Learn and Unlearn
Why does it matter?
The extent of our climate emergency has been concealed from us for decades through euphemisms, fake news, and deliberate acts of duplicity perpetrated by governments and corporations. Coming to terms with this is terrifying and it raises all kinds of agonising questions about what we can believe and who we can trust.
Equally excruciating is the acknowledgement that, for far too long, we have been the willing accomplices to our own deception. There is certainly no shortage of information out there so what’s stopping us from learning the truth?
With so much information out there, even trying to decide where to start can feel overwhelming to the point of paralysis. And once you know, you have to live as though you know what you know. But in the end, protecting ourselves or others from painful truths about our planet is exhausting, isolating, and anxiety provoking as unexpressed fears and feelings mount up over time.
On the other hand, learning about the problems of climate crisis builds resilience. Exploring possible responses can alleviate the sense of helplessness that often accompanies eco-anxiety.
It is also important to consider the bigger picture implications of choosing whether or not to want to learn the truth. As an attitude, ‘wanting to know’ supports us to be responsible, curious, and empathetic. An attitude of ‘not wanting to know’ invites apathy and denial. Choosing to learn is an expression of ‘wanting to know.’
Just as important as choosing to learn is the willingness to unlearn the habits of mind and ways of being in the world that we are coming to recognise as being dangerous and destructive. These include, but are not limited to, the attitudes that lead to ecocide, sexism, misogyny, racism, homophobia, and violence against First Peoples.