We’ve reached a sea-change in humanity’s awareness of the environmental crisis we are now facing. Many of us have known that this crisis has been building for a very long time. Back in the 1970s the Club of Rome warned us that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of resource depletion. Their report came out 47 years ago! 32 years ago, we as Druids started talking about the impending crisis, and began an eco-responsibility campaign and tree-planting programme.
Many people – scientists, environmentalists, and others – warned us of the five runaway trains that were heading towards us: resource depletion, population growth, habitat depletion and pollution, species extinction, climate change. As Druids it’s not that we were especially prescient – it’s just that our love of Nature made us pay attention, and made us start trying to make a difference in however small a way.
But the mass of humanity hasn’t been listening, has been in denial. But now something interesting and positive is happening. Greta Thunberg & schoolchildren the world over, the Extinction Rebellion movement, the work of David Attenborough, George Monbiot, and others, have ignited the world’s attention. The Labour Party and the Scottish National Party have agreed to declare a Climate Emergency. And today another UN report has reinforced what many have known already – we are facing not just a climate crisis, but an extinction crisis.
The burning question is: “Are we too late to make the changes needed? Have we gone beyond the tipping point?”
Some people are convinced we are too late. Others say that if we make a concerted effort we can turn the tide. They both have powerful arguments on their side. I think we should go for making the effort. But how? What can Druidry, as a Nature Spirituality, offer as guidance? As an embodied, nature-loving spirituality, I think most Druids would agree that we should combine both inner and outer efforts.
Here is some suggested outer activist activity:
1. Become as Ecologically Responsible as you can. Individually, reduce your carbon footprint, reduce your meat consumption, your use of plastic, your CO2 emissions. Do this at the corporate level too – in your work, and lobbying for change. At a political/global level: lobbying and acting for positive change. The Extinction Rebellion movement’s success in recent weeks shows this does work. As individuals we have more power than we think.
2. Druids love trees, worship them, relate to them as their mentors, allies, saviours even – since they literally give us life through the oxygen they create. So plant trees! For between $1 and £6 you can have a tree planted. About 4k people watch this. If each of us planted 10 trees, this one little ‘tea with a Druid’ session would initiate 40,000 trees being planted. Here are two tree planting programmes you could donate to, but there are many if you search online: Trees for Life in Scotland, One Tree Planted.
Druidry is a magical philosophy that believes the subtle, so-called ‘Inner’ world, is causal to the ‘Outer’ physical world. To effect changes in the physical world we need to make changes in the inner realms accessed through imagination and meditation. So Druidry advocates going deep into the forest (on both the outer and inner planes) to connect with the spiritual nature of the trees. The word Druid means Oak Sage, or Wise one of the Trees. Trees have much to give us not only on the outer plane but on the inner plane too. We need this to resource ourselves, to give us the emotional, psychological strength to cope with the anxieties of living through this crisis, but also in doing this, we work with the fundamental magical understanding that the inner affects and causes outer change…
Commune with trees both in Nature and in the inner imaginal world just as you would commune with someone you love: You love them, they love you. In the Tea session we entered a meditation to work in this inner way.