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Racism and the Collapsing Society, Barbara Love and Tim Jackins, June 7, 2020

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Topic 27: Care of the Environment

We live on a beautiful planet populated by millions of species of life-forms, the result of billions of years of evolution. Every species is unique and important to all life on Earth and interrelated with the others in ways we are only beginning to understand.

We human beings emerged some two hundred thousand years ago and for most of that time struggled to survive and increase our numbers. But with our flexible intelligence and the physical capacity to make and use tools, we have amassed a great deal of knowledge and learned to modify our environment to better meet our needs. Our population grows faster and faster.

Human vulnerability to distress recordings has resulted in societies in which greed and oppression often dominate over inherent human qualities like cooperation and caring. Oppressive societies are shortsighted and exploitative.

Until recently, our awareness of the damage inflicted by human societies consisted largely of our sometimes-limited awareness of the mistreatment of groups of human beings—racism, classism, sexism, and other oppressions, which have led to war and other violence and to the vast majority of humans living without adequate resources while a small minority lives in abundance.

In recent decades, we have become increasingly aware that our impact on the entire planet (due to our irrational, shortsighted, wasteful, and damaging use of resources) has surpassed what the physical environment is able to recover from. Our societies are committed to continuing destructive practices that profit a few, while endangering all life on Earth. In particular, climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities poses a serious threat to all life. 

Environmental degradation and climate change endanger everyone, but because of racism, genocide, and class oppression, communities targeted by these oppressions and vulnerable populations (such as the elderly, disabled, and very young) are more heavily impacted by the pollution and effects of global warming. Addressing the climate crisis requires acting against all oppressions to find solutions.

Each of us has a unique connection to the environment. Putting attention on what in the environment (a place, a form of life, an experience) has been important and meaningful to us is a good way to start discharging about the environment and climate change. The Spectrum of Techniques (in the Fundamentals Manual) can help us avoid becoming “sunk” in despair about the present situation. Specifically, we can begin with pleasant memories connected to the environment and only move to heavier memories and thoughts as we are able to discharge.

While climate change poses significant problems and challenges, any fear or despair we feel about the current situation has its roots in our early distresses. Discharging on the early experiences that left us fearful, despairing, or discouraged will give us the attention we need to think about and act on the present situation. Discharging feelings of separation from others, and moving toward more closeness in our lives, can give us a stronger base from which to discharge our fears and discouragement.

QUOTE:  THE NATURAL ATTITUDE OF HUMANS TOWARD THE LAND, THE SEA, AND THE AIR, AND TOWARD ALL OTHER LIVING THINGS, IS ONE OF RESPECT, LOVE, AND A DEEP CONCERN FOR THE EXISTENCE AND WELFARE OF EACH PART OF THE WEB OF LIFE INTO WHICH WE ARE BORN. IT IS A DEEP HURT TO HAVE ONE’S INBORN SENSE OF HIS OR HER RELATIONSHIP WITH NATURE DENIED OR DISTORTED BY THE CULTURE HE OR SHE IS BORN INTO.   HARVEY JACKINS

Reading for the student: “Toward a New Goal on the Care of the Environmentt,” Tim Jackins, Present Time No. 170, page 3; the pamphlet Sustaining All Life.

Additional readings for the teacher: Sustaining All Life No. 2 (journal); “Fully Engaging with the Climate Crisis,” Diane Shisk, Present Time No. 195, page 4.


Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00