Wendy Clarissa Geiger: On Climate Crisis

Friend Wendy Clarissa Geiger in Jacksonville, Fl.

I’m honored to be on the receiving end of epistles from Quaker Friend Wendy Clarissa Geiger, peacemaker, poet, planter, and purveyor of historical memory, who roots herself on her family farm near Jacksonville, Florida. In her recent letter she intersects with my earlier blog post Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaptation and beyond. Here is Wendy’s note from yesterday:

Dear Friends, Family, and Other Scattered Pilgrims, a Wendynote re Climate Crisis,

First, a story.  In the eighties, in East Germany, there appeared a notice on a church door that basically read: Those interested in making sure the Berlin Wall comes down a thousand years from now, and discuss what we must do, now, for the Berlin Wall to come down a thousand years from now, meet in the church basement on Saturday…

A small group met, growing larger and larger, with more groups forming, as the months went on.  More and more creative protests as the months went on.  Of course, there was solidarity protesting to bring down the Berlin Wall in West Germany, in the United States and elsewhere.  In only a few years, in 1989, the Berlin Wall came down, much sooner than “a thousand years from now.”  At Checkpoint Charlie, many, many persons danced atop the Wall as it was coming down, singing “We Shall Overcome.”  Soon thereafter, on “McNeil-Leherer News Hour,” a representative from a conservative U.S. think tank admitted that it was the Peace movement that brought down the Wall, not Ronald Reagan. 

Recently, I read of a paper on Climate Crisis (as I call it – not “Climate Change”) that has been so harrowing to contemplate once read, folk are seeking therapy and forming support groups.  Last night, I printed: the paper “This Is a Crisis – Facing Up To the Age of Environmental Breakdown,” initial report from the Institute for Public Policy Research, February 2019, a report from a progressive think tank that incorporates awareness of the paper’s contents, though this report reportedly is not as dire as the original paper; and, “The Climate Change Paper So Depressing It’s Sending People to Therapy,” by Zing Tsjeng, February 27, 2019, about the paper.  The original paper is by Jem Bendell BA (Hons) PhD, of the Institute of Leadership and Sustainability at the University of Cumbria in the United Kingdom. Here is the link to the pdf of “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy” by Jem Bendell (IFLAS Occasional Paper 2).

So, Dear Friends, what must we-you-I do now, so there will be a livable and living, viable, healed and healing Planet Earth “a thousand years from now?”  In the tradition of Thomas Berry: Planet Earth is leaving the Anthrocentric Age and continuing into the Ecocentric Age…with or without humans…  

In school, we learned that centuries ago, some (some…not all) people thought Earth was the center of the Universe.  Now, how will life on Earth be when humans are not the center?…when White folk are not the center?…when the United States are not the center?…when men are not the center?…  Will humans transform?  Will we “disappear from view,” to use Thomas Merton’s words, and commit omnicide (not suicide or genocide, but all…omnicide…)?  As in: humans have to be the center of attention or nothing at all (and take everyone else with us).

There are two books to contemplate that I recommend, both by Carolyn Baker: Navigating the Coming Chaos – a handbook for inner transition and Collapsing Consciously.  A third book I recommend is Coming Back To Life, by Joanna Macy and Molly Brown.  That book describes many of the thinking and body-moving exercises done in workshops.  Her talks may be found on www.youtube.com , and her website is www.joannamacy.net .  There are dvd’s about “The Work That Reconnects,” as Joanna Macy calls her work (workshops, lectures) around the world.  On YouTube may be found Joanna Macy addressing the Bioneers Conference (about 9 minutes long, as I recall).  Related, “The Souls Are Coming Back” is a marvelous, compelling, encouraging song by Holly Near, also, on YouTube, also, sung to the Bioneers Conference.  Also, on YouTube, may be found Holly Near (and Emma’s Revolution) singing “I Am Willing” (another marvelous, compelling, encouraging song) to the School of the Americas Watch gathering 10+ years ago.

Continue reading “Wendy Clarissa Geiger: On Climate Crisis”

Alice Walker on Teilhard de Chardin

The wonderful writer Alice Walker has a new web site that is rich in wisdom. Here’s a quote from her opening text:

I encountered “Everything that rises must converge” while reading Flannery O’Connor, one of my favorite writers from the American South. It is the title of one of her books. She was quoting Teilhard de Chardin, a Catholic priest. In my own life this expression has rung quite true, though the meaning I make of it may be different than theirs. Everything I have ever worked for, rising regardless of circumstances to do my best, has led eventually to the lives of other people who are also rising – sometimes against even greater odds than mine. Embracing this reality removes fear of striking out and upward. Everyone you truly wish to encounter will be there when you arrive (you will realize you have been rising together though on separate continents, perhaps, or even during separate centuries!) or will appear shortly thereafter. There is much joy and celebration whenever we converge, i.e. meet each other. The spirits we knew. The faces we did not. Usually.–Alice Walker