Why isn’t Every Conversation We Have About Climate Change?

I’m wondering why every conversation we have isn’t about climate change and the mass extinction event we are in. I’m resisting the urge to hate myself and humanity as a result.

I can remember the day that it happened, 25th November last year, sitting in the living room of our friend, Jude, in Totnes in the middle of a 12 Characters gathering. We were in the pause between Character readings and I was talking with my neighbour about what been stirred up in us with the reading of the previous three Characters. I had read “It’s going to happen – but to somebody else”, April had read “The Apocalypse is My Gravy Train”, and Shireen “Better to be Hopeful”. We were just testing out the idea of using my “Mythic Triads” as pause questions and for this pause the triad was:

  • Which character took you to the top of a mountain
  • Which character took you to a dark cave
  • Which character threw you in a raging river

My partner said she thought “Gravy Train” threw her in the river and I agreed. But when she said “Better to be Hopeful” took her to the top of the mountain and “It’s going to happen” took her to the cave – it hit me – it was the complete opposite for me. “It’s going to happen” is a character living a seeming paradox, on one hand she can clearly see what is happening and what is coming but as she says:

When I imagine the climate apocalypse, when I play out the nightmare scenarios, I’m never in them. When the final storm comes, I’ve always got someplace to fall back to. And the means to get there. And friends to be there with.

It was a sudden rush of comprehension that has remained with me ever since – we are all living this same dual existence, dual realities, a split right down the middle that helps us to be able to survive living in mad times. On one hand, we know that the facts and numbers surrounding climate change is real and that there is no escaping the cold, hard truths of the second law of thermodynamics – and on the other hand we also need to go to the supermarkets in order to get organic food that’s wrapped in plastic driving in cars powered by petroleum – mad.

Ever since that night I’m no longer confused why every conversation isn’t about Climate Catastrophe. It’s obvious. When I leave the sanctity necessary to enter into that world and enter the madness of the mundane world I’m becoming my “It’s going to happen” self and everyone I interact with has likewise become their “It’s going to happen” selves. My question now is not “Why don’t we have these conversations all the time?” but instead “What are the conditions required so that we can enter into these necessary and vital conversations more and more often than we do?”