Using The 12 Step Program To Defeat Climate Change
- We admitted we were powerless over [fossil fuels] — that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to [climate deniers], and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Climate change can seem a daunting problem. While it’s easy for some of us to think solar/wind/batteries instead of oil/coal/natural gas, the sheer magnitude of over a century of fossil fuel ingratiation, assets, business plans, and thinking is hard to break for most people, both in motivation and in power plants currently in use and already paid for.
So we can look to another model of breaking a bad and destructive habit for inspiration. Here, then, is each step translated to breaking our addiction to
alcohol fossil fuels and moving on to superior and sustainable renewable energy.
1.) We admitted we were powerless over [fossil fuels] — that our lives had become unmanageable.
The first step to solving any problem is identifying the problem and accepting its harmful effects on us. Living in denial only works until the bills come due and eventually overwhelm us. We know climate change is an existential risk. In fact, a majority of the population shares this view, even when they vote for more climate destruction because their addiction to hate, lies, and easy answers matters more than defeating climate change. The longest journey begins with a single step.
2.) Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Accepting there is a solution is fundamental to making the journey from beginning to end, even if we cannot fathom how the solution works when we are just starting out. An uncertain future without a crutch is scary. However, you must accept that you can change the future and that renewable energy is superior to fossil fuel–induced climate change.
3.) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
The future contains uncertainty and the journey forward will be long. Many give up in the face of this adversity and regress to past maladaptive coping mechanisms to hide from the original problem. But we must accept uncertainty is defeatable and accept that taking the right steps will lead us to a carbon-free future.
4.) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
We must seek to understand exactly where we are now, fully understand why it will no longer work, and accept that this path is unsustainable in the future. And how the coping mechanisms we used worked until now are untenable from this point forward. This may seem a simple cut and dried piece of thinking, but it’s far more complicated. We got to where we are with good intentions. Plus, the familiar holds powerful sway over us. However, we must not be afraid to reevaluate our relationship to fossil fuels. There are motivations and money behind why we are on the wrong path, and industries have built their livelihoods upon it. We must understand how and why this works.
5.) Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
We must accept the sins we have committed, even if we thought they were innocuous at the time or that we didn’t have better options or that we were not yet ready to change. We must forgive ourselves and not use guilt as justification to fear admitting the reality of our situation, or use denial to rationalize future harm to the climate.
6.) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
We must accept that we cannot change the past, and that we are not yet near the end of the journey to redemption, but that we can be forgiven for not yet being perfect. Getting off fossil fuels will not happen overnight, but with perseverance progress is 100% achievable.
7.) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
The future is ours to shape and we must have the courage to move forward to living a better life and climate sustainability. We must build any new tools we need to succeed.
8.) Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
We must fully understand the harms we have caused to all of humanity, and be willing to admit them to ourselves and to each other. And we must find the courage to develop detailed, realistic, and comprehensive plans for the future, starting today, to rapidly move away from fossil fuels.
9.) Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
We must immediately implement those detailed plans. Half-hearted amends are counter productive, we must go all in. And we must succeed. To replace fossil fuels, we need to build large supplies of solar/wind/batteries and we need to create plans to achieve their rapid deployment. Not defeating climate change would gravely injure all of humanity.
10.) Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
Redemption is not as easy as flicking a switch. And if we commit any future missteps, we should own up to them (instead of returning to denial), but never falter in our certainty that we can defeat climate change.
11.) Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
When we feel demoralized, we must find the courage to keep moving forward, whether that’s in ourselves, each other, or new ideas. There will be many bumps in the road ahead and challenges that we cannot fully anticipate. But we can be emotionally prepared for them to arrive and ensure we have the courage to face them head on and slay every fossil fuel demon.
12.) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to [climate deniers], and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
We must work together to slay this demon. It is insidious, it has a long personal and societal history, and it will repeatedly tempt us to give up and take the easy path backwards to where we were. But we cannot go back, for that will destroy us. We must be here for each other and work together to help raise awareness of this insidious problem, and rally all of humanity to see the light and to realize that all of us have the power (pun intended) to give up our addiction to fossil fuels.
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- ^ Clean Power (cleantechnica.com)
- ^ Barry A.F. (cleantechnica.com)
- ^ The 12 Steps (en.wikipedia.org)
- ^ matters more than defeating climate change (cleantechnica.com)
- ^ holds powerful sway (cleantechnica.com)
- ^ understand the harms (cleantechnica.com)
- ^ all of humanity (www.scientificamerican.com)
- ^ And that alternatives are superior in many cases (cleantechnica.com)
- ^ 12 Step Program (cleantechnica.com)
- ^ Posts by Barry A.F. (cleantechnica.com)
- ^ Philosophy (en.wikipedia.org)
- ^ A link to all my articles (cleantechnica.com)