The interplay of environmental degradation and geopolitics has had alarming repercussions. Over the past decade alone, millions of people have been displaced by war, famine, and drought. The world is shifting rapidly as a result of climate change and there’s little doubt we’ll see increasing humanitarian crises. We must face this new reality as a global community.
The tragedy we’re witnessing in so many places around the world is heartbreaking. Responses on the ground and in the media to events in Paris, Beirut, Syria, and elsewhere have ranged from inspiring to chilling. Too often, people express fear and distress as anger, suspicion, and scapegoating.
For many reasons and in many ways, people and nature are in distress. Quaker activist and author Parker Palmer implores us to ask, “What shall we do with our suffering?” The way we deal with our pain has critical implications. Whether we project it outward as war or murder or absorb it as despair and self-destruction, “Violence is what we get when we do not know what else to do with our suffering.”