We must overcome the denial.

If what I’ve been writing about recently distresses you, if you find yourself wanting to turn away and avoid it all, you are not alone. Wishing it would all go away is a common reaction to dreadful news. We must resist and overcome the denial.

Haul ourselves out

I want the ecological and climate breakdown not to be happening, I wish it was all a big mistake.  I want a grown up to sort it all out and to make everything better again, but that is not going to happen.

Somehow we will have to haul ourselves out of denial and face reality head on. It’s going to be a challenge. Staring down the barrel of our own potential extinction feels a bit unreal. This is denial in action trying to stop us feeling the pain, the terrible grief, anger and despair about this potential truth.

The fear in my belly

As David Attenborough’s documentary Climate Change – The Facts ended I could feel part of me switching off. The consequences we now face, brought on by our past actions, feel like too much to contemplate. I could not stay with the feelings.

I find I am swinging between different positions. On the one hand the fear in my belly calls me to act, it wants me to drop everything and “fight” for our lives.  On the other hand I find myself drawn to engage in numbing out.

Mass media

Our lovely mass media is only too willing to help us to do just that. Distraction from reality is their game. I’ve written before about some of the issues with social media but today my concerns lie more with the mainstream news outlets and how they may influence us all going forward. 

Most of our media (said tongue in cheek of course, since it is far from our media. It is the media we watch, read and listen to, but in fact it is the media of a few outrageously rich individuals. Their agendas do not include disrupting business as usual), so most of “our” media are not going to report the real story? They daren’t.

If they told us and we believed that we are in an emergency situation here on earth, where would we be then?  Blimey, we might actually have an even bigger rebellion, and who would benefit from that? Not them.

Chasing Sensationalism

They report on what suites their narrative and conveniently miss or minimise the rest. They are shallow, drama driven organisations, chasing sensationalism in pursuit of profit and personal agendas. The Extinction Rebellion and what they are trying to tell us is therefore in danger of sliding out of the news. Like the refugees crossing the Med or encamped in northern France, it won’t warrant air time or column space soon.

It suites them and it suites us to some extent to have the difficult stuff silently disappear. We can then gently drift back into denial, carry on as normal and render XR to the inconvenient blip they media would has believe it was. 

The Government too

It’s not only the news reporting that may hasten us back into denial, it’s our Government too, They are struggling to take this issue seriously enough, they can’t declare an emergency because that would jeopardise their whole paradigm.

I listened to the UK Parliament’s recent debate of an Urgent Question posed by Ed Milliban to ask the Minister to make a statement on Climate Action and Extinction Rebellion. The discourse was interesting and it was heartening to hear some of the MP’s views. However, Claire Perry, the Minister in question, along with other Tory MP’s repeatedly recounted how marvellously well the Government is doing already. Some of her final words however hint at a different story.

“We need to always balance cost, carbon and competitive advantage.” 

Business as usual

She and our Government stand atop a political and corporate system based on economic growth.  Cost and competitive advantage regularly outstrip any carbon or ecological considerations. This unsustainable system has brought us to the brink we face. No matter how hard they try the industrial growth, economic ideology cannot be squeezed into a future where we live in harmony with all of life on earth. It is the business as usual model which created the mess, it has to go.

We have to be brave

The discomfort of having to give up life as we know it is unsettling at best. At worst it is down right disturbing and depressing. Refusing to face facts and denying the evidence may save us from these uncomfortable emotions but it will not save the planet or the lives of future generations.

We have to be brave enough to force ourselves out of denial. No matter what the media and Government tell us we have to keep facing the crisis head on. They will green wash, they will tell us they’ve got it under control, they will use facts and figures to tell a story that keeps us from rising up and demanding change.

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the door sill

Where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.”

Rumi

Stay awake

If we are willing to face this new breeze that is blowing across our planet and dare to cross the door sill to another world there is a chance that our worst fears will not manifest.  If we can keep ourselves awake to the difficulties we face perhaps the round and open door has gifts for us.

“This is the defining issue of our times, this is the issue upon which our children will judge us.”

Rupert Read.

Many of us have already faced crisis in our lives, terrible situations which seemed impossible to live through and yet here we are. We can do this about our climate emergency so long as we don’t go back to sleep. Political promises and media diversions will no doubt try and drug us back into to denial. So remember Rumi’s words, repeat them often.

Don’t go back to sleep.

How do you want to be judged by future generations?

Are you willing to stay awake to the difficulties we face?

Don’t go back to sleep.


Notes:

I’d love to hear your answers to the questions above in the comments below.

I’d very much appreciate your help in spreading these blog posts to a wider audience, if you feel they are worth sharing of course.😊 There are share buttons below.

I will be writing next about the feelings we have to face when we come out of denial. They can be processed and transformed. In the meantime you may find these articles helpful  We can apply the principles of awareness and acceptance to planetary change as well as personal change.

What Blocks Us From Achieving Real Change In Our Lives Part 1 – Raising Awareness

What Blocks Us From Achieving Real Change In Our Lives, Part 2 – Acceptance

 

With love