Step 2

Acknowledge that We Are All a Part of the Problem

The ways that we try to conceal our inadequacies are usually worse than what we are trying to conceal.

We can all think of ways that we could live in more ecologically responsible ways. Diet, travel, and family size are three of the most significant ways to reduce our impact.

But no matter how consciously we consume, no matter how “green” our lifestyle, we still contribute to climate change just by being a part of this civilization. We are all caught up in a system too vast for any individual to even comprehend, much less change. That does not absolve us of responsibility, however.

Of course, there are individuals and institutions who, by virtue of having greater power in this system, also have greater responsibility. Greedy oil executives and corrupt politicians are obvious culprits. But we cannot evade our own responsibility by pointing the finger at them.

While we work to change the system, we must still live within the system. Therefore we must try to navigate that system with as much integrity as possible, even while knowing that our choices are limited by forces beyond our control.

When we’re honest with ourselves about our own responsibility, we can avoid projecting our feelings of guilt onto other individuals or groups. Holding space for our feelings of guilt or shame allows us to act from a place of integrity and compassion for others.

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