LIGHT OMEGA

Dec. 4, 2004Articles and commentary regarding world events
Climate Change, Consciousness, and Accountability


The problems are large, but consciousness is very powerful. The consciousness of one can affect the consciousness of many in invisible ways through the stream of life that flows through all of us. Never think that what you feel or believe is irrelevant to the whole. For you are the whole, and what comes through you will become part of everyone.


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PART I.

     A major report came out on Nov. 8, 2004 (See: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment: Impacts of a warming Arctic) regarding the melting of ice in the North due to warming temperatures. This report sent a 'signal' to collective consciousness, one that we are meant to interact with. The report stated that change in the Arctic is happening much more quickly than scientists had thought. It also pointed to the urgent need to stabilize and ultimately to reverse a process that has already affected the environment greatly, and that will continue to do so to an even greater degree in the not-too-distant future. In order to prevent this from happening, a huge shift in human consciousness is needed. Yet, reflecting the general lack of readiness for this to happen, news media have barely mentioned this report following the first day of its publication. Why? Perhaps because it is not considered important enough by the government nor by the public, with the exception of certain 'green groups' who take the findings of such reports very seriously and who remain aware of the ongoing threat to our planetary environment.

     Such 'green groups' have multiplied in the last several decades, affecting public awareness in various ways. Yet the urgent call of these groups for radical change in our priorities is still not in the foreground of our thinking. Nor is the perspective held by Native American tribes who strive to represent and protect the planet as a whole. These guardians of the earth hold something for the rest of the world that the world cannot yet hold for itself - respect for the earth and for its essentially sacred nature. More and more in recent years, they have issued warnings about the changes in the earth that are already visible, and those that are yet to come.

     Some sources of respect are simply practical - the wish to not run out of food or sources of energy; the wish to not eat contaminated food; the desire for clean air and clean water to maintain health. But there are other reasons for respect, spiritual reasons that give concern - namely, the sense that human beings are greatly out of balance in their relationship to the earth and that this imbalance will, in time, bring about an ecological disaster.(See: The Hopi Message: An address by Thomas Banyacya).

     The indifference of the consuming public to the effect of its consumption patterns upon the environment and upon other nations and peoples, is a matter of grave concern - spiritually, ecologically, socially, and physically. It is, in the end, a threat to life itself. At the root of this indifference is unconsciousness. Unconsciousness creates a sense of heightened reality about what the self needs, or the family needs, or what those close to us need. Simultaneously, it allows for the perpetuation of a sense of unreality about what the rest of the world needs or what the earth needs. Out of this unconsciousness grows a self-centeredness that manifests as the desire 'to have' and 'to possess', and out of this come choices about what automobiles to buy, how much air conditioning to use, patterns of energy and fuel consumption, and the willingness to justify the use of products that pollute the atmosphere. This is what allows the Arctic Report to go relatively unnoticed. It goes unnoticed because of: 1) the level of consciousness within the American public, 2) the willingness to maintain a more narrow sphere of reality around the self and the interests of the self, and 3) a government policy that does not provide sufficient leadership in the area of environmental awareness. Taken together, these prevent the expansion of awareness into a more inclusive picture - one that would involve what is good for the planet as a whole.

     In relation to unconsciousness, we must find a way to be both compassionate toward it, yet dedicated to the work that can change it. In relation to change, compassion rather than anger is needed. For out of compassion can come efforts to educate and to make what is unknown, known. Out of compassion can also come both an understanding of the limitations of spiritual awareness which allow for present values, and a commitment to become more responsible for our own decisions. Compassion must be present for the earth as well, which suffers greatly at the hands of individual and governmental indifference and greed. This precious earth that is meant to nourish all beings is being depleted by those who are willing to take its resources and life for granted.

     'Unconsciousness' may be said to define our state of mind before something is made known to us. It does not involve saying: "I don't care," but rather "I don't know." "I don't know" means that something said, or heard, or read about, has not become entirely real to us. It may lurk in the background of awareness as something seen in a news clip, but it does not carry any weight. However, unconsciousness does not exist in the same way after information is presented to us. Then, it may still partake of its former 'unreality', but in the presence of a confrontation with facts, other, more selfish and fearful motives become involved. On an individual level, it may be the fear of needing to spend more or to change one's lifestyle in order to remain more respectful of the environment. Or, it may be the attachment to certain comforts and ways of living which the 'self-centered self' does not want to relinquish. In relation to the government's response to studies such as the Arctic Report, economic considerations are also involved, especially in relation to maintaining ties with large corporations who may be reluctant to assume the additional expense of retooling production lines and changing expense/profit margins in order to protect the earth. For corporations who knowingly continue to maintain the same level of standards after a Climate Report has come out as they did prior to such a report, and for governments who do not respond to the growing need to make a radical change in their priorities, this turning away from truth is different than unconsciousness. It is different in that it is more deliberate. It is more of a statement of having other priorities that are more important. Turning away, then, once we are made aware of something, involves a choice with different values and different karmic implications than simply not knowing. On a governmental level, it is a choice to not contribute as much as possible to the health of an entire planet and the people on it.


PART II.

     The complicity between a consuming public and a government which is more solicitous of corporate interests than of environmental concerns, is a union that has moved U.S. environmental policy toward a non-accountability that is similar on the environmental level to the non-accountability and 'state of exception' that exists on the political level. In both cases, the attribute of power has created an unbridled capacity to operate beyond the laws that regulate other nations, and to refuse to be accountable to these laws.

     A major example of this orientation has to do with the U.S. choice in 2001 to not ratify the Kyoto Protocols. These Protocols, written in 1997, have made possible a small but significant step toward controlling greenhouse gas emissions that affect the atmosphere. U.S. policy justifies this non-compliance on several grounds: 1) the protection of national economic interests, 2) the idea that the U.S. can create its own standards and monitor its own emissions in other ways, 3) doubt concerning the seriousness of the problem of global warming, and 4) the absence of a requirement within the Protocols for developing nations to curb their emissions as well. 'Environmental unilateralism', based largely on government affiliation with large corporate interests, is causing the nation that uses the most energy in the world to remain unaccountable to the rest of the world in relation to the effect of its environmental policies.

     A similar 'unilateralism' is evident on the political level - visible in U.S. policy toward international law, toward institutions such as the International Criminal Court and the United Nations, and increasingly, toward relationships with other nations in general. This orientation will be tested in the upcoming year in relation to a foreign aid bill which comes before Congress in 2005. As a result of this bill, nations that are not on a 'preferred list' will be refused a significant amount of economic aid ($2.5 billion totally) if they do not sign a bilateral immunity agreement (BIA) allowing the U.S. a 'special dispensation' to not be accountable to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Many of the nations most affected by this bill are the poorer nations of the world. The administration has already cut off military aid to approximately three dozen countries, almost all of them underdeveloped nations who had ratified the statute establishing the International Criminal Court and rejected BIAs. These nations, more heavily reliant on U.S. aid for development, have payed and will continue to pay a far greater price for refusing to sign such bilateral agreements. The kind of economic coercion present in this foreign aid bill is a demonstration of why there is a rising tide of hostility toward American policy in much of the rest of the world.

     Unilateralism toward the environment, toward international law, and toward other nations, are tied together by one ribbon, the ribbon of power. Behind this, is the attitude that we do something because we can do it. We also do it because we need to protect our 'most powerful nation' status from encroachment by anyone else's rules or standards. This philosophy is a philosophy of hubris or pride. It presumes that we not only know what is best for ourselves. We also know what is best for others. Therefore, we need only be accountable to ourselves.

     Attitudes of non-accountability allow us to remain indifferent to the voices from many sides which say "this must stop." In relation to the environment, the attitude that "we know better" has not prevented 94 other nations from ratifying the Kyoto Protocols, but it has limited their effectiveness because of our lack of participation.

     The motivation toward power is the opposite of the motivation toward love. Love leads to sharing and to cooperation with others. The striving to have or maintain power does not. Love seeks to bring into harmony what we think is best for ourselves, with what others think is best for themselves. Love is not an act of will. It is an act of trust.

     The separation of the U.S. from the rest of the world is a movement that is likely to have grave consequences. Where pride and power seek their own ends, where self-interest no longer considers the well-being of all, then the law of Karma comes into play to regulate that which must change so that harmony for the greater whole is preserved. This is true not only of the United States but of all nations and groups who operate under the law of power at the expense of the Law of Love.

     The cost of this karmic balancing can be great. Yet, change is also possible because spiritual awareness is expanding. To help the situation, we must all learn to recognize ourselves as participants in the collective consciousness of the world and become even more responsible for our own contribution. We need to foster the ideal of trust over that of self-protection, the willingness to share over the desire to have. If we begin to see ourselves as citizens of the world, we can make a start toward counteracting the present trend toward unilateralism, and infuse this trend with a force of light and love that seeks another way.


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The following link will take you to a summary of the report on Arctic warming. This report focuses on the effect that the melting of glacial ice will have both on wildlife and on people over the course of the next century, due to the melt of the glacial shelf. The report states:

"that the Arctic is warming much more rapidly than previously thought, at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the world, with consequences, such as a dramatic rise in sea level, that will be global in scope... Based on five computer models, as well as observations by scientists and six indigenous people's organizations, the report... predicts that at least half of the summer sea ice in the Arctic, along with a significant portion of the huge Greenland ice sheet, will have melted by the end of this century."

"The impact on the melting of ice and tundra in low latitudes is certain to be dramatic. Over the past 30 years already, the annual average sea-ice extent has decreased by eight percent, an area larger than Texas and Arizona (or Norway, Sweden, and Denmark) combined, and the trend is accelerating... Some models predict that, by the year 2100, summer sea ice in the Arctic region may have disappeared completely, resulting in the likely extinction of polar bears and species of seals that are dependent on sea ice for giving birth and nursing. Such changes will also have major, potentially catastrophic impacts on migratory birds and large migratory mammals, such as caribou and reindeer, as well as the cultures and livelihoods of the indigenous peoples who have lived in the Arctic regions of North America and Eurasia for millennia."

"With the melting of the Arctic ice, average global sea level, which already rose by eight centimeters, or three inches, in the last 20 years, will rise at an accelerated pace. During this century, the models predict a rise of between 10 and 90 cms (four inches to three feet), enough, on the higher end, to inundate southern Florida and much of Louisiana... The eventual melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, will increase global sea level about seven meters, or 23 feet."


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"Rapid Arctic warming brings calls for Bush to reassess policy." (Nov. 9, 2004)
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/1109-07.htm
A summary of the report's conclusions.

Kyoto Protocol Fact File
http://www.yptenc.org.uk/docs/factsheets/env_facts/kyoto_facts.html
Some basic facts about the Kyoto Protocols.

"A Primer on the Kyoto Protocol."
http://environment.about.com/od/kyotoprotocol/a/aa090402a.htm








An Invitation to Love the Earth


I would like to devote one newsletter to your thoughts and feelings about the earth, including reflections or poems by you about the earth or any part of it that you especially care for or appreciate - lakes, trees, wind, air, birds, sky - anything that touches you. A few sentences would be fine or a short to medium-length poem.

Please send your contributions to me by Dec. 20th at JR@lightomega.org. If you include your name in the body of the e-mail, I'll include your first name in the newsletter. If you don't include it in the body of the e-mail, I'll just include the text you send.

Remember that whatever we feel, whatever we think, becomes part of the body of the earth as well. Julie.


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You are invited to send your comments on this or other newsletters to: JR@lightomega.org

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The purpose of Light Omega is to bring us all into greater planetary consciousness with awareness of the suffering of others and with a willingness to remain awake to the challenges, dangers, and possibilities we face today.

     Julie Redstone


































  
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