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The Climate Chronicles

Story is ancient culture, tested at many a fireplace and hearth.

Someone starts a story, perhaps one old itself or from that very day, about finding a source of water, an animal encounter, a veteran tree, planting seeds. Perhaps about a difficult choice, what was right and wrong. Maybe a great moment of transgression in life, a child given responsibility over the horses, a young woman about to give birth, an elder preparing to lead a death ritual.

Story was always about guidance. It tells us how to live well. It tells us of journeys, both inner and outer. It is intended to create agency, to encourage individuals to feel they can make the right kinds of choices for thought and action.

We don’t know what to do, how to decide what is best, how to create planet-spanning change.
We’re in a tight spot. It would be easy to believe nothing is working. What now?



The world tears at itself, wind sears through your chest. Now what?

These are big questions without simple answers. Here’s another: how can a just and fair transition to low-carbon, nature-positive and more equal ways of living occur fast enough and over sufficient areas of the planet to limit and then reverse the climate and nature crises?

Koans were first developed in the 700s ce, and have more than 1300 years of tradition and testing. In China they were originally called gong-an, meaning a public case, a place where the truth awaits.

Most of life is inconceivable. Living without fossil fuels seems so, for many people. Living without air pollution from cars, also seems inconceivable.

The Red Queen said, “Why sometimes I’ve believed, as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

A koan might also say: don’t try to mend the broken things. Just run right past, and create something entirely new.

A koan is thus performative. Instead of giving the reader-listener-audience advice, it assumes you are entirely capable of coming up with some kind of personal action.

This is the central theme of The Climate Chronicles. Stories and koans that crack open difficult problems with new thinking, and that lead to agency – the sense of being able to take positive action.

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