This is the final episode of the Birth The New Earth series. The title Rising from the Ashes intentionally brings to mind allegory of the symbolic Phoenix bird that rises from the ashes to bring about new life: a symbol of life, death and re-birth.
I confess that I expected this last episode to be full of hope and optimism with examples of the "phoenix arising from the ashes". I have to say that while there certainly were indications of what can turn the climate crisis around, there was a stronger sense of urgency because time is running out.
Two of the contributors in this conversation are Australian so it is no surprise that the "black summer" of 2019-20 was a graphic example of the power of fire to destroy the environment and its inhabitants. The sheer scale of the fires should be a wake up call to us all.
I was deeply challenged to hear Victor, the Aboriginal Australian, say that before colonisation there were no problems with bush fires because the aboriginal people knew how to use "good fire". He heads up the Firesticks Alliance which offers teaching and resources to bring indigenous wisdom to contemporary generations. Here's a two minute clip where Victor says "You can't tell your children there is no hope" and offers an alternative.
I can't help thinking about the confronting words of Jesus: "I have come to bring fire on the earth..." Luke 12:49. The context suggests that Jesus is saying part of his mission is to wake us up to divisions among us at every level. Only when we see (really 'get') the extent of the damage and dislocation will we be ready to move to a new way of seeing and acting. Jesus goes on to say: "How is it that you do not know how to interpret this present time?" This is a spiritual crisis as well as an ecological one. I find that strangely hopeful. Perhaps we need "good fire" to catapult us into action. Michael Mann a prestigious climate scientist talks about "reclaiming the sacredness of the natural world". Yes!!
Here's a three minute clip of Michael showing how important it is to influence public consciousness. We need to reduce carbon emissions by 50% in the next decade. I believe that the integration of science, spirituality and indigenous wisdom is already happening. We need all three. Kylie (is also Australian) and is a transpersonal climate scientist. (What a fascinating job description!) She urges us to take seriously the scientific nature of indigenous wisdom. When we can share our insights and listen with humility to those with different knowledge and skills things can change very quickly. Cooperation rather than conflict may seem a distant hope on the world stage or in the political realm but it starts at home! This is once again the quantum invitation. A seemingly small shift in a personal relationship or action can ripple out in ways we will never know.
I find it helpful in the face of global challenges to remember how we do continue to see this in many situations. Here in New Zealand we can reflect on the outpouring of love and support after the Christchurch earthquakes and the Mosque shootings. Recently the news has been featuring people opening their homes and resources to those fleeing from Ukraine. There are many, many examples...
|Offering a refugee mother and child hope!|
|The Student Volunteer Army after |
Another kind of Good Fire - that 'fire in our belly' can motivate us to act in ways (big or small) that enable us to play a part in Co-creating Our Future World. This is the organisation founded by Catherine, who is also the host of this series of interviews. Thank you Catherine!
While writing this post I've been thinking about the Biblical promise of "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning".
When Jesus was invited to speak in the synagogue on one occasion he chose to read from the Prophet Isaiah which includes this promise. When I looked up the whole passage it seems that every phrase is relevant to the time we live in right now. I'm Posting this on Easter Sunday 2022 and it couldn't seem more relevant! Here is what Birthing the New Earth will look like - and it takes all of us.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Catherine G Lucas: Founder of Co-creating our future world
Michael Mann: Climate Scientist website, free course: climate change the science and the global impact
Victor Steffensen: Indigenous Australian, Co-founder of the Firesticks alliance Educational resourcesKylie Harris: Transpersonal Climate Scientist Re-Birth of People and Planet an open letter