As the World Burns

As the World Burns

Grief. That hardly begins to describe the feelings associated with what’s happening to our beloved planet. Now the Amazon Rainforest burns…after a 60% increase in deforestation by humans that began in June. The new president in Brazil has set a course to dismantle environmental protections and has encouraged for-profit destruction. Many fires there have even been associated with the government as a way to get rid the Amazon indigenous people. Genocide to further profits—not a new idea, right United States of America? Freedom to exploit and all….

I think of the incredible biodiversity in the Amazon…plants, animals and a weather system that forms there and operates like magic. Well, until the trees are gone and the lungs of the planet are gone. My heart is so heavy with grief but I am determined to feel it, to feel the loss of precious and sacred places, animals, people.

I read a comment on social media this morning—someone suggested this will be the wake-up call for the world. I wrote that same idea when I was documenting the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill nearly ten years ago. And it’s only gotten worse. I thought then that the world would awaken and a new effort to strengthen environmental laws would provide greater planetary health—for all life. Never in my wildest nightmares could I have predicted the downward spiral that is happening.

The USA isn’t the only country with an administration hell-bent on destroying the environment. Brazil’s administration is doing the same thing. And the mind-blowing aspect is that we know for certainthat reversing environmental protections will create lasting negative consequences that will forever alter and destroy the very things we need to survive. How is it that voters have allowed this? I am truly aghast.

Every day more news about greater destruction is shared. The profit-at-any-cost crowd licks their lips at lessening environmental regulations. The rapture folks think it’s a foregone conclusion that the end of the world is near so why bother…even when they were ‘charged’ to be good stewards. Tree huggers make social media posts pointing fingers. Scientists keep publishing and warning. It seems we are in a vicious cycle of insanity.

And this is what we have accepted as the new normal. As the world burns those of us who care sit here in a daze of frustration, grief, anger. I suspect post traumatic stress disorder will have a new name because it’s not post or after…it’s ongoing. How about we call it what it is: Global Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What can we do? Isn’t that the knife that continually twists within us? I have decided to rarely use lights in my home. Every switch that is off is less coal burned. As I sit in a darkened home at night I think about our planet and send love to Her. But what more can we do? We can vote…but honestly, another two years and what more damage can we expect and what will be left? We can stay informed….but that comes with the risk of more trauma…and yet we must stay informed and help inform others.

The schizophrenia of this is that people continue on as if everything is fine. It’s like a sort of Hunger Games world of fake, extravagant ‘living’ and then there’s the reality of everything falling apart. Or it’s like the Matrix movies where humans live in a simulated reality while their bodies are used by thought-capable machines for energy.

People often comment on how positive my writing is or how good it makes them feel. Some days its challenging to find the beauty yet perhaps our greatest edge of growth comes when we are able to know the truth of what is happening and stay grounded in the beauty that still exists in a sunrise, a flower blossom, a dog’s tail wag, and the human heart.

It is said that grief is an indication of how much we love. Let us remember to open our hearts with love to our planet, to each other and be mindful every moment of how our lives affect the planet with every action we take…or don’t take.

One of the benefits of staying with the grief, keeping a heart open to the losses occurring, is it’s open for everyone and everything. It isn’t prejudice about which place or person or animal to love. Once opened to the depths it takes to remain open with these days of challenge, it is open. Perhaps that’s the lesson we are all to learn.

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