If we listen to a common narrative being presented today, there is a lot to be afraid of when we hear the words Climate Change. We can observe the early formation of this narrative in documentaries such as the 2006 Oscar Award winning An Inconvenient Truth. In this documentary former US Vice President has an alarming message to share about Global Warming, and he continues to share it by delivering lucrative key note speeches, a pretty good retirement gig. You may also remember Al’s ex-wife Tipper as one of the key individuals responsible for spearheading the censorship movement back in the 90’s, and An Inconvenient Truth adopts a similar practice of shaming, blaming, and projecting fearful apocalyptic warnings seen throughout the documentary. Much of the documentaries fear-based messages warn us that if we don’t address this now, arctic ice will melt, oceans will rise, and well, goodbye California. However, as time went on and some of the projected inconvenient truths didn’t transpire, people started to question the narrative of ‘Global Warming’. Of course with any dying movement, sometimes all it requires for resurrection is some shiny new packaging, better spin, fresh marketing, a little lipstick on a pig so to speak and voila, the Climate Change movement was born. Similar to Global Warming the modern Climate Change narrative is based on propagating FEAR. This fresh new spin allows us to not only be afraid of the planet warming, we can now be afraid all the time, as our planets climate is constantly changing. But fear is a very poor motivator in the long run, especially in terms of lasting long-term behavioral change within a human population. Instead of selling fear and scaring people into compliance, wouldn’t we be much better off empowering and building up the self-worth and self-esteem of our brothers and sisters. We need to shift our focus to actually getting to the root cause of current issues at hand, and provide a simple practical solution that every man, woman, and child can take up today, and that solution is adopting a practice of Cleanliness.

Brittanica website defines Climate Change to be ‘periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.’  This online encyclopedia identifies seven key areas that effect climate change. These include: Solar variability, Volcanic activity, Tectonic activity, Orbital (Milankovich) variations, Greenhouse gases, Feedback, and Human activities. Yet only one of the seven causes gains focus and attention of the mainstream media, Human Activity, why is that? When was the last time you heard a Climate Change news story that focused on Solar variability, or Orbital variations? Wouldn’t it be more honest to devote equal stories and attention to all seven of the causes? Doesn’t focusing on just one cause shift focus unfairly onto human activity and potentially have the byproduct of producing stress, anxiety, and panic across the population at large? Don’t people tend to make more irrational choices, assumptions, and decisions, when in a state of fear, as opposed to a neutral, relaxed, or calm state? Who or what will benefit from all of this misinformation, and misdirection?

Back when I studied science in Junior High the topic of concern of the day was that the Greenhouse gases in our atmosphere would account for the planets continual warming… years later I would learn through enrollment in University level Astronomy courses, that if our sun gains or loses a spot (sun spot) that alone would have a greater impact on the planet than anything we humans could ever do. I held the information presented to me by my astrophysicist instructor to have a bit more weight, than that of my junior high science teacher, not simply because it was correct, and the individual was clearly more intelligent and honest, but because there was no fear-based agenda behind it. This instructor loved what he did, and was excited about the universe. The truth resonated in his lectures, because the only agenda was to open our minds up to our solar system, and our universe. And for the most part, we are at most a minor influence in terms of our ability to affect our planets overall temperature or climate.

So why then is there such a continual push towards promoting this one-sided outlook on Climate Change. One main reason, FEAR SELLS! Fear sells stories, triggers panic, and when we are looking to create a movement in a large group or population, fear can quickly establish compliance. Upon shouting fire or activating an alarm system in a crowded building, we can observe the human fear response first hand by watching individuals quickly move towards exit points. No one wants to burn to death, and complying and exiting the building is life preserving. Another effective use of the one-sided Climate Change narrative would be through the creation or manufacturing of a scapegoat. Whether the assigned scapegoat falls on specific industry activities, or individual behavior, we now have something or someone to blame, to punish, and of course to tax, and we all know how governments love to tax, especially when under the guise of saving the planet.

Now, before you become too outraged or angered by my statements here, ‘How dare you!’as Greta Thunberg would say, notice I have yet to address pollution. Pollution is a serious problem and concern that all of us existing on the planet need to take a personal look at, both inward and outward. An error occurs though when we look at pollution through lens of fear, or a lens of Climate Change, as this is clearly not the best approach. What can you do personally today, tomorrow, or perhaps ever to directly affect the climate on our planet? Not a damn thing! So just STOP IT! Instead of looking at Climate Change, with its negative associations of feeling and being powerless, lets simply shift our approach to a focus on Cleanliness, something that allowing each and every one of us to begin taking direct action, right now, today! Adopting a focus on cleanliness begins in your direct and immediate environments, your home, workplace, school, or organization. From their it extends and reaches outwards into your local community, municipality, region, province or state, and country.

Here in Alberta there is an annual event that clubs across the province take part in known as the Provincial highway cleanup. This activity allows non-profit organizations to engage in an activity where members enjoy some fresh air and exercise, walking down a stretch of highway, picking up trash, simple, practical. Through cleaning up the environment, they earn money to help support their club, and partake in a social event where every volunteer enjoys that great feeling of having contributed directly towards cleaning up the planet. If we were to drive up and down the highway prior to the cleanup, and then again at the days end taking pictures, documenting the direct results of the activity the evidence of change in the environment would be crystal clear. Some other things we would notice in the pictures, before, after, and during the activity, was that there was no protesting, no picketing, simply hard working volunteers collaborating as a community to help keep our highways clean of litter and waste pollution.

What if we took this concept one step further? We could adapt and expand it into an experiential learning activity for those in junior high and/or high school. Instead of a highway, lets apply the principle of cleanliness instead down at a local riverbank/riverbed. The day could kickoff by having an Indigenous Elder perform a land acknowledgement ceremony and discuss the importance that the river system had on previous first nations. The morning would continue on with students cleaning up the riverbanks, picking up litter while engaging in a physical outdoor activity. Lunch could be provided and another speaker, perhaps this time a municipal official from the local water treatment plant would discuss the process involved in cleaning and purifying the water from the river so it is safe for human consumption, prior to being piped to our homes. Students would continue to clean up the riverbanks throughout the afternoon, and prior to the end of the day, everyone would participate in a group sharing activity, to discuss lessons learned, and set daily activities and personal goals around adopting Cleanliness into their day-to-day life. Would you have enjoyed an experience such as this if it had been part of your junior high/high school education? Would this have been beneficial for you beyond the activities of the day?

Through experiencing activities of cleanliness first hand, students can learn and become empowered that they can take action and accomplish results immediately. What before was dirty, has now become clean. Students may start by adopting a practice at home, cleaning their room, or other areas of the home. Some may look at ways to prevent and/or minimize waste, reusing items when possible. Others may further explore Cleanliness concepts adopting an inward or self-directed focus, cleaning their bodies through improved personal hygiene, nourishing their bodies by choosing whole grains, fruits and vegetables, rather than processed food. And wouldn’t it be amazing if some students began to recognize that when they clean up the thoughts they have have about themselves in mind, from negative, to positive, almost immediately they begin to experience an improvement in their overall self-worth, and self-esteem. Cleanliness could really catch on quick! Cleanliness could become contagious! There is a reason they say, cleanliness is next to godliness. When individuals discover the true virtue of their own self-worth, acknowledging that ‘I am basically clean and good, and I am worthy of being loved’ true change happens at both the cellular and spiritual level.

In 2019 Greta Thunberg became Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, preaching a message of guilt, a message of shame, through stating three words – ‘How Dare YOU!’ Meanwhile Boyan Slat, the young man who founded the Ocean Cleanup project at age 18, presented on October 26, 2019 his new plan to address the main source of the continual ocean plastic problem: rivers. Boyan identified that rivers feed directly into our oceans, and if plastic are continually entering the ocean this way, this is a problem. Luckily Boyan has a solution to meet this problem head on. The Interceptor is the first scalable solution to intercept river plastic pollution, being deployed in the most polluting rivers around the world. To learn more about Boyan’s 2019 project visit: http://www.oceansplasticleanup.com/Cleaning_Up_Operations/The_Ocean_Cleanup/2019_Interceptor_Rivers_Trash_Litter_Cleanup_Projects_Boyan_Slat.htm.

Boyan Slat focused his company on Principles of Cleanliness, cleaning up the oceans, cleaning up the rivers. His projects are actively cleaning up some of the dirtiest rivers on the planet, along with self-automated systems that are skimming our ocean surfaces, continually cleaning up refuse and debris. Prior to reading this article you may have never heard of Boyan Slat, and even if you had, you have probably heard far fewer news stories featuring Boyan, compared to those featuring Greta. Boyan doesn’t preach a message of fear, and since FEAR SELLS, that doesn’t make for a popular story, especially with the mainstream media. But now you know about Boyan’s story, and it is a story worthy of being told, and worthy of being shared. Cleanliness is catchy! With Cleanliness results are visible immediately. Take a picture of a current messy space in your environment, devote some time and effort and actually clean it up, take another picture, compare the two pictures side by side. Do you feel better? Of course you do, and now you feel better in a cleaner environment. If media was at all concerned with this simple practical truth, Boyan would have been named person of the year, but that doesn’t fit a FEAR based narrative, or a one-sided focus on Climate Change.

Imagine, if we were all empowered and courageous enough to begin taking immediate daily habitual action, adopting a Principle of Cleanliness in our lives. How would our lives improve? We might begin by cleaning up our homes, cleaning up our bodies, cleaning up our personal lives, cleaning up our relationships, cleaning up our communities, cleaning up our workplaces, cleaning up our schools. If continued on we might become ambitious, setting our sights toward cleaning up our government, cleaning up the information we consume in the form of news, media, and entertainment. We often associate feelings of calm, peace, serenity, and tranquility with images of nature, and usually the environment we are looking at in the image is spectacular and clean. We don’t experience these same emotions when we see litter scattered across a mountain hiking trail or a beachfront shore, or when we hear about a province or community adopting a practice of piping raw sewage into major waterways. These are not clean, self-sufficient, self-sustaining practices, and we intuitively understand on a cellular and spiritual level that engaging in unclean practice moves us away from natural, positive, life-energizing states.

Anytime we come across a narrative that pushes its focus on the following: fear, shame, guilt, blame, demand, or despair… we as consumers of information should beware. This is a time to question what is being presented or preached. If our questions are met with condemnation, vengeance, aggression, or indifference, understand that with high probability, we are dealing with someone operating from a point of low-level energy and/or possessing negative influence/bias. When instead we come across a narrative that presents its focus on the following: courage, trust, reason, acceptance, optimism, willingness, inspiration, wisdom, peace, love, and joy… we will find ourselves often leaning in towards the message of truth, especially if the message provides us with a practical solution that we can apply and incorporate into our day-to-day life. One of the powerful things about a truthful message, and an honest principle, is that it has a cleansing power to it. It can take that which is unclean, untrue, and washing away that which is polluting the external or internal environment. Adopting the practice of the principle of Cleanliness does this, and it has been proven time and again. Results don’t require years of effort, they are witnessed immediately. It is based on fact, not theory, future modeling, forecasting, or predictions, but consistent, repeatable, fact-based evidence. Simple, practical, efficient, clean. If I were to ask you, on a scale of 1-10, how committed are you, to begin moving away from focusing on climate change towards adopting a focus on cleanliness, what would that number be? Why did you choose that specific number? Why not a lower number? Knowing what you now know, whom will you choose to share this message or this article with? In what areas are you willing to adopt a practice of cleanliness do to help serve you, your friends and family, and your community? When will you begin?

Copyright Wes Paterson 2021