The art of listening to each other for the environment and for peace

I have been watching the world watching Greta Thunberg, the young lady who has taken a stand on climate change. And not just in her own town of residence or even in her own country but a stand on the world and with that, the great leaders of the countries in it. Although inspiring to see, it’s particularly interesting to see the backlash it has caused in regards to opinions that seek to undermine her efforts; clearly a demonstration of how someone standing up for what they believe in can prove uncomfortable for some. And who are these people that are uncomfortable?

Our own Prime Minister has taken a defensive stance on how Australia is combatting against the climate crisis. In my own experience with living mostly abroad in developing countries, I do have to admit that we have a huge advantage of making changes and have done so with a great majority of the local community getting behind the new regulations such as the plastic bag ban. There are so many organisations out there that are not waiting for the government to make changes. Rather, taking accountability for increasing peoples’ knowledge through a variety of means.

But it does take a toll. Greta is being criticised for not only her age, but by the way she looks, the way she dresses and of course, her Asperger’s. Quite a drastic retaliation when the people she is directing her rage at are the very people that can make changes and make a difference. She is seen as a threat and for some, she represents the classic ‘preaching activist’ that many have come to find distasteful. She is apparently not mature and responsible enough to know what she is talking about, however, the people that manage to shed her in a negative light are actually mature and responsible enough to listen.

Climate change is a very real issue, regardless of whether you think that we are entering a crisis or if you think that it’s a natural process of the Earth. Media takes our attention in different platforms so we have no excuse to think that we have no idea of what is going on. It is up to each individual to do their research. Whether it is Greta Thunberg or Donald Trump taking a stand and hollering out their grievances, action can start now with our own choices, as little as you may think they are. We have to believe that the choices we make help in our small way. Because collectively, it helps in a big way.

The point of this blog is to ask that you take a step away from the continuous arguments that is shown on the television or the constant trolling on Facebook or Instagram and take a look within yourself and ask what you believe in and what you stand for? Do these beliefs carry with it a good foundation to share towards the younger generation, the ones that are going to live in this world when we have left it behind? And how can we get the older generation to be still and consider when they have had, for many, a challenging past that has shaped how we live today? We cannot simply ignore this.

We are so focused on getting our opinions and thoughts across; however, not enough listening goes on. And this is not just in regards to higher influencers that can make momentous changes. It’s in our own daily lives when we think we are communicating. This very term means to share and exchange information, news or ideas. How does one expect to make any change happen when you are just waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can reply with your already thought-up response? Could I possibly infer that ego comes into it very strongly?

Yes, we can take a strong stance on issues, and climate change is a good one and affects all of us. How can we effectively make opposing groups sit down and collaborate rather than feed their own interests by shouting to the world that they are right? We can set an example in our own little world and in our own little way. Many have become set in our thinking and are defensive and not understanding and tolerant of another’s view. We can all try to make an effort. Sit down and listen to someone that has a very different belief to you on a topic. Just listen. Like, really listen. You may find that you learn something valid.

Would it really kill you?