happening this week (wedonthavetime.org) I learned about the Danish energy company Orsted, and how they transformed from being one of the leading players in managing the oil and gas reserves in the North Sea to being ENTIRELY focused on green energy in just 10 years. WOW. The capacity is there. We could do it. We really could.
The manifestation power of the New Moon today offers us the opportunity to really set some clear intentions on what we want to create. As you sit in this moment in history – “The Great Pause” – how will you restart? What do you really want in your life? What do you really want for the world, for the natural world, for the more-than-human beings that we share this planet with? What do you want for your children, for the children? SEE it, FEEL it, SET your compass in that direction, and then just start putting one foot in front of the other.
The only sure way to fail is to not try at all. There is a chance of success. But WE MUST actively create something different. RIGHT NOW. Why not start with this moon. TODAY!
For more on science and spirit, and the opportunity in this crisis, check out my latest podcast with the inspirational Ayana Young.