Tag: ENVIRONMENT

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.

Letting Go of Hope

Letting Go of Hope

It’s a relief to give up hope. Then I can focus on the here and now. I think Catherine Ingram wrote this in her article, Facing Extinction. Or maybe that’s what I thought while reading it. Or perhaps it was Dahr Jamail in his book, The End of Ice. It felt as if I was finally letting go of something very heavy and when I gave myself permission, it was freeing.

Nearly ten years ago, after documenting the BP Deepwater Horizon for a year, I was emotionally spent, exhausted and had no ability to allow joy or pleasure into my life…how could I while Nature was suffering so? I spent a week with Joanna Macy which helped me heal the deep wounds generated by what I witnessed.

While my eyes and throat burned with the smell of hot diesel fumes erupting from the Gulf of Mexico, people living only a few blocks off the beaches refused to believe the beaches were heavily oiled. That taught me how denial works in the human psyche. Something so unimaginable and painful is perhaps simply unacceptable in the human mind. As soon as the well was sealed, the attention of the masses was off to the next media circus leaving me angry and in disbelief. How did this not wake up the entire world, I fretted.

Since that time of photographing, writing and videoing seven areas along the Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast for a year, I have struggled with trying to maintain hope…that people will wake up and care and do something!

One of my mentors told me during the year I worked at the Gulf that there was a reason I was being asked to witness such devastation. I knew then I had never witnessed anything so traumatic. Watching sea creatures die on a daily basis, birds suffering, beaches heavily oiled while humans walked in bathing suits or frolicked in oiled waters was a living nightmare where reality was warped. Two worlds collided every day as cleanup workers dodged beach-goers and families let their children run and play in the toxic water.

So yes, I know crazy. I know denial. I know grief.

After working on the oil spill I decided to start documenting beauty and began writing about encounters with humpback whales, dolphins, manatees, sea lions…the Ocean itself and other sacred places. Surely, I reasoned, this will help people see the preciousness of our planet and maybe it will encourage them to action as protectors and champions. “This is what we risk losing!!!” I seemed to shout through my prose about my whale friends or the dolphin who seemed to adopt me into her pod or the adorable sea lion pup who played hide and seek with me.

I was still in a place of hope.

In the last decade, the reality of just how bad the climate crisis is has escalated. I thought the grief I felt over the oil spill was intense. Now, every day the grief deepens and yet, thanks to Joanna, I refuse to turn away from that which saddens me. As Dahr Jamail wrote in his new book, “I am committed in my bones to being with the Earth, no matter what, to the end.”

And the grief many of us are experiencing is anticipatory grief. We know what we are losing every day and we know the outlook is very grim. Catherine Ingram wrote, “For those of us who cannot look away, we carry the anticipatory grief for those who cannot bear to look.”

Why am I here? Why did I come to the planet at this time? I suspect, if we have a choice, it was intentional. The deep love I feel for this water planet and all life here is worth being here as a witness to the beauty and kindness and compassion….the capacity of humans for greatness. And yet with that capacity comes the other side of human behaviors that are selfish and plow through life with the profit-at-any-cost mindset.

I suspect that many of us who came here at this time did so to offer our love and compassion in a time where that is greatly needed. As empaths it’s not easy to do because we feel it all….not only human grief but that of all life. I don’t think we would have come if we didn’t have something to offer.

Over the past couple of years a major shift in my work has been taking place. I have had clear guidance that one phase is ending and another is beginning. It feels like a bell is ringing in my soul, calling me to step forward and begin. It’s like the first 59 years of my life was about laying the foundation and now, the deeper work begins.

I know that I can’t be in a passive role any longer. I cannot ignore the sound of the bell calling me to work and gradually the vision is getting clearer.

My own inner work has taken me into deeper relationship with Nature. Without a doubt, the healthy way forward is to expand our individual and collective connection with Nature. As part of my work I will be offering opportunities for individuals and groups. There will be multiple opportunities for Deepening with Nature…a regular, outdoor circle to build community; day retreats; weekend retreats; sacred travels and individual consultations. This will be enhanced by my move back to the mountains of North Carolina.

We must re-learn how to listen to Nature and slow down to fine-tune our ability to hear our own heart’s voice. Dahr Jamail wrote it perfectly, “Grief is something I move through, to territory on the other side. This means falling in love with the Earth in a way I never thought possible. it also means opening to the innate intelligence of the heart. I am grieving and yet I have never felt more alive.”

I am releasing the dark visions of the future so I can remain present and be of service to this planet and those wishing to deepen their relationship to Her. I will use every talent I have to be present with all life here, whether it is connecting with a whale in the ocean or holding space for someone to feel their grief.

Dahr poses this question that I pass along: “How shall I use this precious time?”

 

 

 

Earth Day Notes from the Oil Spill

Earth Day Notes from the Oil Spill

I started a new painting today and when I opened my work table drawer found a notebook filled with writing from when I documented the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010. I thought about typing them all out but felt images of the scribbles might be more powerful for those interested. It brought many tears as I read it. Some pages are note included as there are personal names and phone numbers of people I met. This is a sampling of the notes that helped me write many blog posts. Hard to believe it has been 9 years….and what has changed?

page 4
page 5

You can find videos of my daily documentation of the oil spill on my YouTube channel. There are also MANY beautiful nature videos. Just visit YouTube and search Simone Lipscomb.

BumbleBee Meditation

BumbleBee Meditation

The macro lens wanted to play amongst the azaleas. Admittedly, it was my love of abstract flower power that called me to these amazing bloomers. While there I connected with many bumblebees. They are now an endangered species….so many of our pollinators are dying. So my meditation was to simply connect with them, send them love and thank them.

As they buzzed around me and feasted on the sweet nectar–while gathering pollen–I repeated the mantra, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you sweet pollinators.

They brought me into the present moment and from there I found gratitude and peace.

Love Letter to Mother Earth

Love Letter to Mother Earth

Love Letter to Mother Earth

I love you baby bald eagle whose soon-to-be magnificent head now peers shakily over the edge of that giant nest looking out into the great vastness of this wonderful world.

I love you gnarled live oak tree whose branches, though twisted and broken, still reach for the heavens.

I love you magnificent Mind of Humpback Whales that gazed into my soul through one of your embodied masters.

I love you matriarch of the spotted dolphin tribe who befriended me, claimed me as a daughter and encouraged me to swim hard to keep up with the pod.

I love you slithering baby cottonmouth who warned me kindly to stay away and give a wide berth to your infinite bigness.

I love you Appalachian Mountains whose strength reminds me of the earth within my bones.

I love you Atlantic wave that telepathically warned me before arriving and slamming onto rocks that you were coming…you gave me time…to climb, to live, to celebrate life and Ireland every day.

I love you wild wind that tries to push my bicycle over as I pedal…you crazy wind that brings out curses, laughter, shrieks and childlike joy.

I love you shimmering stars that kissed my mind as I lay on the edge of Ireland feeling the thundering roar of waves through rocky cliff.

I love you ancient stones circled at Castlerigg that took me to an ancient time of initiation into the Blue Snake Clan.

I love you misty, fishy whale breath that drifted over salt water in moonlight and reminded me who I am.

I love you Ocean whose deep indigo draws me deeper and deeper into Communion.

I love you Mother Earth as my heart breaks more each day at what your human children do to you and all life upon you.

Thank you.