Climate and YOU

Climate and YOU

How can you - personally - face the truth, stay strong, and take action in the midst of an ongoing climate and ecological emergency? Former wildlife biologist, Zen priest, and climate activist Domyo Burk offers weekly episodes to help you stay engaged with the climate crisis in an authentic and sustainable way.

Episodes

September 15, 2022 9 mins

After a hiatus of almost a year (with the exception of my trip to West Virginia to protest at Joe Manchin’s power plant), I feel the need to get active again. The daily atmospheric carbon dioxide reading at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii for Sept. 13th, was 416 ppm. Despite all the legislation, despite all the technological innovations, despite all the scientific reports, despite the United Nations conferences of the parties, ...

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Developing nations are particularly vulnerable to impacts of global heating, including widespread destruction and death from storms, droughts, and floods. This is not just bad luck, it’s tragic climate injustice. Wealthy countries have run up a vast planetary and ecological bill with a century of resource extraction and greenhouse gas emissions. The bill has come due, but whenever possible we leave the bill at the door of developin...

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August 26, 2022 16 mins

Are we, as individuals, powerless when it comes to preventing the breakdown of our earth’s natural life-support systems? When I talk to people about the climate and ecological crisis, many people confess feeling powerless beyond their personal consumer and lifestyle choices, which they are aware is not enough to save us. In this episode I explore what we often mean by “powerl...

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I think it’s important we Bear Witness to the fact that we are losing the luxury of depending on nature, and that this is deeply traumatic – although the trauma is happening to us relatively slowly, and we’re not yet sure exactly how it is going to manifest for each of us, or in our wider societies.

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Watching our planet's natural life-support systems disintegrate is terrifying, but our climate and ecological crisis may be the catalyst for a global transformation beyond our imagining. It's a fallacy to believe things will inevitably get better, but it's also a fallacy to conclude radical change is unlikely. To find our situation somewhat exciting - as opposed to overwhelming or paralyzing - requires us to challenge our limited v...

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One more book review during my sabbatical month of July: Katherine Hayhoe's "Saving Us: Saving Us: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World." Far from being a Pollyana, Hayhoe is incredibly knowledgable and realistic. At the same time, she has proven time after time that it's possible to connect with people about the importance of our climate crisis across our cultural and political divides. She gives you ...

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Robin Wall Kimmerer’s "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants" is a balm for the soul, even as it is completely down-to-earth and realistic. A botanist and person of indigenous heritage, Kimmerer takes us on a journey that challenges many of our assumptions about the human relationship to nature, and about the nature of nature itself. We learn lessons that give hope and resources f...

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I discuss why it’s important for us to know the history of our understanding that burning fossil fuels and the way our governments have responded – or failed to respond to – that understanding. Then I illustrate that climate timeline with direct, published quotes from people and reports from the last 60-plus years – letting the people of each decade tell the story of their relationship to climate in their own words.

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In this episode I review Margaret Klein Salamon’s Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth (written with Molly Gage). If there is one single book I would have you read on this topic, it would be this one. It is well-written, engaging, and efficiently concise at only 117 pages. It has everything you need to face and respond to the climate emergency in a sustainable, authentic, and compassionate way.

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I discuss why it’s important for us to know the history of our understanding that burning fossil fuels and the way our governments have responded – or failed to respond to – that understanding. Then I illustrate that climate timeline with direct, published quotes from people and reports from the last 60-plus years – letting the people of each decade tell the story of their relationship to climate in their own words.

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I discuss why it’s important for us to know the history of our understanding that burning fossil fuels and the way our governments have responded – or failed to respond to – that understanding. Then I illustrate that climate timeline with direct, published quotes from people and reports from the last 60-plus years – letting the people of each decade tell the story of their relationship to climate in their own words.

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The first place most of us start when comes to taking action on our climate and ecological emergency is green consumerism. Unfortunately, for many us, green consumerism ends up being a dead end. We think it’s all we can do, or all we need to do. This is exactly what the inactivists want us to think. We won’t escape climate catastrophe unless we demand systemic change – a future in which we all have better choices. Fortunately, ther...
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If you really try to Face the Truth and Take Action in our climate and ecological emergency, it’s pretty easy to feel despair. There are many reasons to feel discouraged, but one antidote to despair is to engage your imagination in a radical way – in a way that lets you reframe the world and your place in it and invites your spirit to roam outside the dismal constraints of the status quo.
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Just in case you had great hopes for it, the climate movement is failing miserably. A relatively small group of activists - no matter how dedicated - can't bring about change by themselves. The primary role of action campaigns is to engage and mobilize the public, and this is proving incredibly difficult to do with respect to the climate and ecological emergency even though it threatens everything we love.
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What's the most effective thing you can do for our climate and ecological crisis? You might be surprised at my answer: Get together with friends! A group of 3-12 like-minded folks (friends, neighbors, people with common affiliations or interests) can form an affinity group and support one another in facing and responding to our climate emergency.

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When we step back and look honestly at humanity, it’s clear we are living in the midst of an unfolding tragedy of our own making. I suggest we create a word for it, “anthropotragedy:" The lamentable, preventable, disastrous downfall and utter destruction of humanity through our own actions.

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How much should we personally sacrifice in order to fight the complete breakdown of earth’s natural life-support systems? This is a very difficult question. I reflect on it as I discuss the self-immolation of Wynn Bruce, climate activist and Buddhist, on Earth Day 2022 in Washington DC outside the Supreme Court. What would make someone do such a thing? Is there a way we can hear Bruce’s message without condoning his method? 
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Reality has two dimensions. Along one dimension, our world is unequivocally full of greed, hate, delusion, and suffering, and any moral person should feel compelled to do something to make things better. Along the other dimension, things are just as they are, and when we don’t impose our expectations and preconceived notions on the world, it’s a miracle anything exists at all. The two dimensions do not conflict with one another but...
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In this "Facing the Truth" episode, I give a brief update on the state of the climate and ecological crisis as reflected in the recent IPCC report on the mitigation of climate change. Then I reflect on our situation to help us absorb the insanity of it, and discuss whether or not a “crazy” response is an appropriate one. Finally, I invite you to give you to consider how we are experiencing entirely new kinds of human distress by li...
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This episode takes you on a journey with me as I travel to the Coal Baron Blockade action, prep for it, participate in it, get arrested doing it, face the aftermath, and then reflect on the experience.

If you haven’t already listened to my last episode, Episode 11 – My Upcoming Climate Action: Doesn’t Civil Disobedience Just Piss People Off?, I recommend doing so before you listen to this one, because episode 11 gives you the backg...

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