May the Force be with you in 2016: Finding Balance

Christmas season 2015 will probably be remembered for two things: Star Wars Episode VII “The Force Awakens” and something going dreadfully wrong with the weather. Killers tornadoes in Dallas, epic winter flooding in Missouri and Britain and an eerily warm Christmas for most of the Northeastern part of our shared continent of North America. Then on December 30, 2015, a cyclone ripped through the Arctic raising temperatures at the North Pole above freezing – 1 to 2 degrees Celsius (1.8 to 3.6 degrees F) – an extremely rare occurance. This happened in the warmest December on record and during the warmest year on record.

Just prior to the release of Star Wars Episode VII and the weirded weather, actor Harrison Ford, a.k.a. Star Wars’ Han Solo, shared harsh words in an Australian interview: if we don’t work together the “consequences will be disastrous” not immediately, but for our children and ultimately the future of humanity. “The planet will be OK, there just won’t be any damn people on it.”

This is what change feels like.

But how do we stay balanced?

It is a tricky task for climate-concerned citizens to stay balanced in the face of calamity. Weirded weather often triggers strong emotions. Some people may suffer  from climate trauma – which is post-traumatic stress disorder for climate activists. After the first time I lobbied in Washington DC in June 2011, I discovered a powerful cure for climate trauma: communicating truth to power.

Climate change can be a very dark subject.  Sometimes allegories – hidden meanings within stories – can ease stressful truths.

Anakan Skywalker, Jedi-knight turned Sith Lord Darth Vader, was supposed to restore balance back to the Force.

What if climate change is our “Darth Vader” –  a massive change agent from the “dark side” that eventually will bring balance to Earth?

In the next four years two things will probably happen:
1) The third Star Wars trilogy will conclude and we may finally find out how Anakin Skywalker was meant to restore balance to the Force.
2) Humanity will tackle the climate crisis in earnest, now that there was a global agreement to do so at the climate talks in Paris in December.

We are not out of danger yet. We can build a better future because of the climate crisis. We just need to keep deepening relationships with people of influence and communicate our solution.

During Christmas, CCL Toronto member, Lyn Adamson,  looked in vain for serious coverage of the weirded weather in her local media and found none. She wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the Toronto Star titled, “Cover the dark side of warming,” asking the media to cover the urgency of the climate crisis and the solutions.

Therein lies balance – communicating truth to power.

The Earth’s climate has become unbalanced by humans. We have to face the truth as scary as it is: climate change threatens civilization but it is also providing us an opportunity to change.

As the weather catastrophes mount, more people will awaken. And because Citizens’ Climate Lobby has been creating the political will for carbon fee and dividend across borders in North America since 2010, using truth, respect and a proven model of citizen engagement, we are becoming too connected to fail.

Happy New Year Citizens’ Climate Lobby. May the Force be with you.

Cathy Orlando
National Manager – Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Cathy Orlando has put her words to work for the climate by getting letters and opinion pieces published in newspapers in every province in Canada. When she’s not safeguarding the climate alongside the best volunteers on the planet, you can probably find her stargazing, dancing, reading books not about climate change, hanging out with her husband Sanjiv, and mothering her three cherished daughters.