Last Sunday, a major event unfolded in our nation's capitol. The largest climate rally in US history took place in cold winter winds, in the shadow of the Washington Monument. An estimated forty to fifty thousand people gathered together to speak out against the Keystone XL pipeline, against fracking, and against business-as-usual energy policies that heat up Earth's atmosphere and continue to threaten the long-term viability of the planet.
In addition to the strong opposition to further extraction and use of fossil fuels, there was a conspicuous feeling of unity. Represented at the rally were a diversity of peoples and perspectives. From the stage, we heard the voices of a remarkable assembly of First Nations and Native American leaders, women, people of faith, people of color, scientists and activists. All of them are confronting on a daily basis the direct effects of serious climate change and dirty energy in their communities.
Though the tone of urgency was palpable, so too was the sense of hope that this event was part of an awakening of a deep common wisdom. Thomas Berry wrote that humanity would need to call upon a “four-fold wisdom” to develop a mutually-enhancing relationship with Earth. This four-fold wisdom — the wisdom of the feminine, of indigenous people, of classical religions, and of modern science — were on display in full and glorious force at the rally.
At this point in human history, we face urgent choices and complex problems. And everywhere, ordinary people are responding. Something is stirring that is unprecedented, and we are gathering as never before. Idle No More's defense of First Nations rights
in Canada, or 350.Org's movement to divest college monies from fossil fuel corporations
, or the many people who are blocking the path of the Keystone XL Tar Sands
pipeline are but three examples just on this continent.
This rising of an uncommon wisdom is everywhere across the planet. As we work to reverse the drift toward global warming, we will draw from our deepest reserves of inner wisdom to inform our actions. As Berry wrote, “We need all of the traditions. Each has its…own special contribution toward an integral wisdom tradition that seems to be taking shape in the emerging twenty-first century.”