Teaching our Deepening Your Practice class a couple weeks ago, Elizabeth Rice shared an inspiring Ted talk on climate change by a then 15-year-old Swedish girl named Greta Thunberg. Incredulous and outraged that adults are doing nothing to stop the warming of our planet, Greta went on a school strike for the climate! Now 16 and joined by thousands of children all over the world skipping school on Fridays, she speaks for her generation and generations to come.
The movement she started reveals the solidarity of youth concerned about the environment. The teenagers know their future is inextricably entwined with the fate of the earth. Jonathan Schell wrote The Fate of the Earth in 1982 about nuclear disaster. His words could be the rallying call of the schoolchildren striking for their lives, striking on behalf of the ecosphere, speaking out for climate justice, on behalf of all creatures born and yet to be born.
“In weighing the fate of the earth and, with it, our own fate, we stand before a mystery, and in tampering with the earth, we tamper with a mystery. We are in deep ignorance. Our ignorance should dispose us to wonder, our wonder should make us humble, our humility should inspire us to reverence and caution, and our reverence and caution should lead us to act without delay to withdraw the threat we now pose to the earth and to ourselves.”
Inspiration, mystery, ignorance, wonder, humility, reverence, caution… can we be lovingly aware of the wild range of human experiences? Can we know they are the infinitely creative adventures of our own minds? Can we catch a glimpse of the way all life is carried along on — is an expression of — a river of infinite tenderness, endlessly flowing in our own hearts? With mindfulness, we bring awareness and insight to the interdependence of all living systems. When we quiet our minds and listen with reverence, we may be stirred to join Greta (and young people from around the world). Inspired, we can guide our hearts and our actions to tend all that lives.