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“Let’s Do It”

At a men’s leaders’ workshop in California (USA) I called a topic group on climate change.

For years I’ve seen that care-of-the-environment topic groups at workshops have a hard time competing with groups on other topics. Many of the other topics are also hard to face (early sexual memories anyone?), but RCers have gotten used to taking them on.* Things must be shifting, because eleven guys showed up for my topic group on climate change. I think that having more than a few people provided a better contradiction to our fears about climate change and helped the group go well.

I started with everyone answering the question, “Why do you want to discharge about climate change?” This opened up the fears people had and also gave me a sense of what they knew.

Next I gave a short talk summarizing some information on climate change as a physical phenomenon. I shared in about five minutes facts that I thought portrayed the nature and seriousness of the situation and requested that no one add anything more. (People are often pulled to share their favorite terrifying fact, when what we mostly need to do is discharge.) After my talk people looked scared, and we had a lively mini-session.

I next said that technological changes would not be enough to solve the climate crisis and that what we needed was a transformation of our economic system and an end to the major oppressions. I pointed out that all of us in the room, by virtue of living in wealthy countries (the United States and Canada), were in an oppressor role in relation to those living in poorer countries. While we have created most of the problem, they have been hurt “first and worst.” Then we had another mini-session.

Last I talked about hope. I quoted Tim Jackins: “As long as we're alive and thinking, there’s hope.” I mentioned some positive signs, like the climate marches being planned for the next day in New York City (USA) and many other cities around the world. I offered the direction “We will turn this around because . . . .” Then we had a final mini-session.

In the closing, several people remarked that good information presented with a light tone was helpful. That surprised me, because I didn’t know I had a good tone. My guess is that by discharging consistently on this (or any) issue over time, we accumulate attention that others can use, even though we still feel terrible feelings (as I do about climate change). Most people are still avoiding thinking about climate change. They are just waiting for someone with a little attention to say, “Let’s do it.”

Michael Levy
Santa Cruz, California, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion
list for leaders in the care of the environment.

* "Taking them on" means engaging with them. 

Last modified: 2020-07-17 20:50:52+00