The Truth Allows Us to Grow
Facing the truth makes us, as individuals and societies, healthier and more resilient. It allows us to approach problems with rationality, creativity and energy that would otherwise be sapped by denial and avoidance.
Social Movements invite us to put into practice – the live our lives in accordance with the truth, and to share it with outers. This takes dedication and courage. Successful social movements provide the support, camaraderie, and sense of moral purpose that liberate these traits in individuals. When people become agents for truth and vital change, they are elevated, enlarged, and lit-up. The truth, and their roles in advancing it, affects how they view themselves, what matters to them, and how they conduct their affairs. The power of truth allows them to transcend their limitations and redefine what is possible.
Psychologist and climate activist Mary Pipher puts it this way:
“We cannot solve a problem that we will not face. With awareness, everything is possible. Once we stop denying the hard truths of our environmental collapse, we can embark on a journey of transformation that begins with the initial trauma—the ‘oh shit’ moment—and can end with transcendence. In fact, despair is often a crucible for growth. When our problems seem too big for us to tackle, there’s really only one solution, which is: We must grow bigger.”
In a social movement, one does not face the need for change alone, nor does one need to take action alone. We support each other’s pursuit of truth, and urge one another to ever greater acts of courage. What is impossible by one or by a few becomes achievable by many.
The Most Powerful Truth of All
We are living in a state of planetary emergency and must mobilize our society on the scale of WWII in order to rapidly bring greenhouse gas emissions to a net zero, and draw down the huge amount of excess carbon dioxide that has accumulated in the atmosphere to have a chance of averting the collapse of civilization and the destruction of the living world. We are already witness increasing droughts, agricultural failures, refugee crisis, epidemics political destabilization and state-failure. In the medium term we face global collapse of governance and food systems, costing humanity billions of lives. The fact that we have warmed the world to this extent, and show little sign of stopping, is evidence of wise spread institutional failure. We cannot expect anyone else to save us. We must do it ourselves.
This truth, while deeply unwelcome, has the potential to be the most powerful, transformative truth of all. Climate truth has the potential to be more powerful than any country’s independence; more powerful than overthrowing authoritarian states; and more powerful than civil rights or any group’s struggle for safety, recognition and equality. Climate truth contains such superordinate power because all of those causes depend on a safe climate. – Margaret Klein-Salamon, excerpt from manuscript; ‘The Transformative Power of Climate Truth