Environment Opinion

Inner Dimensions of Climate Change

Climate change is the most important issue of current times. The destruction calamities brought due to climate change has forced world to address this issue on every fronts. Being a global issue it imposes an extraordinary challenge and at the same time great opening for the human beings. It has the potential to bring us together as human community more than any other issue. It also has the potential to divide us. Much depends on how we respond over the next few years. What is needed the guidance of our spiritual traditions, the wisdom and the love that comes from deep prayer and meditative practices.

The environmental crisis is indeed a crisis of realization. Modern society has been using the earth, its resources and the forces of nature as just products, commodities for our own benefit. Until we change this mindset and address the root cause of the problem, we will not be able to reverse the damage done. The earth can heal her, all we need to do is recognize the living system that we are part of and allow the healing forces to do their work. This change in consciousness will lead to the needed changes in behavior and life style that will reduce the waste and degradation that modern life entails. To reverse the damage to our environmental and effectively address climate change, every individual needs to take responsibility. It must be a collective grassroots effort. Governments alone cannot do what needs to be done. We also cannot afford to leave these decisions to governments and business interests. Too much is at stake. It will take a massive civil society movement. Already shifts are happening. Spiritual practices i.e. meditation, prayer, reflection are key to changing perceptions and behavior.

It is the time to realize our oneness. The human community is being called to move beyond narrow and limiting identities, which divide us, and to begin to think and act as a single human community with a shared framework of values. We are being called to a more universal worldview and to a greater understanding of interdependence. This includes acknowledging the truth and validity of the world’s many religious traditions. We can succeed in responding to the describing climate scenarios only if we are able to tap that which combines so that we can come to know more deeply our Oneness, the original source from which all life is drawn. Thus the responsibility for shaping our response to climate change, for creating a more sustainable world community, falls to civil society.

In the scenario, spiritual leaders have a unique opportunity to contribute by searching for ways to address climate change. In the society we are living, we know and understand well the power of thought, prayer and meditation. We know that change first begins with the inner and then moves into the outer world. We stand at a moment where major change is needed to heal our world. We need to draw upon all of our spiritual resources to create this shift. And we need the involvement and assistance. Many people confirm to the power of individual prayer in healing and transformation. This same dynamic can work collectively for the healing of the Earth. This shift is connected to the change in the way we relate to and view the natural world. As we come to respect one another more, and know our interconnection, we will also come to respect the natural forces, which are the living energies of the Earth. Such change will help shape economic and social systems that are more in keeping with the principles of sustainability and that are more unbiased and sympathetic. We cannot address climate change without evolving new ways of living with each other and with the natural world.

Action without wisdom will not lead to long term positive outcomes. Wisdom without action also will not produce the needed results. The environmental crisis demands that we join wisdom with action, that we tap our collective wisdom, natural in all the spiritual traditions, and work together to develop concrete steps to reverse the damage we have caused our earth and life systems. We have to search for the ways how can we work collectively to create this transformation in mindset and worldview, with the goal of evolving a more caring and compassionate way of relating to the whole of the natural world.

About the author

Haroon Akram Gill

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