Responsibility & Climate Change

Where does the responsibility of reversing climate change fall?

A debate circles around climate discussion that carries with it heavy weight. As we make the continued effort to lessen the effect of climate change, on whose shoulders does the brunt of the responsibility land?

Do we look to our politicians and hope for initiative and legislation to pull us out of this crisis? Or do we follow the money and hope that big corporations, some of which have pulled us into this current state of climate crisis, will use their capital resources to fund innovative answers to the problems facing our earth? Do we put faith in their ability to see right, and make a concerted effort to re-do their wrongs?

Or is that faith misplaced?

Do we, as people, take ownership of this responsibility, making personal decisions to do our individual parts to lessen the earth’s suffering and allow her to begin to heal?

It is a complex series of open-ended questions, and if we spend too long circling around them we get lost in the bypass it presents. Asking who shoulders this responsibility allows the opportunity for finger pointing that hurts and hides the process. The truth is, the very fact of our humanity puts the responsibility on all of us.

We share common responsibility as humans.

The roles each of us find ourselves in does little to place more responsibility on one group over the other, instead it informs us of the nature of our responsibility. Humanity is our common factor, the roles we inhabit outline the specific responsibility we each carry beyond being human. This is where our core work resides in combating climate change. We must all find a sense of responsibility within ourselves and then begin doing the work through our specific roles to heal the earth.

Adopting a personal responsibility starts with the acknowledgment of the harmony we share with the earth. The earth nurtures and sustains us. The cycles of nature unfolding on this planet, sustain life, without question. Without the earth there would be no YOU. Nature lives within a deep harmony among all living things. As humans, we have lived for millennia in accordance with this deep harmony. We have lived alongside the natural world and alongside every other living thing on this planet. This is an important perception to adopt. As humans, we do not hold dominion over this earth, we live in harmony with it.

Our actions though often speak another disharmonious belief, that we are entitled to all and at the cost of any. This is born from a deep seeded belief that humans hold an intrinsic right over all living things, that we hold dominion. This is an unwise perspective that is costing the decimation of the natural world.

What is required then, is a shift in how we see our place as it relates to the natural world. We have taken from the world, unchecked, for so long. We are the one single species that through action has led to the wasting of our planet. It is ironic then, that we alone hold the knowledge lying behind the required action we must take to support the healing process of the earth. We must all step into the responsibility of helping to preserve the natural world. A shift can then occur from a role of unconscious consumption to conscious caretaker of the natural world.

The work then remains to fulfill our roles as humans and caretakers to promote harmony and balance. We must meet our responsibility through the core work that each of our roles demands.

Corporations must lead with well invested capital and innovation. Politicians must match that effort and support through policy and legislation. And, we must take care of the earth as we take care of ourselves and the ones we love. We must treat the earth as an extension of ourselves, because it is.

Photo by Dan Russo on Unsplash

Start the work at the most logical point, with love and care for yourself. Take ownership of your health and well-being. Take care of yourself so you can enjoy the time you were granted. When you can support a more balanced and healthy lifestyle you will easily extend that practice to the earth. See the earth as an inseparable part of yourself. The air you breathe, the land you walk on, the sunlight feeding you nutrients, water bringing you life, you can not live without these elements of the earth.

The earth, at this moment in time, cannot live without the connection to the people who inhabit it. The earth always, without fail, supplies all we need to sustain life. It is in our debt to return some of this nourishment the earth provides.

She has given so much, now it is our turn.

Make choices and approach life through the caretaker perspective. Tune in to the symbiotic relationship with the earth, because that relationship truly exists. This is our core responsibility and the necessary work we must all do. We have no choice. There is no Plan B.

If we meet each day with this attitude, and we truly show up for this planet, we can begin to stretch our responsibility. When we begin to fulfill our individual roles as they relate to our responsibility here, we become examples for others to look to. We then can expand our roles and responsibility to do more for the earth. But start simple, take the first steps that begin with your relationship to this beautiful planet.

Much of the work surrounding environmental issues requires action. We must act to reverse climate change. We must act to protect our lands. We must act to protect endangered species. We also though, must continue to educate ourselves to expand our reach and impact further. Our action takes us only so far.

Corporations and politicians must act as well. And within those choices they have the ability to shift and initiate change in global proportions. We cannot leave their actions to their own merit. We cannot have blind faith and hope in those entities to always act in morality. We must hold them accountable.

To do this requires a passionate approach to educating ourselves and a commitment to learn and grow with green innovation. This is where accountability begins. The reactive position of complaining about corporate greed and dishonesty through lobbied policy is not enough. If we refuse to educate ourselves about the issues we face, we give up our power.

This is where we find ourselves and this is the point at which many who hold the resources of the world benefit from. If we challenge ourselves to learn and grow we can reclaim the power to hold our elected officials to their word. We can hold sovereignty, and make them act in our behalf and on behalf of this planet.

We must meet the practices of corporations with a similar approach.

History has shown that Corporations fail to hold themselves accountable. Every successful business constructs a plan that expresses their intention clearly. A plan that contains their core principles, that if held true, promotes a path of success. Within those core principles an ethical guide is established. This system of ethics is supposed to act as a moral standard that informs every corporate decision. But, although always a core principle, corporations fail to hold themselves to that ethical and moral standard. Capital, income, and power normally drive the bus, and in most cases do the steering too.

So, embolden with knowledge, we can claim the power to hold corporations accountable. By educating ourselves on the current state and impact climate change has on our planet, we become better equipped to question the intentions of corporations and legislators. This questioning should be directed at each singular entity. But we must also question the power held by the connection between lawmakers and corporate players. Knowledge, is in fact power, and with it we can question the intentions and motives behind corporate & political relationships.

It would be misguided though to place all blame into the political/corporate Frankenstein. We, as common citizens of this planet, hold our own responsibility. Just like corporate and political leaders, at times we dodge those responsibilities. It is a similar bypass of ownership through different factors. We often indirectly promote climate change, as we act through personal choices out of convenience and comfort. Often the quickest most comfortable way to achieve our desires comes at a cost. These costs are conveniently obscure and hidden, allowing us to maintain a destructive path while feeling that we are innocent.

W​e need to hold accountability within ourselves, while acting as an influence to our family, friends, and communities. We can then extend that influence to corporations and politicians as we hold them liable for their actions and demand change.

Our personal responsibility begins with reorienting our perspectives on what it means to be human. We are the one species on this earth that has systematically taken without returning. We lack the natural ability to give to the cycle. We are a super predator. This behavior is predicated by the belief that we hold intrinsic right over all other living things. This belief is dangerous. We must return to a perspective were we see the true role of a modern human, to preserve the spirit of nature, by undoing what we have done.

I have been a long time dabbler in writing. I am joining the discourse on Medium to cultivate a deeper writing practice.