Course: Climate Change 2023
Faculty Mentor: Christine Muller
A quick thank you to the course creators and especially Christine Muller for the course learning materials.
At present, humanity is truly heading towards a precipice. The challenges ahead will be staggering. In their 25 November 2020 letter, the Universal House of Justice stated “the decades ahead are set to bring with them challenges among the most daunting that the human family has ever had to face”, and that “hope has become a depleted resource.”
The forces that aim to send humanity over the cliff are strong, so a stronger force is needed to change its direction and fortunes. The consequences will be severe, but they will not suffice to change our momentum. Without the divine influence, consequences will only produce conflict and exponential suffering as the world tears at the scraps of dwindling resources. The word of God is needed because it is singularly capable of installing a new life in every human frame. Still more is needed when it is clear that good words and thoughts often don’t translate into action. The crucial connection is education, more precisely, a spiritual education, that elevates the human condition and creates capacity for service. Ultimately all will work in service to one another and in service towards healing the Earth.
Building a resilient community is the priceless commodity of the future and the best mode of education. The core activities of devotional gatherings, study classes, children’s classes, and youth groups are the tools that are ideally suited to realize these goals. In her book, “Savage Grace: Living Resiliently in the Dark Night of the Globe” Carolyn Baker describes how communities must develop a deep resilient spirituality to navigate the trials ahead.
Turning to and integrating indigenous knowledge within the core activities could very well be one of the crucial developments of the transformation to come. Native American prophecy clearly speaks of a time of great upheaval in all the kingdoms of creation, and that their sacred knowledge and contribution will be instrumental in healing the Earth.
The means and methods of modern education need a complete transformation. It is currently fragmented, like all areas of modern life. There is no connection to real conditions, the realities of other peoples, or spiritual themes. Chis Hedges describes how the current system produces “stunted human products” devoid of spiritual perspective. The Core activities, combined with hands-on nature-themed experiences and lessons, and incorporating indigenous perspectives, can begin to knit together the fragments of human society so that people become deeply connected to each other, their roots, and the natural world. As the course materials read, “the principle of the oneness of humankind has implications for relationships at all levels…The time has come for each human being to become responsible for the entire human family.”
Initially, community-building efforts may mimic the operations and habits of the prevailing order, but as these institutions become more mature and more spiritual, a natural desire to reconnect with the natural world will develop. Without the spiritual perspective, humankind is at risk of regarding nature and other peoples as adversaries as the consequences pile on. Community is precisely what has been destroyed by the corporate-dominated material order and recreating it with a new spirit is what will sever the ties with the materialistic forces of destruction.
Spiritual communities that awaken a connection with the creation through the Creator must at some point go through a great grieving process and sympathy for the Earth and its creatures; most of all the human family. This will be a purifying and unifying experience. Only through spiritual education, in the community, outside the modes of manipulation of the current order, can humanity find the narrow path away from the precipice. Our relationship with the natural world is one we choose.