… is behaving with net-zero ASAP as your highest value
… is something that no one can fully succeed at, so therefore we must be reticent about criticizing others or ourselves for our failures
… involves changes to behavior – lifestyle, attitudes, consumption choices, diet, mobility, social and political attitudes – … but…
… is foremost the dedicated adoption of a set of values: the values of a believer (determined, fervent, committed)
It is strong and clear values that provide personal meaning, that generates effective action.
Resignation and fear are our enemies, for they render our values impotent.
A religious believer feels in their heart that what they believe is not only true, but the deepest, most important truth.
No religion of old, nor contemporary worldview today, embodies an adequate response to human-induced climate change, which would span personal, community, national, and global perspectives in a way that neither our evolution as a species nor religious understanding can fully accommodate.
As when a war demands that one put one’s national identity and loyalty first, or the values springing from a religious conviction cannot bear to be violated, or at times one can only put self-interest first, so climate integrity in our time…
… demands to be put in the foreground of our life-guiding values, even modifying the strength of our prior cherished ideas.
You can’t just adopt a new set of values through sheer intention or will. For values to take hold, you need new experiences and insight that changes your perspective.
To adopt the values of climate integrity as best we can, so as to let them work to change our behavior, we need a substitute for the relevant experience and insight we admit we don’t have.
Values are mostly derived from beliefs, which are instilled by authorities (parents, religious and cultural traditions) and personal experience.
To access the values of climate integrity, we proceed as if we believe certain things. It is most akin to having a set of religious beliefs. We don’t have to actually believe these particular things – few would, we may presume, and others may find any attempt to “believe” them to generate cognitive dissonance, as they conflict with their own dear convictions, whether these be religious, scientific, or secular-humanist.
…is acting as if (we believe)…
… the Earth is our God or sovereign, whom we seek to serve for our own salvation or safety
… our God/sovereign is not omnipotent in this sense: He/She/They long ago released control of what happens here… We have that control
… serving our Earth means doing everything we can to keep our sovereign’s fever down, by reducing greenhouse gas use by ourselves, by our communities and nation, and by all of our collective humanity, now, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives.
… it is important to welcome and initiate conversations about what is happening and what to do, without shutting down, or blaming, or either inducing or accepting debilitating guilt in ourselves
… we need to take tangible carbon emissions-reducing actions in our lives, large and small, and ongoing, some of which entail significant sacrifices to our comfort, convenience, and satisfaction
… we do not believe technological fixes alone will solve this
… we need to actively join with others to push hard for immediate and ongoing systemic change for climate stabilization (at the levels of government, investment, energy use, military, transport, employment, economy, climate mitigation, etc.)
We realize that just saying these last phrases produces a deadening, hope-destroying effect by invoking forces that are way out of our control and seem to be governed by narrow short-term self-interest, greed, willful blindness, carelessness, rivalry, envy, illusions, stupidity, laziness, and even malevolence.
… is focused on conversations
… because they happen at a level we can have some control over, holding ourselves accountable not to succumb to hopelessness, resignation, fear, or impotent blame; nor to disengage into our own private thoughts
… and because more people engaged in more such interactions can lead to change, the basis for whatever hope we can muster to sustain our fervent values and “beliefs”
… leads us to wonder, How can these conversations go?
… if we acknowledge (at least to ourselves) that we are committed to act with the Earth as our soul and pre-eminent sovereign, above God, nation, tribe, and family (that is, to choose to act as if we believe that, even if in our hearts we don’t)
… and if, in service to our sovereign, we will allow neither resignation nor blame to rule.