Here are the choices. We can believe the ecological emergency has nothing to do with us, or with yoga. The weather's pretty unpredictable in any case, and there are all kinds of wars and other happenings. Keeping ourselves focused on yoga practice is about looking after ourselves. That’s it.
It's easy to denigrate this approach but it's also remarkably common, and in a sense, fully understandable. After all, if you look out of the window right now you're probably seeing weather that is at least related to weather you're familiar with. If you look at the news it’s roughly the same as it’s always been. There’s no emergency, any more than there’s ever been an emergency. We’re still alive, still trucking along in temperate zone or desert, with more or less the same plants and animals around us, more or less the same number of homeless people. Hey, what’s new?
We can also get depressed and angry that things are so much worse than they used to be. Using plastic bags, trying not to fly, bathing less (yes… I do all these…) eating less or no meat - these look ridiculously insignificant against the fires and military operations, the floods and droughts, the huge waves of immigration, the vast consumer clutches of Amazon, the data centres and super-trawlers. We can get really angry and spend our time at protests, blaming multinationals and tax avoidance schemes, waving banners and shouting ourselves hoarse at rallies. Despising the ignorance of the other.
It’s easy to mock the overkill of protest, the gatherings and marches that bring angry scenes into our capitals. But this, too, is a fully understandable response to the injustices and corruption, the exploitation and abuse that we must say NO to if we are to maintain any sense of self respect. These people care. They might also drown their sorrows in alcohol, or hot yoga, running or cocaine, sweating out the rage, or burying it in a quick search for oblivion or pain.
The third and most difficult and demanding option is to realise that what's going on is inseparable from us. We're in it. We are not separate from all that is emerging into our awareness. What we realise is what we come to awareness of, and it is also what we make real. We are the climate. We are biodiversity. We are attitude polarisation. Because every single time we interact, and we have no choice but to interact, we make real what our attitude is. Atmosphere is affected by terrestrial and marine systems. Both are affected by human attitudes. We have changed the world by what we think about the world, and by how that's caused and is causing us to act. To shift the ecological emergency from a trajectory of increasing suffering, we must start realising that yoga is attitude, it is the way we do everything, including how we act towards ourselves, others and the more-than-human world in every interchange. The more awareness we bring, and the more we realise that we bring kindness if we allow it to come through us because we are kind, we are kin, we are cooperative elements of a dance of existence, the more hope there is that we will shift trajectory to a little less suffering, to a little more compassion and love, to a state of the world where we can realise that we are part of a huge community of being, that we belong, that we are one.