A brave new world? Waking up to the environmental crisis
“It’s so much worse than we thought, Lis.”
I woke one morning to see my husband’s face creased with worry. He had that look in his eye reserved for the worst of news. He’d gotten into bed after I’d fallen asleep the night before. The temptation to wake me to share his burden had been overwhelming, but instead he’d wept silently next to me, finally falling into a fitful sleep.
He told me I had to watch the Rupert Read talk he’d seen last night. He couldn’t be alone with what he’d just learnt.
Our commitment to reducing our impact on the earth had intensified recently. But this felt different. It was as if I was on the edge of a precipice and I knew that once over the edge there was no coming back. My husband had already jumped. Would I follow? Could I? Could I not…?
Well, you know which way it went.
I started writing this blog with the prompt “a time when I was brave”. Was it brave to make the leap? Or was it inevitable? Was it simply my time?
One thing’s for certain – it changed my life. Dramatically. There was no going back, and there was no going forward for a while either. There was just getting through the day without succumbing to the panic that washed over me in great waves.
I’m not sure that waking up to the environmental (and systemic) crisis is brave. I think it happens when certain conditions in a person’s life align. But I know it’s brave to continue looking it in the face day after day; living with one foot in the yawning darkness of the bleak unknown that is our future and the other in the toxic system that has led us to into these uncertain times.
The Earth is calling on us to be brave now. To do what we can with the time that’s left to limit the devastation of human impact. To endure these hardships so that we might one day emerge from the dust as a healthier, more caring society.
Being brave is a balancing act. Too much pain, too much action, too much of feeling the outcast takes its toll. We need to balance this with the nurture of community, of love and joy, of rest and rejuvenation, of self-expression and self-knowing, of a deeply meaningful relationship with the Earth.
When we strengthen our resilience and put emotional wellbeing right back at the heart of things, then we can be brave – then we can wake each day into the unknown and feel courageous.
I am an HCPC registered dramatherapist offering e-courses and 1-1 therapy in South London or online. I recently founded the free Climate Resilience Community on Facebook – a supportive space to share freely and feel empowered amidst the chaos. Explore ways to work with me here.
My Free-Writing for a Free Soul E-course starts on Tuesday 10th September. Bookings close on Sunday 8th so take your place now! Find out more here.