Well, it finally happened. We’re talking about the weather. When I was growing up people used to say, “you can always talk about the weather but you can’t do anything about it!” It was a way of exposing our basic need to connect, to say something to each other and, not knowing what else to say or how to connect, we could depend on the weather to give us something to talk about. Talking about the weather today has become controversial, disquieting, something to avoid, certainly for politicians.
Weather exposes our insecurity as individuals to have control over not just our future but the future of our next generations. Like looking into a void we don’t have a reference for. It feels really far away and we don’t have a dependable cultural mechanism to talk about the future. “Seventh generation” is a model some of us give lip service to but we don’t have a cultural basis for. Are we really thinking of the coming generations when we decide not to fund what we blithely call “infrastructure” – tiresome word – are we really thinking about our great great great great grandchildren when we cast a vote, think a thought that is applicable only to ourself and our immediate need? When we get bent out of shape because the stock market went up or down a few points is that thinking about future generations? That’s weather.
Climate is what we pass on. Climate is like who we are at our soul’s level, weather is how we are today. Weather is the exam I just blew, the fight I just lost or won but our ability to be equanimous – or not – our love and compassion for all creatures, friends, lovers, exes of each category; that’s climate. It’s our climate, who we are and who we’ll be when all we know of ourselves is no longer here now.
Looking into the future is scary for all of us. Who will we be, how will we live, how we will care or be cared for? These are questions we all face unless we have a cultural/emotional community of trust to rely on. The main thrust of science in my lifetime has been to get things under control. We need not experience what is going on outside – we have climate control in our homes, cars, places of work and play. We have insurance and all manner of products to keep us stable in this chaotic world. We’ve got everything we need to be comfortable except knowing how to adapt, to respond to what is here now. We’re learning that. I think we’ll “get it” for the next generations, I think we’ll learn how to adapt – we already know – but we’ll have to act and talk about it while we wait and see.