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Coming Together to Reverse Climate Change

By Roberta Russell

Global warming makes more news with each passing day. The destruction is occurring faster than previously anticipated; nevertheless, most people are still immobilized. They ponder, “Will sorting out plastic waste and using biodegradable bags really make a noticeable difference?”

Imagine that you lived in Jakarta, the capitol city of Indonesia, along with 30 million others. Forty percent of Jakarta is now below sea level. The capital is being renamed Nusantara and relocated to higher ground on Borneo, the world’s third largest island. This is not an isolated consequence of global warming. The whole planet is and will be affected by climate change, each city and town in its own time. On May 19th a persistent Alexa-generated voice reminded me that Greenwich Village had a flood watch. Although the cellar of my West 9th Street house remained dry, this message was still disconcerting.

World-wide, rising sea levels and extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts, floods, and heat waves are causing loss of lives and disruptions in essential services. Heat-induced transmission of dengue fever and malaria is increasing. Food insecurity is rampant because of climate-created crop failure and increased food prices. Climate change also poses economic risks such as increased health care costs, damage to infrastructure, and disruptions to global supply chains. When we print money to pay for these emergency disasters we devalue our currency, though there does not seem to be another viable choice.

One of the most stirring reminders of the damage we are doing to animals, resulting in wiping out most of the other species that live on the earth, was depicted in a movie, The Planet of the Humans by Michael Moore. You can see it free on youtube.com.

A close up of a monkey

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Picture Credit of orangutan dying: Image from the video linked here, Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans. Text by Roberta Russell.

What can we do?

Remember when women could not vote and when most people smoked? Human beings adjust their attitudes to adapt to change. With the specter of deadening climate change looming, adjustment needs to be faster and with more conscious determination than ever before. This could be achieved by participating in consciousness-raising groups. Consciousness is an emergent property of self-organizing. We are permeable membranes of awareness. Change is affected through influence. There are now some laws that prohibit the wiping out of jungles and the animals that inhabit them. Watching Moore’s movie has made me want more legislation.

Neil Theise, MD, is a pioneer in stem cell research and a long-time student of Zen Buddhism and consciousness studies. He has an interdisciplinary approach to the intricacies of change. In Notes on Complexity: A Scientific Theory of Connection, Consciousness, and Being (2023) he states, “A distinguishing feature of life’s complexity is that in every single instance, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts…Occasionally, if we are fortunate, we find ourselves in a situation with other people in which we achieve that feeling of complete unity, of something bigger than ourselves.”

You can feel the presence of bold literary tradition and cutting-edge art in the West Village. The whole area is inspired by plaques commemorating the thinkers and artists who blazed the way. Mark Twain once lived around the corner from my West 9th Street house and garden. There is a sign commemorating him at 14 West 10th Street. I discovered his little-known once-banned book, What is Man? as a child when my long-deceased parents had proudly displayed a complete set of Twain’s work that they had collected in installments at a supermarket promotion. That controversial hardcover, now available free on Google, eventually formalized my thinking about what makes people act as they do. Twain presented the concept that man was a machine and initiated what I later learned was called the determinism/free will debate.

For inspiration and continuity, I recently transplanted my treasured Mark Twain collection to a shelf in the Greenwich Village garden apartment my late husband Harold Krieger bought in the 1960s.

Set and setting can arouse change, and I’d like to put the garden apartment to good use. It would be an ideal place to meet with people who could come together to discuss what we might do to turn the tide of climate destruction. If you have time to learn about what is happening to our planet and our future and would like to share your ideas, this may be the perfect time to see what we can do individually and collectively to address our global warming disaster. Even though Noam Chomsky (in a youtube.com interview) recently referred to Biden’s latest Alaskan oil rights allotment to industry as, “the end,” he still advises that we get together and talk to our neighbors about solutions.

There is power in unity and consciousness. Let’s see what we can accomplish at a Greenwich Village garden party.

Send a message to Roberta Russell at 917-693-6224 or email russellk100@gmail.com if you are interested.

Roberta Russell is the founder of the World-Wide Calorie & Exercise Logging Group (www.permanentweightloss.org). She is the author of Report on Permanent Weight Loss, RD Laing & Me: Lessons in Love, and Report on Effective Psychotherapy: Legislative Testimony.

www.robertarussell.com; russellk100@gmail.com.

©Roberta Russell, May 23, 2023, NYC

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