Achieving climate action targets feels like a mountain: here’s how to climb it
I know that you’ve been working hard, adjusting and readjusting; and I know that you’re conscious of the urgent need to engage and empower our communities to take climate action.
It feels like we have a mountain to climb; but there are ways to climb mountains…and then there are ways to climb mountains.
I’ll be honest…this person in the picture is not me…I managed to get myself stuck on a chairlift the other week and now I’m banned from hanging off things.
Believe me…I am definitely not a mountain climber in the traditional way that you might imagine.
Instead, I am a wanderer of mountain paths, eater of wild berries, listener to eagles, watcher of butterflies, I stand jaw-dropped in awe at 1000-year old trees, looking with them into the big blue vastness of the sky…feeling myself reflected and restored in each step away from the noise and the clicking and the screens and the algorithm nudges.
Climbing mountains, is all about believing that you can; but you can be ‘on’ a mountain or, you can be ‘of’ the mountain.
‘On’ a mountain tends to flip people into competition, straight-lines, hard edges…some strange, misplaced sense of entitlement to get somewhere first and fast. It’s a forcing of wills over the conditions. You can get to where you want to go as an act of conquering. The effort is unquestionable, usually involving sore feet and suffering. It’s about being ON the mountain. I speak from experience, having slogged my way up Kilimanjaro, using this approach.
For me, it took living in the mountains to realise that climbing them is all about the paths that wind and traverse and intersect; that there are many ways to get to where you need to go. And, if you are willing to be present to all that’s around you, the walk become a continuous unfolding into flourishing. Inside and out. It allows for possibilities by being in the rhythm of the mountain’s eco-system, it allows for community.
‘Of’ the mountain is about tapping into those ancient and sacred wisdoms of stillness, moving from your core to adapt to the constantly changing conditions, feeling with your feet, listening with your heart and responding with courage.
I find that when I walk paths this way, I become ‘of’ the mountain, aligned and interdependent and hopeful and full of wonder. And so, through this gentle act of being ‘of’ the mountain, I believe I can climb them.
With each step, mountains reflect the wisdoms that need to live through us. We need these because we have a mountain to climb in taking climate action…and it’s going to require each of us to take some radical steps to get to where we need to go, to be on the paths that we need to be on over the next 10 years if we are going to reverse the damage and restore the planet that literally breathes us.
Our choice is how we do this. We can be ‘on’ the mountain. Or, we can be ‘of’ the mountain.
The question is, “How can we be ‘of’ the mountain wherever we are in the world?”
We just need to start with the wisdom of moving from the core of stillness which guides us forward: the stillness that is the home of our belief that we can, in however small a way, contribute to the flourishing of nature, people and planet.
Being ‘of’ the mountain is about leaving no-one behind. It’s about making the space for each of us to engage our communities, to bring them with us, to empower them to believe that they can climb this mountain too.
Being ‘of’ the mountain means that we believe that we can reach our climate action targets by starting where we are now, imagining the possibilities and walking the path that unfolds them into flourishing futures for all.