So in DDL I continued my mission in life. In case there is still doubt about what that is—the biggest crisis that humanity has ever faced is coming. Experts tell us that there is time to avoid the worst, so I’m like, yeah, let’s do it.
Our children will judge us on what we do today, because they will be living with the consequences. Your legacy depends on what you choose to do this decade. Plus it’s really a privilege to live in a time when what we do makes a difference.
But when I spout this stuff, the worst ignore me and the best seem to either get defensive, or overflow with admiration. For the first two cases, I have to work on a script that won’t offend; that’s my current mission—to find the right words. It really doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you take the crisis into account when you make your decisions. Love steak? Stuff your face with it, as far as I’m concerned. But if you gobble meat AND travel several times a year AND consume like you always have—in short, if you aren’t modifying your life in any way—then you’re either unprincipled or ignorant. Should we start a whole new shame culture? Instead of people ooh-ing and ahh-ing when you post photos of your second trip of the year (we’re all allowed one) then we could shame you publicly. 😊 Small houses will be applauded and monsters condemned. Huge cars will…you get the picture. It’s coming, believe me.
So at DDL I approached every person individually and engaged in climate conversations, with various results. There were a couple of young people who agreed that it was time for eco-terrorism (and here I thought I was being extreme)! Boomers ranged from hubris-ridden speeches about how it was too late to various versions of ‘fuck you’. The trigger for this usually happened when I earnestly tried to float the idea that I would fight happily beside a Nazi in the war against the climate crisis.
“Am I going to invest energy arguing about whether I am inferior to another person, if by shutting up I increase the chances of saving my own children?” I say with irrefutable logic.
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying when you’re in a war for survival nothing else matters. I’m saying if we could just put aside the differences that polarize us…”
“Are you actually saying that a reprehensible racist…”
“…who is fighting the crisis because he loves his children, as even reprehensible racists are wont to do…”
“I’m Jewish and my kid is trans. FUCK YOU.”
Yup, Dalhousie thinks just like you, which is why they fired me. We’re hurtling towards suicide but wait! Pronouns, pronouns! Reminds me of the looney-tunes feeling I got in the lead-up to Trump’s election. He was busy praising dictators and insulting visible minorities, women, the disabled, the grieving parents of a dead soldier, and the media was saying, hey, what about Clinton’s emails? This guy is totally insane but…emails! Emails!
Anyway, I’m Jewish and if trans mean you want to be the opposite sex I’m that too. Of course it was a French person who showed me the light—those romantic frogs. They were talking about happiness. Ever heard the word “happiness” in a French accent? That’s right, they drop the ‘H’ and stress the second syllable—aka, “a-penis”. I feel that my trajectory in life would have been very different if I’d had one of them, but never lose hope—if the Buddhists are right about reincarnation I might strike lucky next time. Oh, to experience the feeling that produces that scrunched-up focus on their faces when they penetrate! The best I can do is a one-second orgasm after an hour of diddling.
Another Dathun participant wrote a long letter stating the negative facts we all know under the mistaken belief that his brilliant argument for hopelessness would create admiration. But he was unable to hear the hope that I am trying to instil (if we all pull together, we can totally do this, but each and every one of us has a personal responsibility to transition away from consumerism and fossil fuels).
Towards the end, I asked if I could speak to the head teacher, despite the fact that he was much sought-after—the Buddhists certainly admire their teachers (I have no doubt that if I had been a Buddhist teacher I would have started to think my jizz was divine too--come back Sakyong--it's not your fault!).
Anyway, I digress: this wonderful person listened to me with absolute attention, and at the end of my monologue when I asked, “So if you agree that this is the biggest crisis humans will face and trust the experts who tell us there is time to reverse it, then why don’t you incorporate it into your teachings?”
He looked at me and said, “Yes. Why don’t I?”
After the Dathun had finished and the teacher had left, one of the participants told me that the teacher has asked for the lecture on the last day, which wraps up the entire Dathun, to focus on the climate. The participant explained that as a result, the lecturer had linked a particular writing of Chögyam Trungpa—where he calls us to action against the evils of the day—clearly to the climate crisis.
Boy, did I feel good! But why does one get angry, another try to impress, and the Teacher listen?
Fucked if I know!
Finally…I love your feedback! Someone mentioned that it might be useful to provide tips, on the basis that many people don’t know what to do. Great idea--I’ll provide a tip at the end of each post.
- Tip One: Hang up your laundry. “A new study found that dryers are the main source of microfiber pollution into the atmosphere, with each dryer responsible for releasing up to 120 million microplastic fibers into the air each year.” Plus, ,” Air-drying your clothes can reduce the average household’s carbon footprint by a whopping 2,400 pounds a year” (https://www.greenamerica.org/green-living/ditch-your-dryer)
PLUS, it’s pleasant to hang your clothes outside in the summer and they smell really good. If you hang up your clothes inside in the winter, they will add moisture to the very dry NS winter air, which is good for your skin. Only pluses here. It will soon be a pleasurable habit!