Originally published in Comfort Zone Newsletter: February 2013
In the last newsletter I wrote about my dream in which I was told to speak to HSPs about the next step in one’s life, a step that should be carefully thought out to reflect one’s authentic self. I wonder if that article moved any of you to do something you’ve always known was your next step?
Here’s one of mine, although it feels more like a leap. For years I have avoided discussing in Comfort Zone anything that could be seen as controversial (although for a few of you I may have done just that, by bringing up, for example, evolution). I try to avoid the usual forbidden topics: politics, religion (but I can’t ignore spirituality), and I add diet. (The only time I had to break up an argument among HSPs was when one person said she couldn’t imagine an HSP eating “the flesh of animals,” and another became furious, saying meat was essential for her health, and probably everyone’s.)
Because this newsletter is supposed to be a comfortable place for HSPs, I also do not bring up issues that lead to unnecessary discomfort. I do bring up uncomfortable subjects, however, if I think I can help.
No More Avoiding this One Subject
I don’t plan to change any of this. But I am going to stop avoiding one subject that is so urgent that I can’t see how it can be controversial anymore, and that is climate change. However, even if global warming is now a fact, I guess it is political, so I apologize. But political action is the missing piece. We as individuals can and should conserve energy, but the problem has to be solved at a higher level. There’s enough fossil fuel reserves already found and intended to be developed to make climate change absolutely horrible. You and I keep using fossil fuels because we have so few reasonable-priced alternatives. Those providing these fuels keep the prices down to discourage our switching to other energy sources. Like the tobacco companies when they were fighting for their cause, the oil industry is responsible to its stockholders and is not going to change on its own just because it’s not good for us.
Global warming has been such an upsetting topic for me that I have not watched any of the films on the subject. I already understand it too well. I suspect it is the same for most HSPs, which is why I have not brought it up before. There’s enough scary stuff in other media. You don’t need it in Comfort Zone. But I now think that avoiding this subject here may mean not helping each other with something already troubling us. I’m sure almost all of you saw the crisis sooner than others. I knew about it in the 1960s, when an instructor in a class on international development showed graphs projecting various trends far into the future. Population growth and the pressure on resources along with increased pollution–those exponentially rising lines on the graphs are in my memory forever. From then on our global fate was there in the back of my mind. I even thought I should not bring a child into this future world, but did anyway. He will never know, I fear, the clear skies I recall as a child, but he doesn’t miss what he hasn’t seen.
Finding Comfort in the Midst of Dire Threats to our Planet
I’ve been so worried about this all these years that I think I have been paralyzed. Instead, I’m taking some steps. It feels far better than paralysis. After all, even a small step helps us and those on the front lines feel better. Two organizations that offer actions to take from time to time and that I like are http://www.350.org/and http://climaterealityproject.org/ , but feel free to find your own stepping stone.
Another comfort, besides taking action, is the number of people working on this. You’ll see that also on these sites.
A different kind of comfort is maintaining the larger picture, knowing that sometimes we can only be a witness to what the human race is capable of, for good and ill. It’s an interesting time to be alive. So much is changing; global awareness is building. Right now we elect and pay leaders to look after our country and we even support an organization of countries, the U. N., but no one is paid to look after our planet as a whole. Not yet. It will come.
Another comfort: I believe that those who work on the expansion of their own consciousness through meditation, for example, or prayer, are helping at a subtle collective level. If you do nothing else, you can do that, and as an HSP you can do it very well. It may well be the most valuable contribution of all.
Despair Does Not Help
I know HSPs can sometime feel despondent when we see a serious problem while the majority of people are only casually concerned about it. That is just part of our fate. I like the myth about Cassandra, who had visions of the destruction of her city, Troy. Supposedly Apollo cursed her always to know the truth and never to be believed. That’s often us, isn’t it? But please try not to be despondent for long. A wise spiritual teacher of mine pointed out that it’s no use being upset about a problem as you work on it. It only makes you less effective. We as a species have a lot of growing up to do, but we’re still here. As an HSP you have an enormous amount to contribute in your own particular way. Take action in the way that is best for you, but without despair.
George Gray says
Thanks Elaine, it was good to read this because it’s 7 years later, CO2 concentration is higher (~414ppm) and Australia is burning. It’s very upsetting.
When I was a younger HSP, I too believed many of these environmental “myths”. Not so anymore.
I would respectfully like to suggest that the best way to avoid being overwhelmed by the numerous media-driven “environmental” issues around these days is for HSPs to actually use their deeper processing capabilities to examine them a little more thoroughly. Rather than go into any detail on climate change for example, I will simply refer you to many of the excellent alternative resources on this topic. Any of the books on the subject by the well-respected former Australian geology professor Ian Plimer would be an excellent place to start (eg CO2 concentration has been orders of magnitude higher in the distant past during ice ages).
Unfortunately, the media has turned its traditional “bad news sells” strategy into an all-pervading digital art form. Other examples of this baseless fear-mongering occur in areas like cholesterol, alternative energy, radical feminism (not to be confused with equality), domestic violence, BLM and especially Covid19. In fact, with just about anything that encourages people to stay home, consume media and shop online.
And yes, the Australian bushfires were bad this summer, but still unlikely to have been the result of any minor (debatable but entirely natural) variation in global average temperatures. Bushfires happen nearly every year here and although this one was severe, it was not the worst. Back in the 1930s I believe (ie before all of that nasty ‘carbon’ pollution), a bushfire covering a much larger area occurred in southern Australia that (from memory) killed 60 or 70 people, destroyed many hundreds of homes and wiped at least 6 towns completely off the map! A Royal Commission was subsequently instigated, resulting in recommendations for future protective measures, but sadly these were only implemented for a few decades and then discontinued. More likely culprits this recent summer include the massive fuel loads that were allowed to build up and the 200-or-so arsonists that were subsequently charged by police. The fires were ‘apparently’ worse because there are now more people (and properties) in these areas – in the bush if you like. It’s the same for hurricanes in the US – there aren’t any more of them, just more people and insured property in affected areas.
Knowledge (rather than political allegiance) is not only power – it also helps you sleep better.