“We don’t respond to ‘natural’ events with the outrage we bring to a terrorist strike or a nuclear accident. Psychologically, we’re wired to respond to a human enemy that’s coming to get us.”

—Andrew Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications

Mindfulness helps us pay attention to the present moment, purposely, and non-judgmentally. It helps us open ourselves to others, and it elevates our level of empathy and compassion. Mindfulness is a practice that opens us up to the oneness we all are with the environment, and all living beings.

Many of us, can enhance the connection we have with the environment through Mindfulness, that can lead us not only, to a better understanding of our surroundings, but to a better understanding of how climate change impacts the most vulnerable communities who are the least responsible for carbon emissions. The practice of Mindfulness can lead us to change our current consumption practices to mindful consumption practices.

We start by changing the way we react to external stimuli; our change and perception of the environment begins from within. Mindfulness lead us to achieve ours and others wellbeing. Living a healthy life will lead the mindfulness practitioners to make choices that produce changes, for example: buying products that make us healthier, and/or speaking up when decisions by corporations and politics put the wellbeing of our communities at risk.

Climate change seems a distant and unreal fact to many individuals who act in denial and push away the scientific data that supports climate change. We as practitioners of Mindfulness, have a moral obligation to extend with compassion the awakening experience of an individual to the collectivity that might not be awaken. One way to help reconnect adults with nature and the environment is to engage them in activities where they can connect the dots…climate change and healthy food (mindful eating), climate change and energy consumption, climate change and transportation (carpooling, bike, walk) to reduce carbon emissions. The concept of social and economic justice can be introduced with a “kindness” exercise/practice, sending love to themselves, to their loved ones and to people that they don’t know who suffer from climate change. This practice can be extended with a 20 or 30 days’ challenge of adopting a new personal consumption behavior, or engaging into one civic action in their communities. 

We, Mindfulness practitioners, facilitators, educators and trainers will continue to remind our followers of the necessity of caring about others, and the consequences that our actions and consumption choices have on the collectivity. We can start making the shift if we focus on the solutions for our communities, as well as looking for solutions for the most vulnerable ones.  

Published by Maria Santiago- Valentín