“The loss of a capability, a loved one or a way of life, or the receipt of a terminal diagnosis have all been reported, or personally experienced, as a trigger for a new way of perceiving self and world, with hopelessness and despair being a necessary step in the process.”
Human civilization is a fire. It’s been burning since we’ve been human. And the human story is not a straight line, but a circle, a great ring of fire.
On a scale not seen before, people are having an encounter with climate change not as a problem that can be solved or managed, made to go away, or reconciled with some existing arc of progress, but as a dark knowledge that calls our path into question, that starts to burn away the stories we were told and the trajectories our lives were meant to follow, the entitlements we were brought up to believe we had, our assumptions about the shape of history, the kind of world we were born into and our place within it.
1. Civilization is not the World.
2. Civilization is just a story.
3. Someday humans will die.
4. The World is more important than humans.
5. The problem is self-correcting.
6. We are returning to right relationship with the World.
Compost communities appeared in ruined and broken places, places which had been damaged by industry and capitalism over the previous two centuries. The Children of Compost loved the earth and the beings who inhabited it, both human beings and other-than-human beings. They wanted to heal these wounded places.
An amazing article by lawyer, grief therapist, ritualist, and community builder, Holly Truhlar, about the complicity of mainstream psychology in the systems which are destroying our society and our planet.
We’re doomed. But the reasons why have less to do with parts-per-million or degrees centigrade than they do with human psychology and culture:
“Give me your moldy, your stale, your sprouting potatoes. Bring me that wilted, pitiful bag of salad you really meant to eat this time. Bring me your bananas too brown and mushy even to make bread with. Bring me your grass clippings and fallen leaves. Give me the wretched refuse of your teeming refrigerator, yearning to rot free. Give me these, and we will make life itself.”
This is where I am right now. In my despair, I am starting to discover my love for the place where I live and the people—human and other-than-human—who live there. And I’m trying to find small but meaningful ways to lessen suffering, to enjoy beauty, and, yes, to mourn.