Our oceans are in big trouble. Not only are they increasingly polluted with chemicals and dangerous trash, such as plastics, their very nature is being changed by increasing CO2 levels and warming of the water.
Few places are more sensitive to this increase in water temperature and decrease in pH (popularly called ocean acidification) than the world’s coral reefs. Some experts say that as much as 19% of ocean reefs have already been destroyed. And it’s only getting worse, as I explain in my “extreme science” post today called:
Because the problem is so big—yes, global—and because we humans rarely change habitual ways of doing things until absolutely forced to do so, it’s easy to get discouraged. But for this very reason, and precisely because human beings are in fact the cause of global warming and most environmental destruction on Earth, we can’t afford not to do everything in our power to help bring about change.
Cultivating qualities that help bring change
Political, social, and economic change can be greatly enhanced and strengthened by the qualities of compassion, mindfulness, equanimity, and loving-kindness that we bring to our efforts to save the planet from ourselves. And of course, as followers of this blog know, I’m an advocate of directed, radiant metta towards every problem and pain we face.
If you feel the urgency of this problem of global warming, and related environmental issues, I hope you will join me in ongoing metta for our stressed ecosystems and the beings that live in them. Perhaps hardest of all, those very people who stand in the way of meaningful change need our metta too.
At the bottom of almost everything we dislike in ourselves and in others comes some from sort of fear about self—about “me” and “mine.” Whether or not we think another’s fear is justified, or deluded and self-serving, doesn’t matter. Ignorance and fear is the enemy; not other people. And nothing gets at our aversion to others and their shortcomings like metta.
Metta to help our reefs
If you already have a metta practice, then you know what to do. We have to start with loving-kindness toward our own fear and anger. And then, as we gain the presence and spaciousness of love, expand the circle of our love and compassion. If the idea of metta is new to you, you’ll find plenty of helpful instruction at this site. You might want to start with the “Metta Resources” page.
The main thing is that we don’t become complacent or give up to despair. Trillions of beings, little and big, depend on what we do as environmental stewards of this planet. Our metta practice can help us bring more light and less “heat” to the problem of global warming, blessing our own lives and changing societies and governments as well.
Countless reef creatures, like this dear Blenny fish, are depending on us to care enough to act and think with love and wisdom and to help save our reefs. What will we do?