Many of us know that climate change is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, causing not just extreme weather events, but a whole multitude of crises, such as famine, conflict, mass migration, political and civil unrest, ecological collapse, economic collapse, health problems etc. In fact, every problem we face in the world today is entangled with the climate crisis. A bandaid on one crisis is not going to heal the wound. Instead, we need to dig deep to the root cause, the uncomfortable truth, in order to heal it. To do that, we must have a deeper understanding of what is really happening: a war of a broken system against humanity and Mother Earth.
As far as our common knowledge of history goes, humans have always been engaged in invasions, wars and violence, but was humanity, having existed for hundreds of thousands of years, always like this?
Colonialism dates back thousands of years, in which not only lands, resources and people were colonised and killed, but their wisdom of spirituality and the environment were also taken away and indoctrinated with a new set of beliefs.
From this time on, humanity has lost its sense of oneness, having been separated from the earth, from nature, and from each other by race, religion, gender, class, nationality and politics. We’ve been engaged in a never ending battle with each other whilst global elites have infiltrated and profited from every aspect of our life, from our economy, our governments, our energy, our food, our healthcare, our media and communications. People that try to defend the ancient way of thinking, their freedom, or the earth are being killed, tortured, humiliated or socially outcasted.
Colonialism never ended. It just got repeatedly rebranded, and buffered from our basic understanding of history. Moreover, regarding the earth as a product rather than the living being she is, the mother of all life that we’re aware of, is deeply patriarchal. It is colonialist and patriarchal ideology, that our modern system is structured on. We can’t understand the world we live in today without uncovering all the details of our history, not just in our own countries, but of the whole world. History is not there to make us feel comfortable, but to learn from and to break patterns and ways of thinking that no longer serve us.
Corporations and elites caused climate change
Corporations and the extremely wealthy not only caused the climate to change, they misinform and confuse the public about it, block transitions away from dirty fossil fuels, regulate natural medicines and materials and replace them with pollutant and harmful ones, influence our politics, continue to engage in ecocide, and gaslight and divide the public. They are the ones keeping the system in control, therefore let’s recognise them as the puppet masters.
There is nothing wrong with progression, in fact, it’s a natural part of evolution. The problem is when it is hindered or hoarded for profits at the expense of everyone else. The wealthy elite are responsible for an enormous portion of carbon emissions, have invested in luxury underground bunkers, compete in space races, and show no compassion for the lives that they are exploiting, destroying and killing. Amitav Ghosh, a social anthropologist, has even suggested in a recent speech that “the power elite all over the world are all too aware of the effects of climate change. But they are all waiting for a ‘Malthusian correction’; to put it bluntly, they are waiting for millions of people to die.”
Inequality is both causing climate change and is being exacerbated by it. Research is increasingly showing us that in order to ensure chances of having a habitable planet and keep within the 1.5 degree target of global warming, a huge reduction in inequality within and between countries is needed. The top 10% of global emitters per capita are responsible for 48% of carbon emissions, with the top 1% emitting 75-times more than the bottom 50%. The average person worldwide makes approximately $23,380 per year, the poorest half makes $3,920, and the top 10% makes $122,100 per year. The top 1% makes at least $823,763 per year. A recent study in Nature found “that if societies worldwide actually matched what their citizens felt was a level of “fair” inequality, it would be possible for all of humanity to have a decent living and stay within the energy limits to prevent 1.5 degrees of global heating.”
It is not a coincidence that inequality is getting rapidly worse, it was intentionally planned. Whilst people all over the world struggle with inflation and higher cost-of-living, which is often blamed on the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, corporations’ profits have reached $5 trillion. Do we really think they have any interest in fixing this crises when they’re making so much money from it?
For as long as any of us can remember, there has always been a physical war taking place somewhere in the world. It almost seems like war is a normal thing for the human race. We’ve been led to believe that wars are necessary in order for nations to thrive and protect their safety and democracy. You could even go so far to say that those who advocate against war and for peace are often labeled as radical or traitors. The truth is that wars are incomprehensibly damaging and cruel.
Besides killing people, wars destroy countries, destroy the environment, produce a significant amount of carbon emissions, and leave all involved that survived, severely traumatized. Even seeing such violence on the news is damaging to the human psyche and leaves us with a bad impression about what humanity and the world is. Furthermore, a study by the US Marine Corps University concluded that the activities of militaries and intelligence agencies worldwide “have become the biggest danger to planetary security, by in effect working to accelerate the “hyperthreat” of climate and environmental change.”
On top of physical acts of violence, we need to understand that warfare extends to our minds and consciousness. Study.com defines psychological warfare as “actions intended to reduce an opponent’s morale or mental well being.” We can see such tactics in everyday things such as the mainstream news which can sometimes overwhelm us with negativity, fear and hopelessness.
Inequality itself is a tactic. People need to understand that poverty is not a personal choice or an accident, it is a weapon. It is a political choice. By enforcing poverty onto people, you are stripping them of their humanity and their power to break free from the chains of slavery. Poverty is a huge driver of many social problems, such as crime, and mental and physical illness. It also gives power to totalitarian governance by giving those in poverty no other option but to depend on these systems in order to survive.
Humans are the only species on Earth that have to pay for shelter, food and water. How did this happen? How does anyone have more rights over the planet than anyone else? More importantly, how were we manipulated into believing that anyone had more right over the planet?
Prophecies of the ‘end-times’
Even if you don’t identify as religious, it is important not to dismiss these teachings from the wider conversation of climate change. They are pieces of history. We must use these as a tool to draw inspiration and understandings from, rather than as a tool to divide us. In order to come up with innovative solutions to address a problem as complex as the climate crisis, we must explore all angles and expand our consciousness.
‘Apocalypse’ originates from the Ancient Greek word ‘apokálypsis’, meaning the revelation, or the lifting of the veil. In other words, the uncovering of the truth, bringing to light what was previously hidden.
In Christianity, the apocalypse, or armageddon, is the final battle between good and evil. “It will not be the end of our planet, since the earth is mankind’s eternal home. (Psalm 37:29; 96:10; Ecclesiastes 1:4) Rather than destroying humanity, Armageddon actually saves it, because “a great crowd” of God’s servants will survive.—Revelation 7:9, 14; Psalm 37:34.”
In Buddhism, there is Kalachakra, meaning the wheel of time, “with time being a measurement of change, both externally in the world and the universe, and internally within the body.” In Buddhism, there is not so much a prophecy of an end-time, but rather reaching a period of enlightenment.
In Hinduism, there is Lord Vishnu, believed to be the supreme god, who restores the balance between good and evil. It is believed that he has reincarnated nine times, and the final time will be as Kalkin, when “the world is ruled by the unjust, Kalkin will appear to destroy the wicked and to usher in a new age.”
Is Islam, there is Al-Qiyamah, which is the resurrection. It is believed to be the time of Allah’s final judgment of humanity. Those deemed moral will live in paradise, and those deemed immoral will live in hell. “Humankind was created to be the caretaker of the earth; thus, life on earth becomes a test, to maintain and preserve nature. More importantly, to maintain and preserve our moral natures.”
In Native American prophecy, there is the legend of the Rainbow Warriors, in which a time will come when the world becomes sick from greed and disrespect to the earth. At this time, the Natives will wake up to their power, and people from different nations will strongly feel the call of Spirit. “They would understand the basic fact that it is the Earth which gives us the water, food, clothing, shelter and beauty necessary for the circle of life. These awakened souls would find each other, and together they would teach all the people of the world to have respect for the Earth Mother, of whose very stuff human beings are made. Respect would prevail.”
It’s impossible to list every teaching from every religious or spiritual practice, but there appears to be a common theme throughout all of them. Rather than being the end of the world, it is more a good triumphing evil scenario, and the emphasis of humanity’s connection with nature and the earth.
How can we win?
The first thing we need to do is realise that we are indeed in a war. We then need to understand who or what the “enemy” is and what their tactics are. The enemy is not the human species, or “the wrath of nature”, or the “wrath of God”. In fact, believing it is one of those things will only cause more division, guilt, and fear. The enemy isn’t even the climate crisis itself. The enemy is the system. It is the puppet masters and their puppets who have caused and profited from this crisis and have enslaved the whole planet.
So how do we fight? The phrases “you can’t fight with fire with fire” and “violence begets violence” are important to remember. If the system has managed to maintain control over humanity for so long, but the system is essentially killing us, then the only way to fight back is to do the opposite of what it has conditioned us to do. Instead of living in fear, live in love. Instead of living in hopelessness, live in empowerment. Instead of living in separation, live in connection. Instead of living in ignorance, live in consciousness. Instead of living in greed, live in generosity. Instead of living in ego, live in humbleness. Instead of living in anxiety, live in excitement. Instead of living in a box, live in creativity. Instead of waiting, start doing.
It’s worth pointing out that you can’t simply switch these emotions overnight. Healing is a process that works differently for different people and can’t be embarked upon until facing the painful truth of what caused trauma in the first place. However, once you begin to realise the power you have to heal yourself, you begin to understand the power you have to heal the world. Don’t forget that energy is incredibly contagious.
It’s time to take back our power, protect our Mother Earth and protect all life she creates.
Sarah May is a British-Filipina musician, writer, and social activist with a background in criminology, social psychology, and spiritual healing. Sarah has been involved in social activism for over a decade, and whilst traveling and performing music, has volunteered and helped raise awareness for several grassroots campaigns and small NGOs. Since experiencing life on the frontlines of the climate crisis in the Philippines during Super Typhoon Rai, she is now a dedicated advocate and researcher for climate justice, exploring it from different disciplines such as; human rights and legislation, politics, science, as well as various religious and spiritual perspectives.