Sunday, September 21, 2014

This Changes Something

As some of you may know by now, I'm in New York City this weekend, participating in the People's Climate March. 

You may also know that this summer I went on a three-week-long kayaking trip off the West Coast of Vancouver Island, British Colombia. All told, we paddled some seventy miles, camping on islands, living on beaches, cooking over fires and drinking from streams. We saw whales, wolves, pods of sea otters lolling on their backs in the water. Our final destination was a beach on a peninsula distinct in two ways: First, unlike a lot of British Columbia, it has never been logged and second, the way it juts out of the main bulk of the island left it untouched by the last ice age.

I forgot many things out in the wilderness: that there are more than a handful of people in the world, that there are showers and dairy products and beef, that there were news, in which famous actors died from depression and war was once again being declared on terrorism.  In contrast, I could list the things I remembered again, or perhaps for the first time ever: the animal fear of the dark, of deep water, of impenetrable primordial forests, an intuition about waves, about my body's strengths and abilities, some hidden knowledge of how to move it, how to yield and how to be solid, the instinctive wonder at the warmth and movement of firelight, the milky-ways appearance after dusk, a falling meteorite like the moon coming down from the sky

Yet neither of these lists tells the full story. The whole time we were there, my mood, though buoyed by the natural beauty of our surroundings and being with a group of friends, was often also permeated by a sense of ennui. More often than not, an immersion in nature helps me overcome the everyday anxiety of living in a modern society, but this time, I was not able to entirely escape it.

Some time ago my friend Mary, who is an eco-psychologist, told me that this emotion is called Earth Grief, the fundamental sense that there is "something rotten in the state of Denmark", an unease that we either able, or more often not, to relate to the myriad of problems our planet and species faces in this current moment. It was one of the defining moments of my life, finding out that there was the perfect explanation for something I've felt, first intuitively and then consciously for as long as I can remember. It is the sorrow I experience when I see the clear-cuts of the West, videos of mountain top removal, or read about what is still happening in Fukushima-Daichi. The harrowing feeling in the pit of your stomach in those piercing moments when reality asserts itself and you realize that the planet is royally fucked. It's the sorrow of losing the Western Black Rhino to the oblivion of extinction, or reading, as I did on our trip, from The Sixth Extinction, about a blight that might obliterate most amphibian life on earth. It reminds me a little of those first heartbrakes of my teens and early twenties : love mixed with uncertainty, and grief and anger, all of the most powerful human emotions flooding your brain all at once. Except that time does nothing for this grief but magnify it. 

On Vancouver Island, this feeling manifested for me as a sense of fleetingness, that the wild landscape I was seeing was a mirage, a ghost, the afterimage of something that's already gone, but not yet entirely erased from memory. 

Is it morbid of me to think, moments after seeing a humpback whale emerge from the water, that I may be in the last generation of humans with even a chance of witnessing something like that? Maybe. But that's how my mind works. 

I have a long and traumatizing relationship with global climate change. It stretches back all the  way to the heady days before the Kyoto Summit, when climate change was still known as "The Greenhouse Effect" and my high school self was invited to be a part of a youth group that reviewed some of the ideas for those protocols from our national and regional point of view. I was around fifteen and considered the number of environmental issues I knew about completely surmountable, something that hard work and proper education could solve, so naturally, being part of such a panel, I figured that come Kyoto (which back then was still a few years away), climate negotiators would have this one in the bag. Except that they didn't. Not then and not in the intervening seventeen years. 

When the Kyoto accord failed to become an ironclad binding agreement I began to worry. I was around seventeen then and like any teenager approaching adulthood, deeply concerned about the future. No one else around me seemed to be though, at least when it came to global warming. In fact, most mainstream talk about the subject seized entirely in the years after the summit. But the nagging talk in my own head just grew louder with every newsletter and meeting and dispatch from the margins that still talked about it. Anxiety and grief over something no one else seems to care  about can make you feel crazy after a while, so to be totally honest, I more than a little relieved when two major things happened within six months of each other in the fall of 2005 and the following spring: first, hurricane Katrina and then, An Inconvenient Truth. All of a sudden it seemed like climate change (as it increasingly was called) was a real, tangible conversation topic again. 

It seemed inevitable that now that the richest and most carbon intensive nation on Earth (per capita) had felt the wrath of a warming planet something would happen. That either the politicians would understand the threat of instability that climate change presents, or the people who voted them in would make them see it and act accordingly. Instead, as you may know by now, nothing happened.

There's a lot of theories out there as to why it has been so impossible for us to act on the imminent threats that climate change presents.

As Naomi Klein writes in her new book This Changes Everything, which is out this week in conjunction with the Climate March, much of the inaction is the direct result of our economic system. I'm still only a hundred pages into it, so I don't know how much she talks about the emotional side of climate inaction, but she certainly spoke of grief and anger last night at the closing plenary of the NYC Climate Convergence.

Personally, I've come to believe that most ordinary people, are paralyzed by the fear and grief we feel even considering this situation. We don't just grieve for vanishing species, or disappearing habitats, or even the climates of our childhoods, or those our ancestors lived in, but for ourselves as a species. It seems pretty apparent that even people who in theory are informed of the facts and willing to act are terrified of the implications of what that might mean. Psychologically, it makes a lot of sense to just keep going as though nothing is happening. But it's also hard work to keep denying hard facts. As any survivor of traumatic events will tell you: no matter how hard you try suppress your trauma, it always ends up coming back up to the surface in the end.

We may still be in the denial state of the controversial "phases of grief", but many of us are also experiencing anger, depression and bargaining on our way to accepting the hard facts.

When discussing this trip people I came up against all of those emotions. Almost every person I spoke to save for a select few, made a point of jokingly mentioning how hypocritical it was to fly to a climate event, as though carbon emissions from airplanes were only the problem of those who believe in doing something about global warming. Often these were people who themselves fly recreationally, and these conversations made me realize how much of this grief is subconscious, that most likely these people were not trying to make feel guilty about flying, but rather were we projecting their own ambiguity over the paradigm where it's acceptable to jet around the globe for fun. A few people stated that they didn't believe in negative actions like protests, but were not able to even discuss the issue without becoming agitated and argumentative. Yet others stated that the simple act of living in the country, eating organic food and consuming less "than the average American" was action enough, as though my wanting to come here somehow affected their ability to do any of those things.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not ideal. As someone who tries to fly as little as possible, preferring when necessary, overland travel in mass-transit, trains and buses, the fact that flying was my only option for coming here, put me off it up until the last moment. But as the march drew closer I began regret my own stubbornness when it came to sticking to my principles. Back in the spring I told myself that there was no way I could attend; it would be too close on the tail of our return from the paddling trip, too expensive, I'd miss too much work, it was bed timing, I was needed at home

And then it occurred to me that this is exactly what most of us do when it comes to doing something concrete about that which we know now is inevitable if continue doing business as usual: making excuses. We are too busy, too harried, too bogged down by the very systems that profit from amplifying the effects of climate change to act. We don't want to think about depressing things, we just live our lives. 

As I was weighing the pros and cons of coming here it occurred to me that if I chose to, I had the means and the time to come here and be part of this.  That it would be difficult and inconvenient and expensive*, but not impossible. That if I did everything I could to line it up, I could make it work. 

For so long I've been waiting and hoping for someone, a world leader, a politician, a head of a global movement to start doing something about climate change, to make it a priority, to bring it to the forefront, to act. At this march I get to be that someone. It's not often that doing something that many of us do almost everyday can be construed as a political action, but here, and 161 other cities in the world, just being a face in the crowd, a warm body on the move is just that. The opening notes of a different tune. That is why I'm here. (And to get here I probably used the best 0.74 tons of carbon I could be putting into the atmosphere. )

Of course there's a chance, as the detractors are quick to point out, that this event is not the catalyzing moment I and many others have been waiting for. Most likely it won't change everything, but it will change some things. I have to believe  it will, because in the wake of the warmest summer on record something has to give.The march has already altered the lives of those who have been participating in the events leading up to it, in the teach-ins and panels and discussions and lectures. That's not enough of course, but they will take those ideas with them to their respective homes and seed their communities with the notion that maybe this can happen. If we fail to create the global movement that this march is trying to build, it won't matter either way how much money or carbon was spent on it by the handful of people who are able to be here in person. Is this a stunt? Asks Naomi Klein in her article and her answer is that of course on one level it is, as is every protest. But more than that, to those of us here, this    a chance to finally express our urgency and exasperation, to demand action not only of leaders, but of ourselves and of our countries, states, and communities. For so long many of us have been the man in a house on fire, where everyone else carries on as though the smoke is not pouring down the stairway and the drapes aren't burning. We're about to stop politely asking people to move to the proper fire-exits and start screaming instead. One of the tag lines  of this march is: "To change everything, we need everyone." Everyone may not be here tomorrow, but we are sounding an alarm like the opening signal of a race. This is just the clarion call, the fire alarm, the invite to the real event.

On a strictly personal level being here is a way for me to deal with my grief, to feel empowered, rather than paralyzed by it and talking to folks here it seems as though others feel the same way, not in so many words necessarily, but there is a sense that once one faces the facts and looks at the thing they fear straight on, that fear begins to dissipate and is replaced by a sense of urgency that demands action.

It's my hope that if you're not there yet yourself, you will get there soon. Because as always in a time of a great crisis, no one is expected to do more than they can, but we are required to do just that. Everything we can.

Thoughts? I'd love to hear them. Going to a march, or event today

Ps. I sorry for any and all inconsistencies and spelling mistakes. It's three in the morning here and I've spent the day riding the subway, sitting in hot classrooms and pounding  the pavement with the power of bad coffee and emergen-c. Also, there's much much more I'd like to say on this topic, but just putting together this post, in addition to my other writing duties and rushing around the city was all I could muster. 

*I had a small stroke of luck in this department. 


45 comments:

  1. Good for you! It is a brave act to take even the smallest of steps towards making a change in this world. From what I've experienced, people will always be there to criticize you and try to make you feel hypocritical about what you believe in because they feel guilty that they aren't doing anything themselves...it makes them feel like "bad" people.

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    1. Thanks dear! That's the sense I get, too. And I totally understand and recognize that feeling, but also feel like we need to move past it pretty quickly, because we all need to get to where we're doing something for each other and the earth<3 Ps. congrats on your house purchase, I can't wait to see it and read more!

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  2. My goodness, I did stumble upon you but I forget how!
    So glad I did.....you have the most natural, and beautiful blog I have seen since forever!
    Your 'earth grief' is not morbid it is putting a voice to the things our generation worry about...If everyone cared and felt as you do the world would be a better place!
    Daisy j x

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I was also so amazed and comforted when Mary introduced the concept for me. You should check out her work if you're interested in these things, she's such an inspiring earth warrior witchy woman ;)

      http://terrallectualism.wordpress.com

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  3. Beautifully written, Milla, even if it was at 3 a.m.
    It took me a long, long time to realize that some of the mysterious anxiety I deal with is directly connected to the state of the planet, both politically and environmentally. And then once I realized that, I was just floored that I hadn't understood it sooner. I mean, talk about being disconnected!
    As for what I do and what my family does for the good of the planet..I want to be honest and say that we're still figuring that out. Slow living, recycling and making, growing our own food, and kindness towards all living things are some of the causes we stand by, no small feat considering we live in an industrial town where everyone smokes and eats cheeseburgers and throws the wrappers of both out the window of their diesel trucks.
    In any case, I'm glad that you exist, that your heart beats in this world and for it. That comforts me, that there are people like you out there. xo

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    1. Thank you m'dear. You know, part of why I feel like venturing into the fray about it, is that this grief was so huge looming and nameless for me as well and I think that even though it most effects really sensitive people, it is omnipresent and hurtful to everyone around us. And yes, WE ARE ALL STILL FIGURING IT OUT and connecting with like-minded folk is all the more important for the fact that we need people like us EVERYWHERE, where you are might be a perfect place to start organizing, because the folks we need to reach are not the like-minded ones, but the ones that think this does not concern them <3 you are where you need to be and have the power to do what you gotta do, I'm sure of it. Sending you love.

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  4. good for you! the grief is very real for me but i find i just push it to the back of my mind because i feel pretty helpless. i hope this trip is an empowering one for you!

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    1. Dearest, I'm right there with you, but I gotta say, sooner or later we all have to come to grips with it, to integrate our sorrow into our being and transform it into action from there. This trip was really catalyzing, but also in the sense that I realize that I need to foster this kind of community around me. I hope that your grief doesn't' weigh you down too much.

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  5. Hear, hear Milla. I just recently started following you though I can't remember from where. I thought, here is a cute youngster like in the series Portlandia. Probably doesn't care about the latest decorating fad, etc. I'm happy you are so much more. It really began with Rachel Carson though in such a long time since then, things have gotten worse. Dominique Browning, former magazine editor, has founded Mom's Clean Air Force, which you might be interested in. I remember going to an Earth Day in Houston, back in the 80's where James Taylor played and Jacques Cousteau spoke. We thought the movement would really take off then. I don't have the answers. In my opinion, it is all due to overpopulation and greed. What I do to contribute, is give money to groups like Greenpeace, et al. I feel that in groups, the will of the people can be better heard. Glad to know there are young people out there ready to take up the charge.

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    1. Thank you for your support. It's interesting to me how, we all kind judge books by their covers, myself included. This was actually a big conversation topic at the march for me and some friends, how we, the people involved consider whether others might be interested or "on our side" based on these arbitrary markers that have nothing to do with the person's internal life. It's particularly significant to me that I know plenty of self-professed "alternative" people who spend tons of time just congratulating themselves on the organic food they eat and the homesteading they do without participating in any real action for anyone else and yet they're the folk I would naturally assume care about this stuff. The conversations I had in NY and on my travels to and fro, really illuminated for me how, as Naomi Klein states, to change everything we really do need everyone; middle class middle-aged folks with lots to lose lifestyle-wise, underprivileged folk that have even more to lose, but also much to gain, rich people, young people, hippies…from here on out I'm just going to assume that everyone gives a damn. It's interesting to me that you should mention over-population, because it was definitely a taboo subject over the matter and always has been, I think we're a long long ways from being able to talk about it without emotions overrunning all else. As for greed, it is certainly at the bottom of much, if not all that's awry in our system and it is both endemic and systemic, meaning that we all participate in perpetuating it and allowing it to be our dominant paradigm. Oh what an uphill battle and yet, I feel strangely optimistic.

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  6. Oh Milla, this is such a robust, true and important piece of writing. Thanks for summing it all up so accurately, and I fully agree with your conclusion: everything we can do is the least we can do.

    In my case, it means I must remain (instead) in touch with the deep love, forgiveness and goodness of Nature, to be able to act on a personal level towards positive, local solutions to such an overwhelming, global problem. And in this field, I've been thoroughly inspired by Rob Hopkin's The Transition Handbook, aptly subtitled "From oil dependency to local resilience".

    There is in fact a whole Website of resources on the subject, which I can't recommend enough. See other books here

    http://www.transitionnetwork.org/books

    And this tell-tale quotation: “Here it is: the map and timeline of how to save our world and ourselves. Whether we WILL take up these suggestions as scheduled is a question for the cynics and dreamers to debate. For us realists, the only relevant questions are, Where do we start?, and, Will you join us?”

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    1. Oh sweets, you always bring the kindest words! It's funny because we actually had/have a transition group here on the island which I was part of and really quickly grew disillusioned with as it was a lot of middle-aged folk interested in only dreaming of "magical alternative energy" that will enable us all to keep at what we're doing and congratulating ourselves on how well we already do (local food, local power, local education). I love the idea and think it's really really radical and empowering, but my experience with it illustrated to me so many downfalls of our society. The work that needs to be done stuck with me though and I am really pleased that our community is already quite resilient naturally. I'd love to hear more about what your experience with transition is? <3 always

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    2. You know, a while ago Mary explained about this Earth Grief she felt even more intensely because she is an eco-therapist, and since I had no idea of what it was, I thought her mission was "healing the Earth". (Which it is, in fact. Healing humans is a good start.)

      This moved me beyond words, and also the way her sadness impregnated everything, something I had been struggling with, as well.

      I remember commenting that since the main actors out there don't seem to be aware of the situation, we are the ones who have to show them the way, through local initiatives (eco-villages, community urban farms, and so on) - until they add up to something so significant that it becomes necessary for these main actors to take it all into account.

      But since I don't read newspapers or articles online (in an effort to remain positive), I was not aware that other people had come to the same conclusion and that these very kind of initiatives were already spreading fast, in a surprising number of cities big and small that were willing to do their own part in the process - until I stumbled upon the Transition Handbook, in the window of a second-hand bookstore (of course!).

      So I bought it right away, but I gave it to a friend for her birthday, since she was precisely looking for ideas to carry out such initiatives right now (she has a large community of pragmatic idealists). Whereas I, as a contemplative-creative introvert-dreamer, I tend to reduce my carbon footprint as much as I can, then engage into one-on-one quiet discussions with people around me, when the timing is right. In which this same book would be useful to have, therefore I'm planning to get another copy for myself!

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  7. Such an important topic and so close to my heart. I feel this Earth Grief often. My small way of dealing with it is through my work and in everyday decisions, but I also fully realize that this alone does not help if the majority of people do nothing. I applaud you for being able to think people are paralyzed by the fear and grief and therefore do nothing. I think a lot of people honestly don't give a fuck and don't feel this grief or fear at all. Then there are the people that worry occasionally and then decide not to think about it anymore because it's depressing. Because of this, I believe it's so important that the people in power do something, like the Kyoto accord should have. It disgusts me that large corporations do the opposite of this, just keep producing in the same devastating way, keep marketing to the uninformed masses. I didn't attend a march today, because I worry it will only make the issue more prominent to people who already care, and will do little to inform the masses. I do truly hope I'm wrong.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts my dear, always so honest and well-articulated. I however do disagree with you quite a bit on a few points. First off, I think a lot of the depression, dissatisfaction and eve anger that fuels our consumerist society stems both from this disconnect from nature, people may not THINK about it, but they feel it, deep in their soul and it is there that this battle will be wrought. Secondly, I believe that while preaching to the converted is not anything to aspire to, I think that people taking to the streets, doing grassroots organizing, participating in campaigns and writing to their representatives is absolutely necessary to get those people in power to do something. Unfortunately our elected representatives have a seemingly rather hard time separating their responsibilities from the interests of corporations and our waiting for them do something without our direct participation outside the confines of the democratic system which is clearly failing all over the world, does well…little, or NOTHING. I'm really frustrated with the passivity that particularly this society but also other Western societies exhibit when it comes to our responsibility to do the hard work ourselves. We need people to participate in the decision making, not just sit by and hope that our elected officials come to their senses and do the right thing. It is also my feeling that the only way we can tackle this very personal grief, is through the empowerment of action. Lord knows what would have happened if people hadn't participated directly to fight equality for women, or civil rights. Our elected officials were doing NOTHING until folks took the fight to them. It's our duty as a civil society. That's just my two cents of course.

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    2. Hello Milla! It's been a while since we wrote this, but I have thought about it a lot and wanted to thank you for opening my eyes to the way you view these issues. I realized fairly quickly that of course you are right that it's our duty to something about this. Even though I've known for a long time now that our democratic system is failing (more and more so here in Europe too), it's still a bitter pill to swallow and in a way still very unreal to me that those who seek to "rule" a country do not all do this out of a will to make the world (or at least their country) a better place. I know this, but in a way I myself was sticking my head in the sand against this reality and the very real and scary duty we have, that goes beyond changing the world through small everyday actions, as the problem is too big to be changed by those. It also doesn't help that getting the people in power to do something usually involves protests with large numbers of people, which is kind of my nightmare ;)
      What took a little longer for me to grasp was the concept of Earth Grief in people who in my eyes don't seem to care. The key in understanding this was your use of the word disconnect. It's a fact that we are disconnected from nature and it was one dimensional of me to think that that would not cause some sort of change in all humans, even unbeknownst to ourselves. Even the one who swears he doesn't give a crap and acts accordingly is still human and still connected to nature in an ever smaller but persistent way. He may not like it, but we are part of nature. So it will have it's impact even on him on a subconscious level. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one as I type, but I feel I understand, even if my words may not prove it. I have many more thoughts about this, connected to the sorrow and discontent in the world right now, the great divide between people who seem to get it more and more and those who seem to drift further away every day and all of that in a time of great prosperity in so many ways, but I'll leave it at this for now before my mind explodes ;)

      Thank you for making me think! Much love to you my dear, xoxo

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  8. I do suffer from Earth grief, though I didn't know how to call this state before... it's painful, but it also pushes me to try and be better toward Mother Nature...

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    1. I hear you, sister. To me it's all about knowing when I've compromised my principles, toeing the line of how to function in this paradigm and still lead a happy life.

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  9. I walk beside you in spirit. Thank you.

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  10. Thank you for sharing Milla ~ I too am in touch with my "earth grief" ... may we all find our way to contribute positively. Safe journey home

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  11. Wonderful! I'd never heard of "Earth Grief" before, but I've sure felt it. I posted this to Twitter. https://twitter.com/WanderinWeeta/status/513833077282709504

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    1. Thanks for sharing Susannah. It really is the perfect word isn't it?

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  12. I think a lot of people feel this disconnect, and therefore anxiety, unknowingly.. and do have a harder time than usual. The pace we humans set for ourselves is ridiculous. I always feel that too- nothing like camping to put you back in sync for a little while. Suddenly it's no problem to wake up at 6 a.m. , or go to sleep after dark... How many maladies and how much stress could be disolved with just that- a slower pace and sleep! (Also, staring into a fire. wooof....)

    We just gotta stay fierce, hopeful, and connected Milla, and keep championing nature with our arts!

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    1. I hear you, dear, that is a HUGE part of why people suffer from emotional distress and grief, this disconnect from nature. Boy did I feel it in NYC, the disruption of circadian rhythms, the constant voice, the hardness of things, the lack of pliability and give and yeah, the lack of fire. Thank you for being right on the same page, fierce, hopeful and connected <3

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  13. Kiitos Milla ,että pidät asioista melua täällä ja "oikeassakin" maailmassa.
    Helsingin marssilla oli noin 1000 ihmistä ja harmikseni tämän päivän lehdissä ilmastonmuutoksesta ei puhuttu juuri lainkaan,vain jokin pienehkö maininta marssista.
    Lentomatkoista on esim. jo suomen sisällä tehty samanhintaisia tai jopa halvempia kuin junamatkat ja näin ollen esim.työ mailmassa saa aika hankalan henkilön maineen kun koettaa selittää miksi haluaa hitaamman ja jopa kalliimman matkan itselleen.
    Ympäristötietoisuus ja kauniit puheet jäävät vain sanahelinäksi.
    (Taivaan kiitos olen nyt hoitovapaalla)

    P.S: Matkakuvasi salpaavat hengen kauneudellaan.

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    1. Hei kultaseni! Kiitos itsellesi etta jaksat siella yhtenaiskulttuurin suomessa pitaa kiinni periaatteistasi! Ja totta, omia valintojaan saa jatkuvasti selitella kaikille, mutta ne kyseenailaisemmat valinnat on ihan normipuhetta. ja jep, toivon tosiaa ehtivani jakaa viela lisaakin noita kuvia <3

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  14. Kirjoitit tosi hyvin taas. Ja hyvä että olit siellä.

    Ympäristöalan perustutkintoa opiskellessani joitakin vuosia sitten kuulin ekopsykologi Kirsi Saloselta "Earth griefistä" ja se kyllä kolahti, sanoitti kokemukseni.

    Hyvin oivallettu tuo surun vaiheet -rinnastus. Oma defenssini on tämänkin hetken henkilökohtaisessa surussa lamaannus ja sitä se on ollut myös luontoa surressa, vaikka aika monia ekologisemman elämäntavan valintoja olen tehnyt. Kattava tuntemus on ollut kuitenkin tuo voimattomuuden ja toivottomuuden kokemus.
    Siksi on tärkeää marssia yhdessä, hakeutua toimimaan yhdessä. Docventuresinkin teemana on tänä syksynä aktivismi, pystytkö kuuntelemaan areenan radio-ohjelmia siellä? Voin lähettää niitä sinulle mp3:na jos haluat :)

    Jani Kaaro kirjoitti keväällä ympäristösurua liipaten siitä, että yksilön oma kuolema ei vie elämältä tarkoitusta, mutta maailman kuolema tuntuu vievän. Kaaro keskittyi aiheeseen ihmiskunnan näkökulmasta, mutta samahan kyllä pätee kaikkeen elämään. http://www.hs.fi/tiede/Ent%C3%A4+jos+kuoleman+j%C3%A4lkeen+ei+olekaan+mit%C3%A4%C3%A4n/a1401165047731

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    1. Hei ystava, kiitokset. En ole hetkeen tsekannut areenaa, joitain hommia sielta voi katsoa ja kuunnella, toisia ei. Taytynee tarkistaa. Hyvin siella suomessa vetavat monet tyypit ja tuo vaihtoehto-meininkikin tuntuu sinne kotiutuneen (ei silla ihan samalta minustakin tuntuu, etta hittojako naista minun valinnoistani kun me kuitenkin kulutetaan niin kamalasti), mutta silti tuntuu etta siina missa taalla hoetaan etta ei kannata tehda mitaan ilmastopaatoksia koska kiina, niin samalla tavalla euroopassa hoetaan (ihan tietty syystakin) etta koska yhdysvallat. Taalta takapajulata katsottuna liberaali ja ymparistotietoinen suomi vielapa nayttaa oikein utopistiselta, silti se peruskoulumainen tasapaistaminen nakyy just siina etta vaikka miten radikaaleja ajatuksia saakin esittaa ja vielapa joskus valtamedioissakin niin se kerskakuluttaminen kylla kuuluu tosi olennaisesti suomalaiseen kulttuuriin. Huokaus. Kiitos tasta linkista ja vinkeista, tsekkaan heti. Ja ihanaa ja iloista syksya sinne <3

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  15. What a beautiful post, Ms. Milla!

    Have you watched Cowspiracy yet? http://cowspiracy.com/

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    1. Thanks hon, I have not but, will check it out.

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  16. Thank you for once again putting into words something that I feel so often, but have trouble articulating. The lead singer of one of my favorite bands (Shearwater) was there this weekend and his posts on facebook were the first I heard of this event. I don't know how I missed it, and I truly hope that its not an indication of the awareness surrounding this past weekends events. I'm so glad you were there and I hope that there is wide coverage and that it has far reaching results. Can't wait to hear/read more.

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    1. I love Shearwater!!!! I had no idea they were there, how lovely. I think it was easy to miss, because there was a lot of within the movements organizing and not a lot of mainstream press coverage, but stay tuned, there's more to come <3

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  17. First of all, thank you for attending the march for representing those of us who could not be there.

    Second, did you punch those people in the face who don't believe in marches? (This is a joke. I would never advocate violence, but come on? Public protest, in my opinion, is a part of our heritage, a civic duty, a commitment to democracy, not violence).

    And lastly, as already stated-- you have a way with words Milla. You're a little literary zeitgeist for those of us who grew up in the 90s, and are now at the age in which we are processing all that has, is, and is not happening that we had believed in.

    Safe travels to you my friend!

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    1. Thanks hon, I did not punch anyone, but had to count to ten a couple of times, so as not to become verbally belligerent. I mean I know that it's partly because of their own guilt and grief, but there's a total fragment of culture here too where it's somehow cool to make fun of/ write off people who believe in something that makes me a little more ragey than I'd like. And I always, always blush at your kind compliments at my meagre writings. They mean A LOT coming from you <3

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  18. I've always called this feeling "environmental guilt". It comes up hourly in my life. Every time I run the faucet I think I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry and every smoggy sky hurts.

    It's hard to feel like anything you do makes a difference. People often tell me that what we do in our own personal lives doesn't matter because "the corporations" are causing most of the problems anyway. This is such a harmful way of thinking; it pushes the blame onto someone else, who in turn won't make any changes unless the masses demand that they be made. It's so true: to change everything, we need everyone.

    I'm so glad you were able to attend this event and share your experiences in such a powerful way, even it it was at 3 in the morning :)

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    1. The next time someone tells you that, ask them how the corporations profit. Usually it's because we the consumers are supporting them through dollars. We CAN and DO create change, but it takes vigilance and patience.

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    2. Oh girl. I'm so with you on this one. But like Beth says, we just got to create change in our own lives and extend that into the world. We've got this, we really do. Remember also to honor the good choices you're able to make and not just suffer over the bad ones. <3

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  19. I love what Andrea wrote; I'm intrigued by the book Emanuelle mentions...in short I am so glad you went to this march and that you start these conversations here and help us all FEEL what we need to feel, being alive here on this earth at this time. I appreciate so much your activism and consider it one of my greatest inspirations.

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    1. Thanks dearest! I'm so inspired by so many folks in my circle, online and off who do care and are ready to act on that care. I feel like the kind of hope it offers is particularly potent for those of us who have little ones, because their future is really what's at stake. One of the most moving and clear moments of the parade/perfomance art event/rally/ gathering that the march was, was a bunch of little kids chanting under the tutelage of their parents: "Your kids, your kids, your kids will ask you what you did!". It was pretty moving, I'll tell you what. <3

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  20. How did I not know about the People's Climate March until it happened? I read feminists and environmental news sites, but no blips about it until this past week! I would have loved to take part, I've been an environmentalist since before I knew the term. I'd stand angry and defiant at family get togethers, guarding the trash can from uncles and cousins wanting to throw pop cans in it. I remember being confused in college when people started talking about climate change as if it were a new occurrence, when I learned about global warming in the first grade. I feel guilt every time I use a plastic bag in the bulk foods section or leave a light on all day. I suffer from chronic runny nose because of the cole burning plant right downtown in my major US city. There are so many emotions that I feel about our lovely planet. I wish I could have taken part in a march.

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    1. I think that they were sort of "advertising" it only in select forums, through the organizations involved. I follow 350.org, who've really led the struggle to build the global climate movement. Check to see for a local chapter in your area, I'm sure there is one (there's even one in Bham, our closest little city), if you don't know them they focus both in direct action and education, and have a strong emphasis on including EVERYONE, from white environmentalists of the sierra club type, to the less privileged and more marginalized people whom climate change currently often influences more directly, the focus at the march for instance, was really a lot about both the First Nations organizers of Idle No More and the communities in the Rockaways who were totally abandoned during hurricane Sandy. Anyways, the march was just one day, now we start the work of building the movement from the ground up in our communities. I bet there's a group working around the issues with the coal plant in your town. I'm excited to see how this movement grows. This was just the clarion call, the real work begins after. It's not too late to join in, in fact, you're right on time, friend. Thank you so much for your thoughts and your care, sending you all the love you need to deal with your grief, it's a big one <3

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  21. Eco-psychology? That wasn't a concept when I was a Psych major...must be a new concept? I feel that, as well, but always assumed it was compassion (or, as my mom puts it, "Beth loves the environment and hates people").
    I just heard on NPR about the push at this summit to make an initiative for businesses to pledge to reduce carbon emissions. Policy doesn't help (aka 'the stick approach') and is too costly for countries to bother with....but real, actionable change (with anything!) is most quickly instated when you make it more profitable.

    If people could embrace nuclear energy and stop seeing it as a huge, imminent danger, that's been the least-impactful alternative energy for large-scale resources (like powering cities), and a great alternative to coal and oil. But ever since Chernobyl, people panic about it (and equate bad business practices and other countries' lack of oversight with the concept of nuclear energy) which kills the conversation. Right now, few other energy sources are invested in (with a low environmental impact). Personally, I think shifting away from our coal and oil dependency will take a paradigm shift toward embracing multiple alternative energy sources, and making it incentivized for companies across the world.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts! I think the movement and concept maybe something that has formed more concretely in the last few years, you'd have to ask my friend Mary, whom I learned the term from (I link to her blog in the piece). It's often this way I think, people constantly looking for the right words to address their internal needs.

      I have to say I pretty much totally disagree with you both on the topic of (or what I infer you mean) cap & trade, and nuclear energy as "bridge fuel" into a paradigm shift. My view is that cap and trade is redundant at this point, and like using nuclear as way to shift people, is something that might have worked when it was first proposed years ago. We have however shifted to a point where we as societies need to shift the minds of our leaders and reign in the companies that benefit from polluting fuels, BUT ALSO curb our own personal, individual dependency on these fuels. Often when these matters come up, people like to shift ALL of the blame on some shadow-y entity "the corporations", who do not get me wrong, are completely complicit, just as WE ARE.

      We in the West (and particularly in the US) are (and have been) all enjoying extremely and increasingly carbon consuming lifestyles, even as people in the developing (these terms are so demeaning and capitalist) nations are and have been paying for the consequences. What we need, is for countries, states, cities, townships, communities and individuals to take responsibility for our wastefulness and then reduce our consumption radically. There really is no other way. Nuclear is just a costly and environmentally dangerous way for us to grasp at the straws of being forever consumptive. There's no country that I know of, especially not this country that has a safe final repository for its nuclear waste.

      Furthermore, nuclear energy is costly in terms the energy actually needed to produce it and the mining of its fuel source environmentally detrimental. And I don't think it's just Chernobyl that has made people extremely cautious of this form of energy, it's Three-Mile Island and especially Fukushima, a disaster that a very technologically advanced nation of Japan was completely unprepared for and has not been able to deal with in the three years since the incident. I think it would be extremely short-sighted, reckless and non-paradigm-shifting of environmentalists to push for it as a bridge-energy.

      I come from a country that unlike many, more forward thinking European nations, decided about half-a-decade ago to invest in nuclear as our choice of energy and that project, again in a very technologically advanced and far more industry regulating nation than most, has become, costly, unmanageable and unsafe.

      Thanks again for caring, reading and commenting, for your good thoughts and I would love a rebuttal since we clearly disagree on some things. I love a range of opinions and especially a good rebuttal ;)

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