Not too long ago I received the following cry for help, mirrored by many similar ones from others:
"Since I saw the Al Gore movie about the Global Climate Change I can't stop thinking, feeling, and experiencing this Change and all that is coming with it. I feel quite discouraged and pessimistic about the human destiny. Although I was aware of the situation I wasn't aware of the magnitude of the imbalance humanity has created and the short time we have to do something about it and if we really have enough time, determination, unity, will etc. to do something effective to preserve life on Earth.
What I most fear is the way I imagine we are all going to disappear. I know that everything changes constantly and that the climate has changed lots of time before, but the speed in which it's changing is what I fear most, and the catastrophes that are already occurring and making lots of places uninhabitable for plants, animals and people. I find myself thinking very often that no action would be enough at this moment because the disharmony is gone too far. I would appreciate any advice or enlightenment you could give me about it."
First, please get back into the present moment. In very practical and realistic terms, neither the past nor the future exist. The real world is the world that you are experiencing in this moment. If there is any good in it, bless it to strengthen it and help it to endure and grow.
The global climate is obviously changing, but then it always has. We know from geology that the Earth has gone through a number of dramatic climate changes over great periods of time as long as humans have been on the planet and before. According to the geological record there were times when glaciers covered most of the Earth (even in Hawaii!) and other times when the arctic was tropical. More recently, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in the area of Belgium and Holland, major climatic changes produced catastrophic floods from a rise in the sea level, costing the lives of a hundred thousand people. It is common for people to think that bad weather in their own lifetime is the worst there ever was.
Nevertheless, no one knows what direction the current changes will take, how long it will take, or how much influence human behavior is having on the changes. During a trip to Alaska we cruised into Glacier Bay. A shipboard talk on the subject produced the startling information that when Captain James Cook sailed there most of the bay was blocked by ice, and when we were there most of that ice had melted away. So there is no doubt that the Earth is experiencing a change of climate, but there is great doubt as to whether we can do anything about it.
The Gore movie was very well done and helps us to be more aware of what humans are doing to contribute to environmental pollution. It does not prove that human behavior is causing all the changes in climate, nor does it prove that the earth as we know it is doomed to destruction. What it does is offer scientific speculation.
Scientists are not super-wise. All they can do is to gather data, interpret that data according to their own rules, and use a computer to process that data into a probable outcome--based on the data they gathered, their interpretations of that data, and the rules they programmed into the computer for processing that data. That's not even prediction, it's speculation based on limited information.
When Gloria and I were in Africa in the late sixties and early seventies we got newspapers and magazines from the USA that were full of dire warnings about environmental pollution and how it was destroying the country. The impression we got in Africa was that the whole USA was covered by a cloud of soot, that all the streams were muddy brown and clogged with dead fish, and that walking outside was to risk one's life. When we returned to the States in 1971 it was a shock to see bright blue skies, clear streams with healthy fish, fully living forests, and people walking everywhere without dropping dead from bad air.
Human behavior clearly has an effect on the global climate. In addition to the pollution caused by industry and transportation systems, agricultural practices cause deserts and destroy animal habitats, land and ocean waste dumping affects sea and land animals and environments, and clear-cutting of forests and urban development alter things as well. And each of these has an effect on climate. However, let's not forget the effects of volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis, which are produced by the Earth herself. While there is no doubt that humans are part of the problem, we still don't know how big a part.
Nevertheless, it is very important that we take steps to clean up and improve our systems of transportation and industry, to work for a better and healthier environment for ourselves and the rest of the natural world, and to support those who are working for this. It is just as important not to give in to fear and panic or doom and gloom based on what other people are saying about the situation.
Huna philosophy says we are never helpless, because we have more resources than just physical ones to make changes. After all, the physical world is only a convenient illusion. We are spiritual beings in a spiritual universe first of all. As shamanic healers our role is to heal, what we can, when we can, where we can, and how we can. If we bless the present, trust ourselves, and expect the best while we are taking whatever positive action is possible, then we are doing the most that can be done. There is no point in getting upset because we think we could or ought to do more and do it better. There's a Hawaiian pidgin expression that sums it up very simply: If can, can; if no can; no can.
By the way, the Earth is not helpless, either. She has a life of her own and a will of her own. As a living entity she can choose to be happy as a desert, a waterworld, a ball of ice, or the incredible mixture that she is today, with or without the same variety of life that exists now. We do not have to worry about saving the Earth, but we do have to concern ourselves with saving human beings and all the other living beings we care about that inhabit her if we want them to continue. So, do your best and rely on a Higher Power to make sure that everything works out perfectly, even if it's different from what you might think that means.