Fear of the Unknown III – Facing Fear as a Pack

     That was really hard (see previous post). I had to look into a dark place in myself and see the fear, crouched and gnawing at me, that I have been hiding from. Now that I've named it, what do I do? You can't choose your dreams, but you can choose your response. Naming and standing up to fear is the first and often scariest step, but I'm still frozen until I move through it.
     My mammalian self offers these responses: fight, or flight. When it comes to catastrophic climate change, neither is really possible as an individual.
     Fleeing is what most of us do, including our elected officials. Isn't that what the deniers are all about? They are so afraid that they deny climate change even exists. And the rest of us, myself included, try not to remember as we live the fossil-fuel-dependent lifestyles that would take wrenching acts to break free from.
     And fighting seems futile: Even doing the good things we do – driving hybrid electric cars, putting solar hot water and photovoltaic systems on our roofs, buying carbon offsets – won't hold back the flood waters. After all, what can one person, one family, change?
      So where does that leave us?
      Come on people: we are herd animals! We live in packs, tribes, colonies. We survive precisely because we are not self-sufficient: we cooperate. And the leaders of our pack are failing us. How can an aging man with an eternal suntan not understand the power of the sun over fossil fuels ground from Canadian shale? He's holding on to the way the world was when he was younger. And then there are the 28 from the other political party who voted in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline – what kind of investment is that for our future?
 These “leaders” need to hear from us, to be reminded that their families will suffer, that we are afraid, and that we have the ability to turn climate change around if we act NOW. They need to know that America can be a leader in the world, that we can have a strong economy based on clean energy and conservation, and that they will be honored for leading us to that world. But we have to growl and snarl and nip and bite and take them down if they won't get out of the way, and let the practical visionaries lead our pack.
      Fear has frozen us for too long. People vote to stick with what they know. So there is another way besides snarling. Let's use our voices to show the beauty and safety of a world that we can get to by changing our ways. We have to draw the picture of an asthma-free world with low health care costs, where chimneys are historical artifacts of the industrial age and noiseless cars and trucks quietly zoom down highways; where roofing materials harvest the sun, pipelines carry solar-generated power, and the weather no longer makes regular headlines.
      This requires us to speak up. And this is the one thing that each of us individuals must do. Say that you are afraid, if you can say it. Say what you want in a re-structured world. Say it again and again. Nip at their heels, and it will start to hurt. Give them a way forward, and maybe they will finally move. 
      I commit to writing a letter or email every week. I'm putting it on my calendar to remind me until I've done it. Join me. I need you. You're my pack.

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