There is an important lesson embedded,
Unlike war correspondents in Iraq,
In the current debate raging over
Its definition, its existence, even its extent
Are all up for grabs,
Where large-scale agreement is concerned.
It does not matter that the scientific research
Community has largely agreed on several points,
Including whether global warming actually exists as described.
The dispute lives on because people decide to disagree.
Other disputants have their reasons, some persuasive and less,
For dismissing it as poppycock. Some worry about
The costs of combating global warming
And choose to turn a blind eye to preserve
Their profit margins - the here and now.
Some skeptics wait for the entire scientific community
To announce total agreement on the subject,
As if global warming were capable of being treated as a universal constant,
Like the charge of the electron or the speed of light.
Until the most powerful disputants simply decide
To stop disagreeing, the debate will thrive.
This is the most important and least appreciated point:
The trigger for change is simple will power.
So what is the important lesson here? You have a choice.
The decision is yours. Power is in your possession. This lesson
Does not care which way the debate goes. This lesson simply cares
About you – it cares about emboldening and empowering you.
This is a great beginning to any discussion.
A friendly reminder - you are entitled to believe what you choose
And free to decide what you like. An acknowledgment like this
Is a great way of saying, “I won’t punish you for making your choice.”
Sometimes the choices we make punish us.
The actions we take -after we decide to take-
Action sometimes turn out to have bad consequences for us and others.
Another important lesson: we punish ourselves by making bad choices.
Others don’t punish us, we do this to ourselves.
This lesson also cares about you –
It cares about warning you to make wise choices.
It cares about warning you not to blame others for the choices you make.
There is of course no way to continue living without making choices,
So it is in vain and completely delusional
To try to protect oneself against making bad choices by making no choices at all.
So, how do we make sure our choices are good?
I will tell you.
First, acknowledge uncertainty and know that you will
Make some bad choices in your life
No matter how careful you are to make good ones.
Second, realize that by acknowledging uncertainty
You have already won half the battle.
Reward yourself for embracing uncertainty. Celebrate
Liberation from the impossible and frustration-producing mindset
Of thinking that things must be absolutely certain.
Like the word “perfection, ” the word “certainty”
Will always be beyond your grasp until you really acknowledge uncertainty.
Once this becomes a part of your fundamental belief system,
You will be able to use the words “certain” and “perfect” again.
But this time you will be describing a limited certainty, or a limited perfection.
Certainty and perfection are approachable, but will reproach you
For trying to touch them. Acknowledging uncertainty is a stepping stone
Towards Buddhism, but one does not have to continue on that path
To earn the wisdom of that stone. Go where you will,
But feel the firm pressure of this stone beneath your feet.
Like a guardian angel, belief in uncertainty protects you
From the guaranteed futility
[8-31-04 Santa Rosa, CA]
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.