The new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear: we are facing a real catastrophe and our time is up, like, 5 minutes ago.
The report is based on more than 6,000 scientific studies, compiled by more than 80 of the top climate scientists from nearly 40 countries, and calibrates more than 40,000 peer-reviewed comments, according to Christiana Figueres on The Guardian “a robust and outstanding example of international cooperation, and extraordinary source of shared intelligence”. It is perhaps the most robust example of what truly distinguishes humans from other animals: the capacity to imagine and communicate abstract concepts and base large cooperation upon them. No other species can cooperate at such a large scale (suggested books: Sapiens and Homo Deus, by Prof. Y.N. Harari). This is not to say that climate change and environmental pollution are abstract – they are quite real and quite here.
Shit, what do we do now? What we need now is a calm mind, courage (which means having heart) and sharp focus; compassion and ethical judgment; creativity and transformative thinking.
I would suggest a priority that, I am confident, would provide us with the necessary tools to face the difficult times ahead: sleep more, 9 hours of sleep, compulsory, every night, no exceptions, no shortcuts, no excuses, especially those in power.
Sleep has the most crucial role in making us intelligent. It is the source of transformative thinking, creativity and ethical behaviour. Sleep gives us a calm mind, a sharp focus and a compassionate approach (Source: Why we Sleep. The new science of sleep and dreams, by Prof. Matthew Walker).
Natural cycles are the key to our salvation and evolution. Natural cycles have many shape, but one blueprint, according to our research. They are ingrained in our body and mind (e.g. Design Theory – same blueprint) and we share them with the whole ecosystem, and universe.
This thriving blueprint of Life is what makes flowers bloom through concrete cracks, forests conquer barren land: nature always prevails. We have tried to master it. We parted ways from it about 12,000 years ago. Now it is high time we welcome back the truth that we ARE nature; embrace it, imitate it, respect it, not conquer it.
Sleep, hormones, heart beat, digestion, brain hemispheres, periods, to name but a few, all share the same blueprint – and they share it with seasons, the Earth’ satellite, plant sap, and many other cycles. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, or even go very far from who we truly are already: cyclical beings hyperconnected to a cyclical ecosystem.
We have mastered growth. We went so far that we actually turned the corner. We turned growth into destruction of our own nourishing environment. That is a distortion, of course. Nature will not be destroyed by this distortion, though. It will prevail. Not so sure about me and you though.
Nature teaches us that after growth comes degrowth, and that two breaks are needed in between. This is how we will find the solutions that, I hope, will allow us to thrive on this planet. Not thriving in terms of conquering the Moon, the atom or an extensive wardrobe and tomatoes in December. Thriving means flowing without frictions. Thriving, therefore, also includes dying. Understanding the cycle ultimately means understanding and accepting that death does not exist, not in the way we think of it nowadays.
Rethink the concept “Death is part of Life”: leave out that bitter-sweet resignation, abandon that lingering desire of immortality, and try to grasp the idea that thanks to death, life is born. You can’t truly love life if you don’t cherish death. Can you see it?
You can’t? Try to sleep on it.
Art by Sarah Diniz Outero on Unsplash