First Reflections on Climate Justice from COY11

The climate issue is important because it requires us to come to unity in order to succeed, and because it requires total success. We cannot be satisfied by slow partial gains on our most passionate issues any more. We must achieve authentic transformation of society down to the core. We have always had the assignment to care for this earth. Now we are up against a deadline and there are many obstacles to overcome.

It is hopeful to be among so many passionate young leaders at the Conference of Youth 11 in Paris squarely facing this challenge and to know that this is but the tip of the iceberg – those with either the resources or the determination to travel to this convergence. WAKE UP WORLD! THE TIME IS NOW!

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The human superpower is our capacity to express free will, both individually and collectively: creativity, innovation, language, culture, technology . . . . Naturally we are proud of our special gifts and powers. However, with a superpower comes a super-responsibility. Every superpower has a dark side and every hero’s journey requires maturing into wisdom and awareness. In this case we need the wisdom and maturity required to exercise our special human gifts within the limitations of the world that the immature and narcissistic expression of those gifts threatens to destroy.

We know this. Maturing is something we are wired to succeed at and that we deeply want and need to do, both personally and collectively. However, the privileges, comforts, protections and entitlements of immaturity are never given up without a struggle. The mature forces of conscience, wisdom and compassion must overcome the immature forces of greed, hubris and violence. This is the essence of nonviolent engagement toward human liberation.

The advantage that this modern climate justice movement has, that previous social mass movements toward liberation have lacked, is the strong presence of a global “still small voice.” This voice has always existed and has always expressed its wisdom. Its people have almost universally suffered the most horrific systematic violence of any cultural groups in recorded history. This is the voice of the keepers of indigenous wisdom. These are the spokespersons of cultures that have perpetuated sophisticated systems of applied ecological knowledge for generations. These cultures have successfully addressed the problem of maintaining abundance and biodiversity while harvesting all the necessities of life from the earth and waters that surrounded them.

In the history of mass social movements of the past, this indigenous voice has always been ignored, absent, invisible, appropriated, marginalized or suppressed. While these historical forces of suppression still exist within the climate justice movement, they are being addressed at both the obvious and subtle levels. This is absolutely essential if we are to achieve true unity in the face of the obstacles before us.

The climate justice movement is nothing less than a global liberation movement, though I am not sure that it has that self-perception. What is more oppressive to everyone everywhere than human activities that concentrate obscene wealth in the hands of a tiny minority while destroying the life support systems of an entire planet? Finally human liberation is being recognized as integral and inseparable from ecological health. And finally, the experts at successfully integrating human habitation with nature are being consulted. Finally the wisdom t

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