The emotional impact of transition
By Ben Brangwyn 20th October 2011
In the UK and Wales alone, there are 11,000 parishes (towns/villages), 60 cities and any number of rural communities that are going to have to navigate the downslope of energy descent, either proactively or reactively.
But along with these community-based transition, each individual needs to evolve away from addiction to oil and a whole raft of ecologically devastating practices, away from the complex web that locks them into the endless growth paradigm.
This will be easier for some than others, but we all have to do it.
And each of us needs to travel closer to a heartfelt understanding that if we want to stay living on Earth, we’ll have to weave ourselves back into the fabric of the planet, and comprehend that the “humans are separate from the earth” duality underpinning our industrialised societies is false, misleading and a one-way ticket to a hell on earth far hotter than we can handle.
This journey involves fully feeling the unbearable weight of accountability for what’s happening, the complicity we all have in supporting this unsustainable paradigm. For some, it involves feeling the pain of the planet, and that can be overwhelming. This journey into realisation is best undertaken with fellow travellers to share the burden and provide support. Taken alone, it’s a lonely path that many, lacking sufficient emotional support, turn back from.
So gather some stalwarts around you and take the plunge. And when you’ve come out the other side, wiser, more resilient and more determined, act as a guide to those who come after you, for their need will be all the greater.
Some quotes that have helped me on my journey
“We have to find a way to live in this planet-time without closing our eyes to what we’re doing.” – Joanna Macy
“If the world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear. People who can open to the web of life that called us into being.” – Joanna Macy
“If the Great Turning should fail, it will not be for lack of technology or relevant data so much as for lack of political will. When we are distracted and fearful, and the odds are running against us, it is easy to let the mind and heart go numb.
The dangers now facing us are so pervasive and yet often so hard to see – and painful to see, when we manage to look at them – that this numbing touches us all. No one is unaffected by it. No one is immune to doubt, denial, or disbelief about the severity of our situation – and about our power to change it. Yet of all the dangers we face, from climatic change to nuclear wars, none is so great as the deadening of our response.
That numbing of mind and heart is already upon us – in the diversions we create for ourselves as individuals and nations, in the fights we pick, and aims we pursue, the stuff we buy. So let us look at it. Let’s see what this deadening is and how it happens. For this work [as described in her book “Coming Back to Life”] helps us wake us from that sleep and come back to life.Then, reconnected with our deepest desire, we will be able to take part in the Great Turning. We will choose life.” – Joanna Macy
“The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.” – Albert Einstein
“Our task must be to widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” – Albert Einstein
“We used to be hunter-gatherers, now we’re shopper-borrowers.” – Robin Williams, 1990
“Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” – H.G. Wells