This document was sent a few days ago by a mentor, a sister and a friend ~ Joanna Macy. ~~~Please Read and Share widely ! ~~~
Declare Climate Emergency Now They are as children, playing with their toys in a house on fire. The Buddha
An invitation to Dharma friends and all who love our beautiful planet and her myriad beings. Let us do what we can.
Breaking the Trance, Finding Refuge Together
This document aims to encourage collective engagement in a challenge so great, a revolution so profound, that everything has to be re-examined, overturned, and reconfigured. It has also arisen from within the Buddhist core ethos and practice of “Avoid evil, cultivate the good, and purify the heart.” This is a call to action founded in the understanding that the mind precedes all and that action needs to be informed by inner spiritual work for optimum sustainability and success. The core intention of this document is to inspire us to come together to undergo, through deep reflection and sacred ceremony, the recognition that we have moved into a new world, a new calamitous reality that needs all of our conscious, collective engagement.
This is an invitation into a conversation that clearly acknowledges our world has undergone a state shift in the Earth’s biosphere due to exponential warming that is producing regular, devastating, extreme, weather events. The Earth is also undergoing rapid environmental dismemberment due to human activity. We are in the sixth mass extinction and at the cusp of runaway climate feedback loops that are heralding the collapse of human civilization. In response to the urgency of our time, this document lays out, in brief, a pathway for one practical and vital action. This is to Declare Climate Emergency. This action starts with a conversation within our close relationships and near community, moving out to be requested from institutions, business, and demanded from government. Undertaking this process overcomes denial and procrastination while empowering us to be as creative and radical as we possibly can. Our old way of high carbon use, of expendable resources, heightened individualism at the expense of the whole, and assuming life will go on as we’ve known it, needs to be recalibrated. For this we need each other, we need to be truthful, we need to undergo deeper levels of renunciation while drawing from the living Dharma, the living spirit of the Earth, and the compassion, truth telling, and power of Sangha, the community.
While the truth that we are headed toward extinction is a terrible shock, it has the potential to quicken our collective awakening powering a profound transformation of our world. This transformation begins within. We need to know ourselves, not only as individuals, but as co-creators within a deeply ensouled web of life where all is conscious. Once we align with the reality and depth intelligence of consciousness itself, we connect with a spiritual and moral power that gifts intuitive wisdom, guidance, and courage. It is this courage that will enables us to stand together to protect mother nature, grandmother earth, and all life. Making the transition into our new reality, spiritually, psychologically, and in embodied, practical acts, frees us to engage this greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. The enormity of this task, for sanity, health, and well-being, has to be grounded in a careful, listening and mindful embodied presence while supported by daily practices that care for body, heart, and mind and our near relationships.
So welcome to journeying through these steps, we’ll be with you along the way.
Alignment with the Sacred
Declaring Climate Emergency: Why & Our Demands
Resources & How to Stay in Touch.
1. Alignment with the Sacred Use Sacred Ceremony As each piece of news about climate breakdown lands, it generates overwhelming shock, grief, and outrage. Yet, while unbearable, this shock is waking us up. We can honor our awakening process by creating an intentional sacred space and ceremonial process through which we cross the threshold from our old world, and old ways of operating, into conscious engagement with our new reality. Witnessing each other, we can make a firm commitment to align our personal lives, make sacrifices, and together, support each other as we gather the courage to engage. Every one of us is needed, every offering is important. There are many ways we can contribute, each according to their situation. Aligned with spiritual and moral power, resourcing ourselves, with determination and focus, we commit to work for a sustainable world. Standing Rock on Every Street Corner Standing Rock on Every Street Corner: Seven Lakota-Sioux Guidelines for Being in a Living Prayer & the Art of Collective Resistance. We call on the spirit of Standing Rock. The spirit of all ancestors who strived for truth, equity, and freedom, and who embody compassion and wisdom. We call on all protector spirits of the earth, lands, oceans, rivers, forests, plants, and the elements. We call on all the forces of goodness throughout all time and all directions to be present with us now and to add their power, their guidance, and to bring their protection. We recognize that all beings, even those who through greed, hatred, and delusion destroy and divide, share the same core consciousness. We hold all with compassion. We pray for all. We work for the children and grandchildren of all, regardless. We recognize that all beings have received the gift of life through the power of Mother Nature, Grandmother Earth and all have the right to be here. We humbly step down from our ego fixation to align with the spirit of truth, wisdom, and compassion. We ask for guidance at this utmost dangerous time. May our collective awakening quicken exponentially. We join together with purpose focused on the reclamation of the sacred web of life. We make a solemn vow to work to save a sustainable world for the future. Sacred Activism: Informing Activism with Inner Work Enduring and successful change movements such as Civil Rights in the US, Satyagraha in India, and Solidarity in Poland, were informed by non-violence, moral authority, and spiritual practice. Essentially, our planetary emergency is a spiritual crisis. We are stuck in a narrative and self-perpetuating reality founded in survival of the ego and its separative consciousness. However, our evolutionary cusp echoes into Indigenous knowledge that understands we live within a web of life and an ensouled world where self and other are in dynamic, consequential relationship.
In essence, we are awakening into the profound intimacy of all things, where we directly know that all beings, nature, the earth, and the cosmos are a part of ourselves. Spiritual practice is the process of embodying the reality of our deep interconnectedness. To enter and live these truths, and to sustain ourselves, we need meditative, devotional and prayerful practices and collective ways of entering mindful spaces of ‘being’, ‘presence’, and listening. Sacred Activism, a term coined by Andrew Harvey marries activism informed by depth compassion and wisdom. We Should Not Do This Alone We are in the midst of a Planetary Emergency. This is a watershed moment for humanity, where everything depends on how we respond. As we wake to our new reality, it’s incredibly impactful. We feel profound grief, fear, and outrage; a daily kaleidoscope of reactions and emotions. But we are not alone. Let us turn this pain to strength, clarity and focus so we can face this immense challenge together. The systemic conditioning, underwriting our crisis, Patriarchy, Colonial Imperialism and Capitalism, leads us to believe we must struggle to survive as individuals, that we rise up or fall as individuals, and that it is our fault if we can’t “make it.” The impact of Disaster Capitalism (Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine) is the perpetuation of the slave-plantation economy upon which capitalism was built, manufacturing divisions through race, class, ethnicity, and nationality for its own exploitative ends. However, with climate breakdown, we determine to shake off the spell of individualism and fabricated division. Instead, we work together to create new ways of being on this Earth that are collaborative, mutually supportive, empathetic, and authentic. Together, we can take courage and move through the fear of speaking out, of breaking rank, and of being disparaged. We speak up and out. We encourage ourselves and others to be mindful of our personal and communal carbon use. Together we commit to becoming more conscious. Together we are powerful . Find friends, family members, communities, who are allies.
Take time together to speak about what we see, what we feel, what we know.
Acknowledge the urgency and enormity of what we face.
Bear witness to the loss of species, eco-systems, peoples, whole countries.
Create space to share our grief, our fears, our outrage, our hopes, our plans.
Create space to celebrate life together, to sing and dance and share food, to inhabit the best of our human-being-ness in connection and community, to share successes and good news and resources which uplift and restore us.
Orient Around a Statement of Purpose, e.g., this one inspired by G. Monbiot. The world has been thrown into climate chaos, caused by fossil fuel companies, the billionaires who profit from them and the politicians they have bought. It is time to confront these oligarchs through massive mobilization, collective moral authority, acts of non-violent civil disobedience and a movement so big and politically dangerous that governments are forced to shut down the fossil fuel economy and restore the benign conditions in which humans and other species can thrive. In Brief: We will hold unfettered corporate and political power accountable. We join forces to ensure that the sustainable, equitable, world we long for is secured. The Power of Support Groups Information doesn’t necessarily translate into behavioral change. We know what we need to do, but can’t always do it. However, working together is very effective. As we get active and engaged, creating support groups is a first step:
Join with others to create a plan of action, exploring and going over the details, how to do it, who to approach, materials needed, who is doing what.
Ground your action in mindfulness and group process, where everyone is heard, feelings and experiences are honored, and feedback is welcome.
While respectful listening is appropriate to those with experience in certain fields, when wisdom and compassion is offered, to those organizing, taking risks, doing more work, avoid power hierarchies and rigidity.
Engagement on the ground requires fluidity, communication, openness and agility. Non-violence inwardly and outwardly is a vital spiritual practice.
When an action finishes, take time to come back together, process, and support each other. Be sure to follow up with each other and on the outcome of your action.
2. Declaring Climate Emergency: Why & Our Demands As we face climate breakdown, urgency intensifies daily. We have no time to lose and need governments, city and town councils, state legislatures, religious and educational institutions, business, civil society, leaders, families, and each one of us to respond assertively and swiftly to reverse rapid environmental breakdown. It is time to break the spell of procrastination, denial and bargaining, and to break silence and dispel all ambiguity, by immediately declaring a Climate Emergency followed by strategies, investment, and radical changes that produce real outcomes. We must mount a decisive response to our planetary emergency. Only a united national and global demand has the power to focus intention and overcome distraction, overwhelm, helplessness, and denial. The moral authority of collective action has the potential to shape political policy and direct economic resources to avoid further collapse of ecosystems and human civilization. We can each be a part of that. But only if we act now. The reality of our dire situation is made clear by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report published October 2018 by 91 scientists from 40 countries who received over 6000 references and 42,000 expert and peer reviewed publications. The report states: “Unprecedented changes are required if we are to avoid climate breakdown.” To avoid devastation and likely extinction, it is imperative we stay under the 1.5 °Celsius target established by the Paris Accord. However, according to a 2017 Nature Climate Change paper from the University of Washington, we have only a 1% chance of doing this and only 5% chance temperatures will be less than 2 °Celsius . This alarming reality, and what it means for us, needs to be named and discussed on news outlets daily. In order to be motivated enough to increase political pressure, citizens need to be cognizant of our precipitous situation. We are already witnessing major tipping points: massive global ice loss, extreme ocean warming, failure of reef systems and crops, floods, droughts, wildfires, the destruction of wild habitat, and the rapid erosion of wildlife, ocean, insect and plant life. If we continue burning fossil fuels and promoting animal industrial agribusiness, by 2030 a cascade of severe tipping points will begin to radically shift the world as we know it, meaning we could have an unrecognizable world as early as 2040. If we do not act to prevent this outcome, we will be condemning our children, our grandchildren, the generations to come, marginalized and under-resourced communities, low lying cities and lands, islands, most living species, and — sooner rather than later — all life on earth, to famine, chaos, catastrophic migrations, violence, and extinction. Facing up to our possible extinction is an immense shock. Yet, while the pull of despair and resignation is understandable, allowing a slide into chaos and unimaginable suffering is unthinkable. Instead, together, we have the power not only to avert this tragedy, but to build the sustainable, equitable, and more beautiful world of our highest dreams. We start by reducing carbon use in our lives, reaching out to others, and making a commitment to join together to demand governments and institutions Declare Climate Emergency. Telling the Truth is Essential for Change We need governments and media to tell the truth. They must state we are in a climate emergency, and that it is time to act. We must normalize a sense of urgency by sharing facts and by exploring radically new ways of living — through non-violent civil disobedience, by being on the streets, by speaking out, and by being part of a fast-growing international movement to drive government, industry, and business to act. We need the solutions — which are already there — to be implemented immediately. This is the time for boldness, for not holding back. While we are in a struggle against our own inertia and self-interest — the time and energy-consuming challenges of sustaining a livelihood, of supporting a family, of meeting responsibilities and attending to duties — the greatest threat is from those with immense power who in their utter ruthlessness welcome climate devastation as a means to seize as many assets as they can, plundering whatever is left. They know what is coming, and instead of reversing mass ecocide, they disseminate denial, distort facts, lie and obfuscate. Oil empires like ExxonMobil and entities like Koch Industries have known for decades that fossil fuels would lead to the terror of severe weather events that are now unleashed. Instead of public warnings and consequential acts to defend against climate breakdown, they willfully hide the facts, obstruct green energy and fund extreme climate-denying campaigns while seeking to control and manipulate democratic processes and media messaging through the vast reach of their wealth. This profound betrayal of life itself has to be defined as a crime against humanity. We would be naïve to underestimate the power of those who are in the throes of destroying the collective future of all life on this planet for their own benefit. This is why we must be bold and transform outrage into a united fight for our collective lives. In spite of the malevolent and malicious powers acting against the welfare of the whole, the power of the people, standing up together, has always been greater. Extinction Rebellion’s Central Climate Demands Groups like Youth Climate Strike, Sunrise Movement, Idle No More, Indigenous Climate Action, Climate Justice Alliance, represent a variety of approaches that share a common focus. Similarly, these demands, from Extinction Rebellion (XR) are an excellent focus. 1. Governments must tell the truth about the climate and the wider ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside media to communicate with citizens. Governments must tell the truth about how deadly our situation is, they must reverse all policies that do not align with that position and must work alongside the media to communicate the urgency for change including what individuals, communities and businesses need to do 2. Governments must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025* and to reduce consumption levels. Good intentions and guidelines won’t save the ice caps. Governments must enact legally binding policies to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and take further action to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases. They must cooperate internationally so that the global economy runs on no more than half a planet’s worth of resources per year. 3. National Citizens’ Assemblies to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose. By necessity these demands require initiatives and mobilization of similar size and scope to those enacted in times of war. We do not however, trust our Government to make the bold, swift and long-term changes necessary to achieve this and we do not intend to hand further power to our politicians. Instead, we demand a Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as we rise from the wreckage, creating a democracy fit for purpose. 4.** We demand a just transition that prioritizes the most vulnerable people and indigenous sovereignty, establishes reparations and remediation led by and for Black people, Indigenous people, other people of color and poor communities for years of environmental injustice, establishes legal rights for ecosystems to thrive and regenerate in perpetuity, and repairs the effects of ongoing ecocide to prevent extinction of human and all species, in order to maintain a livable, just planet for all. * The bind we are in is we need to radically reduce carbon emissions, which if done at high speed could crash the economy resulting in massive human casualties (unless there is a World War II style mobilization and immediate and vast investment in renewables). However, not reducing green-house gas emissions at warp speed will also result in massive casualties, and likely extinction. Whatever happens will be immensely challenging for us all. There is no easy way forward. This is not a document laying out detailed solutions, but rather an urgent call to action, with the understanding that as governments, civil society, business and each of us proactively participate, we will be part of the solution, and will activate an unstoppable momentum.
Demand 3: The Sortition Foundation. What Needs to Happen to Secure the Future In Accordance with the IPCC Report summary,each country must reduce emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which means, according to Scientific American, carbon emissions need to fall by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. The rate at which nations would need to reduce their emissions each year to reach those targets becomes steeper, and less attainable, every year emissions continue to rise. This means, according to a UN separate report on the “emissions gap”, that if actions to reduce are not strengthened by 2030, the 1.5C target will slip out of reach. This suggests the Paris commitments need to be tripled to reach a 2 C target and increase five-fold to reach a 1.5 C target. It’s important to understand that at 2 C the world radically changes. Some points below are informed by XR.
Transform energy systems, invest in renewables and phase out fossil fuels.*
Increase insulation in buildings. Switch to green construction materials.
Transform agricultural systems reducing meat and dairy & erosion of topsoil. Invest in local plant-based agriculture, education, & food. End factory farms.**
Radically increase tree cover & hemp-based products to absorb C02, methane.
Invest in public transport, high speed rail, cut flights through a frequent flyer levy.
Countries, particularly those whose wealth is founded in colonial extraction, invest in other countries to develop clean technology.
Phase in carbon taxes for corporations & impactful fines for pollution.
Transfer government subsidies from the oil industry and animal factory farms to renewable green energy and plant based local agriculture.
A draw down of militarization and ending of massive military pollution driving climate and systems collapse. Accountability, from a people’s assembly, for the war industry. ***
*A Note on Nuclear Energy: We are in the midst of an energy revolution where our relationship to nature is being reconfigured at speed. Because our immediate challenge is transitioning from high carbon producing energy, there is an argument that nuclear is the pathway forward. However, we need to be conscious that nuclear power poses a menacing force that has a poisonous and many-generational impact. The splitting of the atom, a Prometheus moment, heralded a petrifying age of feasible mass destruction that has overshadowed the planet since. Chernobyl and Fukushima are warnings of our inability to control nuclear power, (here.) As we reimagine and regenerate our relationship to the natural world and our energy needs, there is the potential to reassess our allegiance to nuclear power while at the same time demanding a global ban on nuclear weapons. From Nuclear Energy Information Service. You Can’t Nuke Global Warming **A Note on Plant-based Agriculture & Diet: Animal agriculture is arguably the most destructive industry facing the planet today, in terms of climate change, deforestation, water use, species extinction, waste, ocean health, and land use (ref). And the harsh reality is that the purpose of animal agriculture in any form (whether factory farms or “happy” farms) is to incarcerate, steal from, and kill sentient beings in a practice of mass violence that is perfectly acceptable to most of society.
Our current climate crisis demands that we look at each aspect of life through the lens of how our choices, individually and collectively, contribute either to accelerating or decelerating climate breakdown. As Dharma practitioners, we are also challenged to look through the lens of how our choices align with the core values of non-harming and truth telling. This document is not proposing particular solutions, but, rather, honors and celebrates that each individual and community will have its own creative path and own particular needs in relationship to the many solutions, actions and choices available for moving forward.
That said, our intention is that part of this individual and collective work includes an honest look at our relationship with consuming animals and their products, and asking the difficult questions around whether this practice is still sustainable given what we know about science, and still ethically feasible given what we know about the harm and death we cause to millions (some estimates say billions) of land and sea animals every single day. This crisis point offers us an opportunity to reassess our current practices to see whether they are consonant or dissonant with a world that must mobilize against climate breakdown and in which violence of all forms must be addressed and healed if we are to survive. ***A Note on the Military Driving Global Warming & Systems Collapse The Pentagon is the largest institutional user of petroleum products and energy, and is among the world’s biggest polluters. The pursuit of imperialistic wars underwrites oil extraction from invaded countries and leaves a colossal and malignant legacy of intractable chemical pollution, like depleted uranium, pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange, jet fuel and oil around the world. Military action alone resulted in 90 percent desertification in Iraq. The energy used by bloated militaries, which also perpetuate the arms industry to catastrophic effect, outstrips the oil used by many countries. The release of 20,000 tons of environmental “stressors,” including heavy metals and explosives into coastal waters of the US Pacific Northwest in 2017, and continuing, by the US Navy further destroys an already fragile ecosystem while replicating a pattern of massive environmental destruction around the world.
The unseen impacts of war are not usually discussed in the mainstream, but it’s important to heighten awareness as raising consciousness is a primary instigator of transformation. It is also essential to trace the cause of such massive aggression to the human mind. We are the crisis but we are also the solution. Many who enter the military land up becoming advocates for peace, like the thousands of US Veterans who travelled to Standing Rock to ask forgiveness of the Native peoples for the travesties of the past, and to join in nonviolent resistance to protect the Missouri River. Mni Wiconi: Water is Life. Reaching Out When approaching others or institutions to engage around a declaration of climate emergency, it’s effective to start by saying who we are, the terror felt by climate breakdown and the collapse of environmental systems. Be personal and authentic. Speak from the heart. Join together with others to make the case. Present the facts. If you have a particular affinity and skills set, (religious, business, political, or have a connection by geography, nationality, identity), aim to contextualize your approach with your shared world view. Bear in mind that none of us are experts when it comes to living within the 6th mass extinction and the Anthropocene. We aren’t presenting ourselves as experts, but as citizens alarmed by our planetary emergency while passionate about making the changes we urgently need. We are primarily focused on influencing political power and democratizing and empowering citizens’ assemblies who can act in our and nature’s collective best interest. We Know the Facts. We Have the Technology. We Need the Political Will 3. Resources Inspirators of the Movement Heading for Extinction Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion UK Wes Clark interviews Margaret Klein-Salamon & Ezra Silk of Climate Mobilization Interview with Native American Pennie Opal Plant, KPFA Visionary Activist Show. Greta Thunberg, Youth Activist from Sweden, speaks at World Economic Forum Greta Thunberg’s Climate School Strike goes Global Climate Activists Can Learn a Lot from Black Lives Matter Conservatives & Climate Change Interview with Katharine Hayhoe Evangelical, Conservative Climate Scientist Direct Action Everywhere Stop Violence to Animals, co-founder Wayne Hsiung
Declarations of Climate Emergency Are Already Happening Cities, Councils That Have Declared Climate Emergency To date over 305 councils have declared a climate emergency in the UK, Australia, Canada, and the US alongside cities such as London, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Bristol, Sheffield, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, Oakland, and Berkeley.
Governments Must Call a World War II Scale Climate Mobilization They must act and legislate for the survival of all, not just special interest groups, the elite, and the billionaire class. Climate Mobilization works with Extinction Rebellion to mobilize on a massive scale
4. Stay In Touch We can do this. But it will be more powerful if we all do this. WESAK AWAKENING 18/19 May Full Moon Join In We invite you to use the auspicious occasion of the full moon of Wesak, the remembrance of the Buddha’s awakening, over the weekend of the 18/19th May to Declare Climate Emergency Now. Sign up here to stay connected to this initiative. In the coming weeks, we plan to:
Offer a guide and resources that you might use for a Declare Climate Emergency Now gathering on or around the Wesak weekend (May 18/19).
Announce a live webinar you and your community can join on Friday or Saturday of that weekend (May 17 or 18).
Have a community/ Sangha gathering in San Francisco (venue to be decided). If you can’t join us there, join us from your home base.
Join in From Where You Are Host a gathering of family, friends, sangha at your home or another’s home local to you. Or at your local sangha venue, or any other venue that is easy to access. If you can’t do the 18/19th May, find a time that works for you and for your community. What to do? Use the guide on this page to explore what declaring climate emergency means for you, your friends, family, sangha.
An opportunity to share This is a great occasion to cook, or have a shared pot luck vegan meal, and to strengthen community refuge, which is vital for the times ahead. Share Your Event Do a short write up or video and send it back to us. There will be a landing page on One Earth Sangha to build momentum, support and inspiration.
We Are the Change We Are the Power We Are Nature We are the Earth’s Immune System Rising
Compiled by Thanissara Mary Weinberg, Buddhist Minister, Sacred Mountain Sangha. Author of Time to Stand Up: An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth Thanks for feedback, input, edits, from: Joanna Macy, Richard Heinberg – Post Carbon Institute, Jan Boudart – Nuclear Energy Information Service, Charity Kahn & Anita Kline – San Francisco Insight, Mark Ovland – Actions & Logistics for XR UK, Joanna Graham – Green Party UK, Gwen Gordon – Project InsideOut, Sebene Selassie – Sacred Mountain Sangha, Kittisaro – Sacred Mountain Sangha. Yong Oh – Sacred Mountain Sangha. Gayle Markow. An initiative of Sacred Mountain Sangha in Collaboration with One Earth Sangha Working DCEN team: Thanissara, Anita Kline, Charity Kahn, Kitty Costello, Kristen Barker.