Facing the Seriousness of Climate Change

It’s been very hard for most of us in RC (and almost everyone else) to face how serious the situation is for the people of this planet given our rapidly warming climate, and to take action to address the problem.

It is true that for decades, to protect the profits of the fossil fuel industry, there has been a deliberate hiding of the reality that consuming fossil fuels causes climate change. There has also been a refusal by politicians to take up [pursue] the cause because it has not been popular with their funders.

But I think most of us in RC know that burning fossil fuels is causing climate change, that it is getting worse, and that more serious consequences will result if we don’t act quickly. Most of us have little confidence in the political processes of our countries. We know that the system cannot act much in the interest of humans if such would threaten the profits of large businesses. And we at least intellectually understand that big enough changes are likely to come only from radical organizing along with discharge and re-evaluation.

Yet it seems that only a few of us have prioritized addressing climate change.

I think one big reason is our common early material [distress]. I suspect that a lot of us have early distresses similar to mine and probably haven’t discharged much on them. I have been Co-Counseling for forty years and have had access to a lot of resource as an RC leader. In the last six months, after years of discharging on early unbearable feelings, I’ve hit what I think is the key early distress impacting my work on climate change.

I was born into a world in which hard things were happening all around me. That was upsetting to me—very upsetting—and no one seemed to be noticing what a mess things were or be doing anything to set things right. And when I tried to get their attention and tell them about the bad situation, no one listened to me. Eventually I stopped trying to engage with them about it. (Discouragement!) I tried everything I could to address the difficulties myself, but nothing worked. At some point, I stopped trying and focused instead on living my life without paying attention to the big mess.

When I look out at the world and see the effects of climate change, it can seem to me like the early mess I was born into, and I feel all the old feelings. And the lack of response by the majority of the population restimulates my distress recordings of working hard in isolation.

How many of us have early material similar to this? Could it be a big part of what is holding us back (and playing a role in other major issues as well)? We don’t want our response to climate change to be shaped by our distresses, but it often is, when much of our early material is occluded and the feelings are so believable.

I am very active on climate change, and I discharge a lot about it—hours every week—including on the connection between my feelings and my early life. I’m so glad for our work on discouragement. I recognize the feelings as old and work there, so I’m not stuck very often in the feelings that led me to give up when I was young.

I know there are other common distresses that people run into when they look at climate change, but working on these early hurts has been fruitful for me. If they seem familiar, you might try taking this article to a session.

Diane Shisk

Alternate International Reference Person for the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities

Seattle, Washington, USA

(Present Time 193, October 2018)


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00