Image of a woman hugging two giant trees

The Yogini’s Concerns

Probably like you, I’ve been thinking a lot about climate change. So much so that I put my hand up to facilitate a presentation at the Ekam Festival on Climate Yoga.Which I will do in September.

Occasionally, I think there’s something wrong with me. I get anxious about what’s happening in the world.

 I enjoy watching dystopian TV shows, such as, ‘The Handmaids Tale’. Many of my friends won’t go near this series, saying it’s too dark and violent. Too reminiscent of what’s happening in the increasingly right-wing world we live in.

I’ve always been like this.

In my senior year in high school, I read Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’, a book that was said to inspire the environmental movement, eventually leading to the phase-out of DDT. It made me angry that as a little kid growing up in Chicago, there had been widespread use of DDT.

As a university student, I penned essays on the impending overpopulation of the world, influenced by Paul Erlich, who, by the way is still raging at 87. The alarmist language of his book, ‘The Population Bomb’, as well as some of his predictions, have since proven inaccurate. But, his sensational rhetoric appealed to me back then.

I have more recent proof of my pessimistic leanings. I’ve just finished reading ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’. Who would want to delve into a book that starts off saying, ‘It is much worse, much worse than you think. The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale….?

Of course, was all over it.

I watched David Attenborough’s series, ‘Our Planet’, with its strong climate crisis theme. Each of the eight episodes emphasises conservation, but with a compelling focus on human beings’ impact on the planet’s environment.

It would be hard for anyone not to go down the gurgler as they took in the most recent offering from David Attenborough, a one-off documentary called, ‘The Facts’. I watched the film with fascination and horror. Graphic footage showing the human face of recent planetary disasters was particularly disturbing.

We are meant to be disturbed, aren’t we? Things have become bleak indeed.k

Perspective

Then yesterday something shifted when I stopped to chat with my 80-year neighbour Farmer John. His wife has been in hospital for several weeks. Every day he leaves his 40-acre farm, after ministering to the cattle, to visit and cheer her up.

He cheered me up. I questioned him about how global warming was affecting him and his farm. John is leathery and sunspot-splotched, a farmer down to his work boots. His demeanour, though, is like a Zen monk.

Addressing my obvious concern, he said, Well, we’ve been through this before.

What! I thought.

He said, Back in the 40’s we had rabbit plagues you can’t even imagine. Totally destroyed our crops and feed. Then, they found the answer: myxomatosis virus.

Then there was the HIV AIDS epidemic. Because of the drugs, people aren’t dying so much from AIDS but living with it.

And one more thing, he added, I’ve suffered from strep infections numerous times in my life, and I’m still here.

I had to smile at his impeccable logic.

John had a lot more to say, all of it positive, all of it wise.

Maybe running into John was a sign. Turn off the TV. Spend more time with cattle. Take a break and find some chick lit to read.

Or, find a peaceful place in Nature (Olive Pink Botanical Garden-Adelaide, S.A.) to ponder ours and the planet’s dilemma. Do what John does. Put things in perspective.