• The globe disintegrating

      Climate Crisis (Photo – Marco Verch)

      It’s hard to keep up with the climate crisis news.

      By Thom Hawkins

      Articles about climate crisis appear mostly on alternative sites, and when mainstream media carry the news, the stories are buried and don’t usually stay posted for more than a few hours, then they’re gone, never to be read or heard again, as though it didn’t happen. Diligence and determination are required to find out what is really going on. It also takes an ability to process and absorb bad news without falling into deep despair.

      After eight months of co-leading a monthly support group called Species Extinction Wisdom Circle, I have learned that most people don’t want to know, let alone accept, what is really happening. Here, from our flyer, is what we do in our Wisdom Circles:

      No one wants to talk about extinction, but we do. In these small group conversations, we fully own the most disquieting facts and face our tragic new reality. There is no evidence that humans will survive this climate crisis. Now is the time to stay informed about our deteriorating environment and explore how we may better practice mercy, love and forgiveness in the short time left to us. Above all, let us grieve together for what is being lost forever.

      Our circles have a core group of about eight people, with others who come and go bringing us up to a high of fourteen. I have spoken with many others to encourage them to attend. Over and over again I encounter rampant misinformation and lack of awareness. Even those who want to know how bad it is have great difficulty absorbing all the information. Information that is complex, technical, traumatizing and hard to find.

      Why put the effort into knowing the truth when you’re just going to feel helpless? I have been called an alarmist, a nihilist, a quitter, a coward and worse: a stealer of hope, just because I hunger for the truth, no matter how bad it is. There is a strong tendency to shoot the messenger.

      Besides the anger, I hear a lot of self-pity. “If it is as bad as you say it is, why should I care? Why should I stop living unsustainably if it won’t make a difference? I might as well stay comfortable as long as I can.”

      Fortunately, there are also those who say, “The worse it gets the harder I want to fight for the health of our fragile planet, no matter the outcome.” Even those who say that find it challenging to stay informed. At least now there are stories to be found out there in medialand.

      That is why I post climate crisis/extinction stories daily on my Facebook page, creating an archive I started early last year when the arctic was melting at historic rates and several major books and articles on the climate crisis were being published. Despite all that, the subject remains largely taboo in a wide swath of the population. As one of our charter members put it, “This is my favorite group, but I don’t dare tell anyone in my circle that I come here. When they hear about people like us, they call us The Crazies. We are considered on the fringe.”

      A month between circles is a long time; when we meet we have to catch up with the rapidly evolving climate crisis so we are all on the same page. We spend the first fifteen minutes getting a sense of the big picture by scrolling on our large TV screen through the stories I have posted on Facebook. Then we share with each other in open discussion, munch on snacks, listen to poetry, laugh and cry. Recently we have been discussing, “What do we tell the children?” Sometimes someone has to leave the room for a while because it all becomes too much. Just too much to bear. Why would you want to? It’s easier to watch the Super Bowl instead.

      Species Extinction Wisdom Circle
      Thom Hawkins & Charles Jacobsen: Hosts
      George Patton: Environmental Consultant 
      1st Sunday of the month
      12:45 pm - 2:30 pm
      Throop UU Church - Fireside Room
      > This is a nonreligious event open to everyone.

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