The Climate Change Thread


As a result of my previous thread and Corey’s thoughtful response, I want to create a dedicated thread for us to discuss the problem of climate change and the solutions we might propose from an Integral perspective.

Some of my specific, but not necessarily ordered, thoughts to kick off this discussion are:

  1. Currently, I believe much of the resistance (such as outright denial that there is a problem, despite overwhelming scientific consensus) is a result of cognitive dissonance as Leon Festinger first theorized. In many ways the idea that humans have the ability to negatively affect the climate of our planet would generate cognitive dissonance in Amber and below given those stages have a hard time thinking beyond their local community and authority. Because of this, policy proposals need to take into account where different individuals and communities may reside along the Spiral. Orange and Green scientists screaming at the top of their lungs simply isn’t sufficient (and, indeed, may actually be making the problem worse).

  2. It is my belief that the economic impacts of climate solutions will actually be a net positive for the world, rather than a net negative as implied by many of the right-wing think tanks demonstrating active opposition to climate solutions. Looking at this from the point of view of Keynesian economics, a large scale effort to transition to carbon neutral energy technologies (or even carbon negative, such as sequestration technologies) would have a stimulative effect on economies around the world. This is doubly so when we see that carbon neutral energy sources are now becoming less expensive than traditional fossil fuel technologies. When we also factor in the money saved by eliminating reliance on fossil fuels, I believe that not only will the environment be cleaner, but there will be more well-paying jobs than there currently are. If we were to treat this type of transition in the same way the US treated industries that supported the WWII effort as well as the large scale infrastructure buildouts of the 40s, 50s and 60s, it’s clear that history shows just how stimulative large scale public works efforts can be. The challenge with this is mainly dealing with the cognitive dissonance experienced by right-leaning Amber communities (“anything the government does must be bad, even if it’s good for me”).

  3. I think we need to talk about nuclear, both fission and fusion. The reality is that when you take away all the hyperbole about nuclear fission, it is actually one of the safest and most economically and environmentally sustainable forms of energy generation. Oftentimes proponents of traditional “green” energy sources, such as wind and solar, ignore the supply chain realities and effects of those technologies (such as the reliance on limited rare-earth materials for solar). The Motley Fool has a good breakdown of the safety stats. The challenge, of course, is that this type of power flies directly against the worldview of Green, and we need to take into account the cognitive dissonance such a strategy might create. This Forbes article covers that a bit in its analysis of the Fukushima meltdown and Japan’s response.

Anyway, those are just some random thoughts to get a discussion going. I look forward to seeing where this goes!



Russ, thanks for starting this topic. While my thoughts are not entirely organized yet either, I did want to say that while I largely agree with your comments about the cognitive dissonance at Amber and below, there are situations in which the shared experience of major loss has allowed some amber communities to transcend their disbelief in climate change, and still “green” their community, a case in point being Greensburg, Kansas.

A supertornado totally destroyed this rural community in 2007, and after rebuilding, they are now considered one of the “greenest towns in America.” This is in a Republican-voting county (most of Kansas is Republican, with the exception of Lawrence/K.U. area), and how they accomplished their green rebuild, despite most of the population believing climate change was not “real,” and their mayor being a Trumpian Republican, was through a series of town meetings immediately following the disaster in which they focused on finding their shared values. What they arrived at was their common value of inter-generational responsibility for land stewardship, and greening the entire town just made sense to them.

My hope is that problem-solving and actively addressing climate change happens hand-in-hand with other needed changes in culture and human consciousness, rather than just viewing the problems and solutions solely in rather sterile (orange) technological or economic terms. This is where I think the (healthy) Integral green worldview is really useful, with its sensitivity to human needs and to the earth/planet itself. (And yes, there are problems too with integral green; I am not denying that.) But with its focus on multiculturalism, people at the green stage are pretty good at identifying and calling attention to the major effects of climate change on some of the poorest people in the world who are often overlooked, and also offering locality-based solutions. (Naomi Klein’s book and the documentary film, “This Changes Everything,” connects climate change to overzealous capitalism throughout the world, and showcases some of these solutions.)

Everything is interrelated, and while technology is certainly a large part of addressing climate change, we shouldn’t forget the false promise of a big technological advance such as the internet, which was supposed to “save” us–and look where we are with that. No, more is needed than simply new and better technology, or a stimulated purely-capitalistic economy.

I’ll read your references on nuclear energy, get myself up-to-date on that.



LaWanna, that is a great example and has some interesting truths to tell. At the core of it, when you take away all the rhetoric from the entrenched stakeholders on the right, it turns out most of those people saw the value in adopting technologies that are “green.” Perhaps the catalyst for that transition was the fact that they had to totally rebuild? There is a large difference in building something from scratch vs. modifying what you already have, and I could see Amber having issues with replacing something vs. building it from scratch (this is the “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” argument). It’s hard to argue with ROI in this case (though I still, personally, want to see more nuclear since I don’t think wind and solar will cut it when we ditch coal).

Perhaps the core problem with climate change messaging and solutioning is that it is focusing on the external quadrants rather than the internal? Your example of the Internet seems to support that, as I don’t personally believe humanity was ready for the interconnectedness it brought us, which is exhibited by the “fake news” and resurgence of fringe groups via the Internet. It’s almost as though the Internet exacerbated Green’s aperspectival madness problem.


Hi Russ,
I read the articles you provided links for; enlightening, and not just the info on nuclear power safety and low carbon footprint. While I knew coal was the deadliest form of power generation, the stat of 1.964 million people killed per year startled me. It’s got to go! (Congratulations to Germany who just marked the end of it, yes!)

Actually, reading these articles was a little depressing, as it always is when I tune in to new information related to climate change and see again how bad the situation is. 50% of the world’s global power supply is from coal; I can’t imagine that’s going to be resolved in 12 years.

I saw a news clip on a technology being developed to help lower the planet’s temperature. It’s based on the idea that since volcanic eruptions naturally lower the earth’s temperature, what could emulate the effects of volcanoes? Putting sulfuric aerosols into the solar stratosphere works, but creates acid rain, so now they’re looking at using calcium carbonate aerosols. Only small areas would be affected though, so they’re a long ways off from perfecting this solution.

My sense is that as more “natural disasters” occur related to climate change, and as more and more people suffer loss and become more and more fearful and angry, nations will jump on anything that appears to be a possible solution, and safety issues will be short shrifted.

I do think one of the core problems around addressing climate change is not so much that there is lots of focus on the exterior quadrants, but that there is too little focus on the interior quadrants. It has to be both. The discussion in Forbes about the overreaction to radiation in the ground after the Fukushima incident, where the government was supposedly “erring on the side of caution” in ordering such mass evacuations and in their clean-up efforts, but in reality was simply overreacting because “that’s the reaction the people (in their ignorance) expected,” is a good example of where we fall short in addressing simple interior needs such as assuaging fear and anxiety.

I imagine if the nuclear industry undertook a massive public education campaign around safety, it would not be believed by many people, but still, if it’s truly that safe, seems they should try.

And I do agree with you that when rebuilding a community from scratch, the situation is more conducive to innovation than patch-up projects would be.

It’s a big ball of tangled yarn, global warming/climate change, and people at different levels of development will respond to different motivators. Fear and loss will change some, scientific rationality and tech solutions will influence others, values-clarification and moral appeals will affect others. For me personally, I think we put too much effort towards changing the environment and not enough effort aligning ourselves with it. With or without climate change, I’d like to see more respect and love for the earth and the natural world in general, and I think religion could be doing something around this that it’s not. I think I’ve read in one of your posts somewhere that you’re a New Thought minister; maybe you have some insight into this?



I think you hit the proverbial nail here. I would argue that nearly all of our climate change issues stem from a lack of proper care for our interiority; after all, modern capitalism is effectively an external paradigm… it’s about what we can get from the world, when in reality, true happiness is an inside job. Capitalism itself is rooted in materialism, and until that changes, I don’t know if we’ll get much traction with climate solutions. At its core, capitalism is about how we distribute our resources, and when its model is designed around constant growth, that goes against the current reality we inhabit. There aren’t many things I’m aware of in the natural world that grow without limit that are good (cancer comes to mind as an example of unlimited growth that ultimately kills its host).

Personally, I think we will need to terraform if we’re going to make it through this century without a big temperature increase. Asking the world to stop using fossil fuels and coal power in such a short time period probably isn’t possible given the entrenched worldviews that depend on them for their identity (especially with the stigma against nuclear power, which is probably the most viable short-term solution to make up for the loss of fossil fuel burning power sources). That’s frightening given I think there are a lot of externalities that could take us by surprise if we start pumping aerosols into the atmosphere. The solution I like the most is the simplest: we plant a ridiculous amount of trees.

One of the core Christian teachings is stewardship of the Earth. The Bible teaches that humanity is given dominion over our world; where we have failed in that responsibility is that we’ve enacted a dominator hierarchy rather than a healthy hierarchy. I think that part has been misinterpreted to be “do whatever you like regardless of the consequences.” Dominator hierarchies seek to use those “below” them for their own personal selfish ends whereas healthy hierarchies are interdependent and integral, and each part of the whole enriches and uplifts the entire whole throughout the hierarchy. Capitalism in its current form flies completely against this principle, unfortunately, and that’s why as a New Thought minister I am so focused on the interiority of those with whom I interact, as that’s where I see people needing the most help and healing. One of the core New Thought teachings is that life is an inside job; all we do starts with our consciousness and ability to choose, and the more we become aware of our worldviews and biases (and how they make decisions for us on the subconscious level), the more we can make new, more life-affirming choices in our day to day lives.


I think Ken hit the nail on the head in his book Trump and a post truth world. The Republican Party (Trump) is basically anti-green. Until Integral becomes a tipping point conversation I don’t see this changing anytime soon. I do believe AOC and other progressives in the Democratic party have pushed the subject into water cooler talks. Some criticism I have of Ken is my desire to see him enter himself more into the National arena-specifically with promoting the Integral lens in politics.


Hey everyone, I think we are beyond the point of raising awareness and this is a good thing. I agree that some dissonance might be at play and so I felt a bit relieved when I learned that about 60% of the US population was now concerned by CC. China seems to be on board too so that is a big chunk. The economic dynamic is the biggest challenge to surmount in my view. In reality, to limit the impact to a minimum it would have been necessary to cut our global output (in its current form) by about 50% and that some 20 years ago. This is, of course, unrealistic and would have never passed the vote. But it gives us an idea of the magnitude of the problem. Another interesting development is the billionaires out there, stating that capitalism in its current form needs to evolve.

From here, it becomes always more imperative to yes, still monitor and communicate on the severity of the issue and develop completely new economic models that address the root cause of the dynamic unfolding. That’s where a highly focused and strategic approach on multiple fronts is necessary (and yes communication towards a more traditionalist view is important and there are some good case studies out there as mentioned). I think one of the most important strategies is helping the pluralistic worldview in shifting as quickly as possible to a more integral perspective and also helping integral voices speak louder and come out of the closet like KW like to say. We have some 5 years to gain 5 more percent on the teal perspective (in the hope that the 10% threshold theory is good enough). From there we might have more chance to see the emergence of new models and see further adoption towards a massive transformation.

One other approach I have been thinking about for a while is having an alliance determined to transform the socio-economic models within the current structure. That could act as a showcase of what integral politics and economics would look like. There are already lots of good elements in place but something generating a bit more of a wow factor could definitely inspire lots of people. In that line of thoughts, I think it would be interesting to link in an integrative and multidisciplinary way many models, technologies, and infrastructures that could lead to more advanced forms of development. The politics about which forms of energy and business model has been debated in the last 40 years with too little success but all the know-how and technology is already available to make most of the transition. It’s now clear that we need to come with an integrative approach to development. It really comes down to our shared creative genius and capacity to relate in ways that are yet to be seen. I think we have to look at it as a golden occasion to shift towards a global state of prosperity in plurality and unity. That doesn’t mean we hide from the pain, suffering, and annihilation that we now face but we see it and use it as an ultimate transformative call. Something along those lines.

Does anyone know if there is a map or repository of all the relevant research and case studies done using the integral framework?


Well, the short answer is No I don’t know of a specific map. I think one of the most interesting things happening at the moment is the question of capitalism, in its pure form, can continue. You have some serious major players stepping to the table saying that things need to change because its hurting the majority. Now, if that’s not Integral I dont know what is. Ray Delio recently entered the conversation if you google capitalism Delio.


That addresses the economic side of it. Basically, nothing is going to happen until the culture hits the tipping point of Integral. Green levels have to feel like the good guys in Game of Thrones last night being ambushed by the dead. Only in this example, Integral is the next wave coming and …we are good. (Besides that new pathology we are carrying…)


Yes, I saw a few of Dalio’s talks and still going through more of his stuff. I was a bit disappointed by his model of the economy being represented by a big mechanic machine. Such a model is definitely part of why finance is deeply failing so something to improve there. The good vs bad guys is one of the biggest memes that needs some deep cleaning, I think. Sometimes I feel like we are waiting for a Marvel superhero to come to the rescue of and from ourselves. When is that episode playing?


Yeah, I read that and I dont mind the comparison. That was in the Principles book right? If I recall he was comparing the culture of the workplace and what the goals are of management. But if you read this capitalism piece it talks about needing a double bottom line, economic growth with awareness of social impact.


TVB, I don’t know if this will meet your needs/request for a map or repository (and I assume, hopefully correctly, that you’re talking about in the field of climate change), but google ‘research on climate change using integral theory’ and you’ll find a number of relevant writings.

That about 60% of the US population is now concerned with CC reminds me how fast things can change. I think of the legalization of same-sex marriage, how quickly that seemed to come about (‘quickly,’ and yet, that is not to negate the efforts made over the years; still it seemed like a nearly instantaneous event). So there is hope, possibility.

So about 5 years to gain another 5% of the population at teal…haven’t heard it put in such a way, but in the context of climate change, I get it.


Thanks for the link. It’s actually this piece that got me curious about Dalio’s message. I thought it was interesting to hear someone who has been immersed in finance optimization for so long to realize that something had to be changed profoundly with capitalism. Personally, I find the analogy to a machine too simple to explain how the economy works. Such an analogy would be somewhat more accurate if the world was only made of self-optimizing individuals with rational minds and if it was lacking depth and therefore innovation and change and so on. Which is kind of the pitfalls of mainstream economic thinking. We have all sorts of dynamics, behaviors, drives, and preferences in an economy and we have the physical limitation of the planet. Behavior economics, externalities and double/triple bottom emerged as a counterbalance but we still have a lot to do in terms of understanding what an economic model of tomorrow would look like. Ideas like the [doughnut economics]( model are interesting as they bring the idea of ecological limits and what is required for more equity. One other way I like to look at it is from each drive of the spectrum of development and how it can be integrated into economic development. Another element to bring in perspective is that a certain dynamic of capitalism tends to limit innovation in many ways and that is what I believe we need to go after profoundly. We are deeply invested in the fast deterioration of life-supporting conditions on earth and so we are stuck. That is among the reason why a more integral worldview is coming online.

Have you heard of this one? Anand Giridharadas: "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World

He is somewhat criticizing the double bottom line or win-win approach which has been around for a while. Also not to mention the rally against the super-rich nowadays. We’ve seen this before in history.


Thanks LaWanna, I was thinking more of the research papers done using the AQAL framework in different fields. I did a quick search and I found this link:
I’ll listen to it when I get a chance. Maybe it’s a good base to continue this discussion.


I like your simple solution of planting a ridiculous amount of trees…I used to grow redwood trees from tiny burls when I lived in California, an amazingly easy thing to do and such delight in watching the first green shoots appear. I’d grow them in water until they were about 18" tall, then transplant into large soil pots and give them away when they reached about 4 feet tall. So I’ve done my share of growing and planting trees, redwoods at least.

The people you serve are fortunate to have you; you are so darn likable in these posts you share, and so clear-headed, that you must be quite a gift to those you interact with more intimately while helping them be more attuned to interiors and healing on inner levels. Yes, I do think the neglect of interiors is not only causative in the climate crisis, but in every other problem facing us. There has been conversation for decades though about how inner development is not keeping pace with development in the exteriors, so my thought is not particularly original.

I agree with your comments about dominator hierarchies ruling the day when it comes to most people’s stances towards the earth. NY Times columnist David Brooks wrote an interesting article about the American mythos around land His suggestion was that the polarization/divisiveness in the country might be at least partially corrected through a revival of values connected to the different ways Americans have historically related to the land. I sometimes think, if there’s a silver lining in the climate crisis, it might be that a greater appreciation for the earth comes about-- if nothing else, for how absolutely formidable its elemental power is. It might be too late though. (I seem to be naturally a “wait and see” kind of person, rather than naturally optimistic or pessimistic).

Which isn’t to say I don’t hold great hope for integralism. I do. It’s the smartest and shiniest thing on the block, as far as I’m concerned, and the world’s best hope (save for a Superhero coming along, as TVB mentioned, but then again, maybe integralism is the Superhero…).

Thanks for telling me a little about your New Thought ministry.


a lot of pertinent information still not talked about in the integral community. enjoy.


@furshizzle, much of what you’ve posted here would be considered conspiracy theory and is not grounded in scientific fact. I’m not sure that’s the direction we want to take this thread. I see this is your first post here (welcome!), so I’m wondering, did you perhaps join specifically to speak against the confirmed reality of climate change, or with some other agenda?

If so, please keep in mind that one of the main assumptions we adhere to in the Integral community is that we all live in a shared reality. While what you posted may be true for you, it most definitely is not true for the vast majority of the world, and also has a very, very low likelihood of being objectively true. As such, I feel it’s a distraction from the real issues that we are discussing in this thread.


For anyone interested in using (sacred) ceremony for environmental healing and addressing climate change and its effects, this article is a good introduction to the subject. I personally feel this is a very important piece of the overall solution.


Grace and peace!
And a warm welcome from the land of Cognitive Dissonance, as far as fossil fuels are concerned…coal country North Central West Virginia. Speaking against coal and other fossil fuels in this opoid wracked, meth smoking corner of the world is literally a “hanging offense.” The ONLY jobs for non-professional people without a 4 year college degree that pay more than minimum wage are in the coal mines or fossil fuel burning factories. That is it. No business, like Amazon, wants to put even a warehouse in this beautiful, yet economically poor, state anymore. Businesses used to open here because of the low cost of living, plentiful resources, and non-existent violent crime rate. Not anymore! WV has caught up with the rest of the world thanks to methamphetamine and oxycodone.
I truly wish we could convert the state into one giant wind farm. I am a Franciscan friar and I grieve daily over the pain I see not only in the eyes of the people here, but in the “eyes” of the planet around me.
The Green New Deal. The Paris Accords. Something!
We need a total change here! I am holding on to the sliverr of a hope that we may elect a democrat in 2020 who will start to change the conversation and begin to repair the damage. Marianne Williamson has the right ideas, but I am afraid that one of the Big 3 (Bernie, Beth, or Joe) already has a lock on the nomination. And they will just bring more of the same I am afraid. Anyway…that was my “two cents” worth from the frontlines of the climate war.
Pace E Bene. Namaste.


Hello All,

I realize how profoundly this issue of global climate change is being held by many, and especially many here in the Integral Community, so I want to first open my post here with a deep bow of respect to all. My reason for writing this post is twofold, but it seems that I should begin with the easily most big minded, big hearted part first.
I am the founder of a 35 year old non profit organization that is now working in 8 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico and Asia in reforestation, loaning money to small, rural farmers to convert from subsistence farming to tree cropping. (PWP) This has had the effect of lifting many rural farmers and families out of poverty, but also has produced many environmental benefits. Tree cover restores groundwater sources through rainfall catchment and runoff protection, creation of canopies which create microbiological soil habitats, adding soil porosity and water absorption, cycling of deep ground nutrients, increase in natural habitats, and micro-climatological impact through increased transpiration. Trees also have the added benefit of fixing significant amounts of atmospheric CO2, as is noted in some of the posts above. To date, this organization and its nursery in the Dominican Republic have together planted over 130,000,000 trees since 1984.

I am currently working with my youngest, millennial daughter, who is organizing a massive, new effort to reforest large areas of Central America. This work is attracting some serious help from professionals, and contemplates to undertake the three initiatives required to actually be a serious, effective reforestation effort: a) small scale social forestry efforts that work with poor rural farmers, who are often deforesting areas because of their own economic needs. This approach is what PWP has used successfully for 35 years. b) Larger scale plantation forestry, working with land owners who own larger land areas than subsistence farmers. c) Re-establishment and restoration of Wet Tropical Forests through replanting strategies and management.

This effort is targeting these Central American countries for several strategic reasons, which will be obvious to most of the Integral readers of this post. First, these countries are seriously deforested, and have become so in relatively recent history. The cycle of poverty that results from denuding natural forest cover is well documented, but write to me if you have questions about this cycle of cause and effect and want to push this out more. Secondly, the deterioration of rural economies in Central America is at least one of the reasons that an economic diaspora is going on right now, fueling the victimization of the poor to become immigrants to the United States. Creating wealth through reforestation at least contributes to more economic stability in the region. Thirdly, this area is mostly the humid tropics, and deserves to be protected and restored as part of our imperative as the caretaker species we should become, and would deliver many of the benefits I allude to above. Lastly, and perhaps most relevant to this thread of posts, is the fact that massive amounts of CO2 would again be fixed in the carbon mass of the trees planted. I hope to be able to report on our progress on this work, and maybe some of this community will join with us to make this a reality.

Now for the more touchy part of my post, but which I also offer with deep respect and compassion for those who may take issue with my perspective. Russ speaks above of the “confirmed reality of climate change”, and as I read through posts from the beginning of this thread, I note that anyone who does not hold this same perspective is characterized as either uneducated, unable to accept man’s ability or responsibility of generating this climate issue, a compromised defender of hydrocarbons, or a blue or green memed host who cannot make the evolutionary transition required to be in sync with this viewpoint. I have now spent over 20 years sifting this issue, including three months of studying this in depth in 1998, and have a distinctly different take on this. I do not hold the same conclusion as most here, and could hold a very nuanced discussion of this if anyone actually wanted, but not here in a post thread. Still, I have decided that this issue has become too polarizing, too emotional, and to a certain extent, too combative to actually vet with an in depth scientific dialogue. After some deep contemplation, I have dedicated myself to be a part of a solution that can unite people of many viewpoints around a solution that is more positive, less conflictive, and not as disruptive as dislocating entire industries, economies, agriculture, transportation and habitation worldwide. Hence, my focus will be on helping to plant massive amounts of trees, which I consider a non conflictive approach that can include my friends of all persuasions.

A partnership that I am a part of has an all solar house at the Private Nature Preserve project that I founded and manage in coastal Baja California Sur, Mexico, where I have lived for 15 years. I am an organic gardener, and live consciously with a small footprint and mostly light resource usage (the vehicle I drive is a pickup, and not great on mileage). I am very concerned about the destruction our species has exerted on our planet. There are an estimated 4.2 trillion trees in this world, after the deforestation of the last three millennia. Shall we plant another trillion or so, and do away with our perceived carbon issue together? Peace.