A reflection of the future year; this last day of 2014
I struggled for some time, wondering what to write for this day: December 31st, 2014. Part of me wanted to be light and cheerful. Yet, nothing came to mind in terms of what to write that wouldn’t be pointless or inane. Then dear Colin who writes the blog Wibble – just another glitch in the matrix posted yesterday: Are we ready for 2015? Here’s that post:
Are we ready for 2015?
I’m not sorry for sounding somewhat melodramatic, here: what we face is nothing less than the archetypical existential threat. You may well
dismiss me as ‘alarmist’: but if you were in a crowded theatre and you were to hear me shout “FIRE!” — what would you do then?
When, in late 2009, I first saw The Age of Stupid, I was struck by one scene in which ‘a man in a shed’ stated, quite categorically, that humanity’s carbon emissions had to peak by around 2015 in order for us to avoid the risks of passing beyond 2°C above the average pre-industrial global temperature. Almost everyone agrees that two degrees centigrade of warming is the threshold beyond which we will face serious risk of uncontrollable planet-wide climate change effects of potentially catastrophic proportions. And I do mean ‘civilisation-ending’.
This is not histrionics; it’s based upon very solid science. The ‘man in the shed’ is Mark Lynas, author of ‘Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet,’ which won the Royal Society’s science book of the year award in 2008. In the short video clip below he speaks from that same year, and his message is blunt: he says we have “seven years” to stabilise global carbon emissions to avoid the risk of climate change accelerating beyond our ability to control it.
The problem is that 2008 + 7 = 2015. Those seven years are up: we’ve squandered them.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention — perhaps you’re more focused upon the fortunes of your favourite football team, or the latest antics on ‘Strictly’ or Eastenders; maybe your mind is firmly on your house or job move, or where your children are going to school next year, or any one of the myriad of (relative) trivia such as the ‘immigrant problem’, or the ‘war on terror’ — so in case you’re not familiar with the current situation:
Global carbon emissions are not slowing towards a peak in this coming year. On the contrary, emissions are soaring beyond anything humans have ever previously managed. I’m talking BIG numbers. Yay, us: we’re beating all records.
So… What are your new year resolutions?
On reading the blog post I found myself leaving a comment that seemed to encapsulate my inner fears, explaining why I was struggling to find a light and cheerful tone for today’s post. Here is that comment that I left for Colin:
I hesitate to offer a view. Not because I don’t agree with your article, agree totally, but because I’m afraid that I can’t offer any original thoughts. There is a growing awareness of the need to change, even some quasi-political ambitions that the world ‘needs to talk about climate change’, but no sign that we are anywhere close to a global response of emergency proportions.
Despite being a person with a naturally positive view of life, for reasons I can’t articulate, I have a profound sense of gloom about the New Year. Maybe a result of recently becoming aware of my own mortality. Maybe, an unspoken fear of some huge global catastrophe, natural or otherwise, just around the corner. I hope that I am wrong. Then if I am wrong, it is suggesting that 2015 will be more of the same and, as you so acutely point out, more of the same is the last thing this natural world of ours requires.
So make of that what you will! (And apologies for rambling on a tad!)
Happy New Year to you and all your loved ones.
Then something struck me. It’s no good just giving up and having a moan. Each and every one of us has to find a motivation for changing. Or, if the scale of global change required is just too overwhelming a prospect, then embrace these times as just one of the planet’s natural thresholds; global changes that have been going on for billions of years.
Back to finding the motivation to change. I close today’s post by republishing, with Val’s kind permission, It’s Time for Kind Sight, over on Val’s blog: Find Your Middle Ground:
It’s Time for Kind Sight
Posted on December 28, 2014 by Val Boyko
As we come to the end of 2014, it’s natural to reflect on the year that has gone by, as well as to look forward to the new year ahead. This is a time for “kind sight”.
Below are two journalling exercises to explore, now that the rush of the Holidays is over. I like to think of this as a Middle Ground pause. A time for being present, reflecting and allowing your inner wisdom to inspire you for whatever comes next.
Take a few moments to let yourself get settled and comfortable. Start by reflecting with “kind sight” on the past year. “Kind sight” means being kind to yourself, instead of being critical or judging. With “kind sight” we are able to see mistakes as lessons, and life’s challenges as times of resiliency and personal growth.
Ask yourself the following questions and write down your answers:
What happened during 2014…
What was a highlight?
What was a lowlight?
What was a surprise?
What do I feel proud of?
What do I feel grateful for?
What did I learn (or am still learning) from either the highlights or lowlights?
Some people do a month by month reflection, while others evaluate important areas in their lives. (For example – career, family, health, hobbies, learning, contribution, spirituality, travel, environment, self-care, personal growth).
Once you’ve reflected on 2014, write a Future Gratitude Letter:
This is a letter to yourself written a year in advance, describing all the things that you are grateful for during the year. Start with the date December 31st, 2015 and address it to yourself.
Include who you’ve become and what you now have or are moving towards. Be careful not to include anything that feels like a “have to” goal or something that you “should” achieve.
This is a letter of “kind sight” for the year ahead. The key is in the energy. If your energy feels uplifted when you think about the things you’re grateful for in a year’s time, then you are tapping into your own passion and inner wisdom.
This can be a revealing and inspiring process, letting the creative juices and intention begin it’s journey.
Val’s recommendation is fabulous. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have a go myself. And if I do write the letter, it will be published in this place.
However you feel about yourself and about the future, whether you are gloomy and downcast, or upbeat and hopeful, never forget that you are a valid human being, a unique individual, and capable of amazing things.
So go and hug a dog and wish yourself the very best for 2015!
A Happy New Year to all – and thank you for your wonderful support of this blog these past years!