I’ve been thinking a lot about the weather lately. I know, I know – “everyone complains about the weather but no one ever does anything about it.” I don’t complain much, unless it’s really hot in the summer, and really NOT snowy and cold in the winter. However, I am getting more and more concerned about the changes I’m seeing.
What interests me, however, is not so much how the weather is changing (I know that we will wise up when we have to, and avert the impending crisis), but how the change in the weather seems to reflect the change in our global culture. “The world,” say many climatologists, “is on fire.” This reflects not solely the physical state of our warming planet, it occurs to me, but the state of the people who live on it as well. Throughout history, we’ve always been a violent species. Although we still wage wars on a global scale – sometimes it seems as though World War III is just a boast, insult or retaliation away – the way we treat one another on an interpersonal level also seems to be heating up right now. The world’s relationships are also burning.
We often use weather metaphors and analogies to talk about our emotions and everyday encounters. We can be walking on sunshine or under the weather. Someone can be hot or sultry, cold or chilly, or warm. We talk about weathering storms, or letting the sunshine in. We talk about seeing the light of day when having a breakthrough. We are living under rain clouds when we’re sad. We may shower someone with love and kisses, or batter them in a hail of insults, or even bullets. We determine which way the wind is blowing before making a decision (especially if we’re running for political office). We talk about babies in the dawn of their life, or our grandparents in their sunset years. Many of us spend some of our time in a fog, or with our heads in the clouds. And those amazing ideas from out of the blue may leave us feeling as if we’d been struck by lightning!
Common experience tells us that when someone is thundering, we don’t want to be near him. When there’s a whirlwind of activity, you get out of the way. No one wants to be caught in a storm of protest. But someone who’s warm and sunny is a pleasure to be around. We dread going through a dry spell. And if someone is feeling misty or gloomy, you would likely offer a hug. You get the picture. These are universal experiences that we all share – our emotions and our perception of our changing world have commonalities that we all understand.
But how does the weather itself reflect what’s happening in our global culture? And just as our actions affect the weather of the planet, can our thoughts, and the way we treat one another, do so as well? I believe they can. I don’t think we can consciously create or change the weather – if we could, a concerted effort in manifestation could alleviate droughts, rain on wildfires, and dry up floods. But I do believe that the current weather patterns are a reflection of the state of our species. An intriguing article I read while researching this blog accurately summed up my thinking on how our actions (aside from industrialization and overpopulation) are affecting the weather, and I wanted to expand with some stream of consciousness reflections.
Lately we’ve experienced horrifying weather events, affecting millions of people and animals and millions of acres of land. Hurricanes that batter the same places over and over again, wildfires that ravage the land and decimate crops and homes, droughts that cause thousands to flee their homeland into dangerous situations, and more are in the news on a daily basis. Global climate change has much to do with the record-breaking weather patterns, we’re told. But look at the state of our societies, which are also in a time of upheaval and change. Perhaps the convulsions of the Earth are our Mother’s way of cleaning herself of the negativity. Storms to wash away the strife, heat to dry the festering wounds, wind to blow down the walls we build to separate us from one another.
If we look at the historical timeline of our world community, there are a great many time periods during which people’s tendency toward violence (physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, financial, etc.) pitted them against one another. To be sure, some times may have been worse than those we’re experiencing now, but for me the current interpersonal climate is glaring because it encompasses not just territories which have traditionally suffered the centuries-old fighting on religious or territorial grounds, but also countries that have had a more peaceful history, at least in most recent times.
Many people are in dire straits right now, but a minority are doing better than ever. Most of the wealthiest among us have abandoned the poor, to whom they once threw scraps, and now take all for themselves. In fact, the “systems” set up by wealthy leaders (for there are no poor or middle-class individuals in the upper echelons of governments) seem purposely structured to keep those less fortunate – a growing number – as poor as possible. Struggling people will do anything, grasp at any straw that seems to give hope of a better life for themselves and their children, even if that straw is held by the devil. Suffering has again reached world-wide proportions, as it once had in the distant past. And through all of this – the world is watching. Not just the people in the world, but Gaia herself. In a world that strives for balance, change must come.
There are millions of species on this planet. We are among the most intelligent, and because of our ability to manipulate our environment and to use technology, the fate of the Earth is up to us. We may choose to see ourselves as stewards of the Earth, or exploiters. Our natural resources are finite, but some see their time here on Earth as an opportunity to use these resources while they are alive, and perhaps assume that others who inhabit our planet once they have passed on will figure out a way to replenish the resources. Or maybe they’re only thinking of getting as much as they can for themselves while they’re here, and care nothing about what they leave behind for others. This is one way to exploit the Earth, and, even if they’re correct in assuming that solutions will be found that will prevent our planetary home from being depleted, there are places on the Earth that will be forever changed by this course of action. Never again will we be able to witness the beauty of, for example, lands that are mined or destroyed to make way for something more industrial. Once gone, trees may be re-sown, but take decades to grow to harvestable size, and in the meantime we lose their ability to “inhale” carbon dioxide and release oxygen into our atmosphere, allowing harmful chemicals that are the by-product of industrialization to accumulate. People’s homes and livelihoods will be changed or obliterated. Water and air will be polluted and undrinkable and unbreathable. Some animal species, including some who are essential for the survival of other species (including ours – for example, bees that pollinate our crops so we can eat), will disappear from the planet, and can’t be replaced.
The Earth is a living being. From a distance, we see that she has phases, she waxes and wanes, she rises and shines. Those of us who are empaths, who feel the suffering of the world, wonder at how so many people can follow those whose violent storms are killing the planet. We wonder where the sun has gone. We wonder when the clouds will lift and the land will be calm once again. We feel that the planet itself is experiencing those same metaphorical experiences – only it’s not metaphorical. The Earth is convulsing with discomfort at the way its inhabitants are treating it – the drilling, the overcrowding, the pollution, the anger and hatred. The Earth is responding to the negative energy in the only way she knows how. And as the earthquakes and hurricanes and wildfires and typhoons rage, we can choose to continue to complain and not do anything about it, or to take steps to be true stewards of our home. We owe her nothing less.