I offer you this prose outline as a left-brained love poem to the natural world. (Including a sort of playlist of my own climate change greatest hits):
Science is my king.
He rules the kingdom of my rational thought processes.
I strive to find the available science behind any issue within which I need to make decisions.
But direct knowing is my empress.
She rules the empire of my being.
Science and direct knowing both have a place in my human life.
Is it already too late for us to reverse or at least slow the clock on climate change? The 2023 IPCC Report is skeptical but not without hope. Some of the world’s best science has gone into creating this report. One thing it strongly suggests: We need to transition away from fossil fuels asap if we want to avoid the strongest impacts of climate change.
For a fascinating, slightly older (2020) but still highly relevant, more human discussion on our reaction to climate change, here’s a conversation between Charles Eisenstein (public speaker, and author of “Sacred Economics” among other works,) and Jem Bendell (full Professor of Sustainability Leadership and Founder of the Initiative for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) at the University of Cumbria, and author of the paper “Deep Adaptation”):
I am always heartened when I see smart, highly functioning humans, having really smart conversations, allowing themselves to stay in curiosity and wonder. It makes me feel like there is a lot going right in the world.
It is equally heartening to see various collaborations between the scientific community and more indigenous ways of knowing, or between the scientific community and the arts (i.e. this innovative educational installation) gaining steam.
Twenty-five years ago it was still heresy in the scientific community to claim that trees communicate with each other. It's now commonly understood that trees do in fact, have vast networks linking them together underground. (Thank you, Suzanne Simard and all the other scientists who helped us become aware of this. And of course, deep bows to indigenous peoples the world over, who already knew this and kept the knowledge alive.)
When criticized that he describes trees as if they possess consciousness and emotions, Peter Wohllenben, forester and author of The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, responded in an interview, "Scientists insist on language that is purged of all emotion. To me, this is inhuman, because we are emotional begins." He won't go so far as to say that trees possess consciousness. "We don't know," he says.
As a common citizen without a scientific career to defend, I risk nothing in saying it, so it is easy for me to claim, without apology or fear of any kind, something so intuitively obvious it seems strange to have to say it:
Trees possess consciousness.
Rocks possess consciousness.
Wind possesses consciousness.
The natural world is conscious.
The consciousness of the natural world and our own consciousness, is not separate.
If we want to correct our course vis-à-vis our response to climate change, acknowledging that the natural world is conscious – a critical piece of the puzzle – will have to happen, sooner or later.
Currently, this view is considered magical thinking, excessive anthropomorphism, or straight up naive, by the scientific community. My prediction is, awareness of the consciousness of the natural world will be generally incorporated into scientific research by the end of this century.
I believe this will happen out of necessity – when science isn’t measuring everything that contributes to the scenario it studies, its forecasting will be off. Since we will have the great need for more accurate forecasting going forward, I believe science will come around to the awareness that the natural world is alive and communicates in vast and sophisticated ways. This will become important in being able to “measure” our problems accurately.
I welcome hearing from you. What do you think? What do you feel?
This is such a great contemplation prompt, Marga. I'm seeing that as we become more sentient, more online in our bodies that also includes that scientists will too. I'm taking your stance that this might be considered magical thinking now but scientists aren't immune to the effects of breathwork, yoga, meditation, micro-dosing, Ayauasca or any of the other subtle and not so subtle ways we come online into our own being. I have to hope that this is true. Plus, I've seen it happen in people I work with so I am actually more hopeful than ever. xox
So beautiful this marriage of ancient knowing and newfound proof of concept. Thank you, as always.