There’s lots being written and spoken about the very mixed bag that was COP27. On one hand, the “loss and damage” agreement, pledging to provide funding to climate-vulnerable countries. On the other hand, weasel words about fossil fuels, and apparent abandonment of the 1.5C goal. I’m of two minds. (Yes, again. It’s a complicated world.)

On the one hand, there’s no way that a COP wouldn’t be disappointing; the question is how much. No, it’s not even that. It’s more this: Let’s celebrate what we’ve achieved, and learn from what it took to get there. Let’s be clear-eyed about what’s not yet achieved, and about what it might take to get there. And then rededicate our efforts, and work like hell for the world we want.

On the the other hand: WTF! As George Monbiot put it: “For 50 years (starting with the Stockholm conference in 1972), they have kept us safely talking. Summit after environmental summit has failed even to begin the action that’s needed. At what point do we conclude that the process is part of the problem?”

You can dig into a substantive COP27 summary here.

And now what? If you’re involved with a business, if you have investments, if you buy anything, if you vote (or don’t), if you talk with anyone—what do you do? Where and how do you take effective action?

Our November Living Between Worlds call started with the matter of premature surrender—to climate doom as well as to rampant billionaires—and proceeded with this question: How can we, each and together, face uncertain futures, and even a sense of “inevitable” doom, with equanimity, focus, effectiveness—and even joy?

That’s where we started. Where we got to was a rich conversation about care, listening, and listening for care. I invite you to listen to the recording and register for our December call; we’ll explore the possibilities that listening, deeply and differently—even across the gulfs that divide us (maybe especially across those gulfs)—might open for us all.

Meantime, here’s some homework (whether you plan to join us or not):

  • Pay a little more attention in your interactions with people as to how you are listening for what they care about.
  • Notice how you attend to their cares. Do you acknowledge them? Do you deny or refute them? Are you affected by them? Do you switch the conversation to your own cares? Do you do something else?
  • What effect, if any, do you observe that your choices have on other people? (Remember, we’re using the word “concerns” not in the sense of “worries,” but in the sense of “what matters.”)

There is no need to change anything you do. Just let yourself become aware of how you notice and respond to the cares of others when you hear them. (And notice your own interpretations about what you notice. 😉

I don’t know whether Mr. Musk is incompetent, nefarious, both, neither, or something else. But I haven’t been happy with how eager some of the “good guys” have been to bail. Yes, it’s a mess, but I don’t see the sense of abandoning the zone to “them” when it’s still so enormously useful to us! I’ve established a presence on Mastodon (out of both protection and curiosity), but I mirror my posts between the two platforms. And of course I maintain my main professional presence on LinkedIn.

Some people kick down. Some people wrap up. Some people use the coming quieting time, and the pivoting season and light, to reflect, to consider what’s to come, and to try to prepare themselves to navigate and shape what’s to come. If I can be your ally in that process, please reach out—call me, drop me a line, apply to be a coaching client, or consider engaging me as the thought leader in your corner.

Happy Thanksgiving,

PS: What are you thankful for this year? If you have the blessing of sharing food with family and friends, consider your gratitude for the thin layer of living soil on which the living world depends, and for those whose labor brings your food to your table.

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