Why Extreme Weather Should Remind Us To Live More Lightly

I have great sympathy for those who have had their lives turned upside down by the recent storms. Many have had their homes and possessions damaged. But I am just wondering if this weather could be the result of man made climate change and a timely reminder for us all to continue to press on with living more lightly and supporting ecological change.

Extreme weather is upon us

Extreme Weather: Polar Vortex

The Polar Vortex

In North America the polar vortex is a large cyclone originating from near the north poll bringing heavy snowfall and record breaking drops in temperature. Apparently it was so cold people were throwing boiling water in the air to see it freeze and often scalding themselves in the process.

Meanwhile here in Britain we’ve been experiences floods and storms over Christmas and the New Year. The polar vortex is now threatening to swing by Britain. Although it may have broken up by the time it gets here. It may just produce more flooding.

Some in the States argue that the cold weather is evidence against global warming. But of course it isn’t that simple. Climate change produces freak variations rather than uniform warming.

Extreme weather could be the result of climate change

Our storms could be an early effect of climate change. For instance “This is Global Warming” declared the front page headline of Irish Examiner. “The increased ferocity and intensity of storms that battered the Irish coast in recent days can be attributed to man-made climate change, says one of the country’s foremost experts on climate change.”

Even David Cameron has recently linked the recent extreme weather that has wreaked havoc on Britain to climate change. But we do need to take this with some caution as the Met Office is saying that it is too soon to make such a link. Whether or not these are shown conclusively to be the effects of man made climate change I believe that there is enough evidence of the threat of climate change.

Climate change reminds us to live lightly

There is a global ecological crisis that we need to do something about – but what can we do? We can address the bigger picture in both our personal and professional lives by living lightly and strongly supporting ecological change.

Surely somewhere the vision for our life should contain some ecological evaluation that leads to a commitment to reduce greenhouse gasses rather than empowering ourselves and others to further wreck our world.

For a lot of us in the West with a comfortable life style increasing our income and our carbon footprint does not bring greater happiness. There is plenty to indicate that a simpler lifestyle with a reduced carbon footprint actually increases our own sense of well being as well as enabling others in the future to flourish.

As well as ‘living lightly’ by reducing our rampant consumerism there are other simple things that I am sure many of you do already:

  • Reduce our energy use
  • Take time to recycle rather than dump material in landfill
  • Use your own compost bin to compost food waste
  • Use charity shops when you are throwing out your old clothes or bric-a-brac
  • Buy second-hand and recycled products
  • Reduce your use of pollutants such as aerosols and pesticides
  • Where possible use environmentally friendly products
  • Think green and research greener options
  • Recommend these actions to your friends and colleagues

One person can make a difference! Together we can change the world in fundamental ways.

Further Reading

Positive Psychology and Climate Change
The Irish Examiner: Severe Weather Attributed To Human Impact
The Guardian: White House tackles climate change and polar vortex in Google+ Hangout
The Guardian: David Cameron right to link floods and global warming, say climate scientists
The Guardian: Too early to link UK extreme weather to climate change, says Met Office
The Ecology of Business

14 Habits of Highly Miserable People

Cloe Madanes argues that “…misery is an art form, and the satisfaction people seem to find in it reflects the creative effort required to cultivate it… So if you aspire to make yourself miserable, what are the best, most proven techniques for doing it?”
She even gives some advantages of misery:

• When you’re miserable, people feel sorry for you…
• When you’re miserable, since you have no hopes and expect nothing good to happen, you can’t be disappointed or disillusioned.
• Being miserable can give the impression that you’re a wise and worldly person, especially if you’re miserable not just about your life, but about society in general…

Here is her list of ways to be miserable:

1. Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss
14 habits of highly miserable people2. Practice sustained boredom
3. Give yourself a negative identity
4. Pick fights
5. Attribute bad intentions
6. Whatever you do, do it only for personal gain
7. Avoid gratitude
8. Always be alert and in a state of anxiety
9. Blame your parents
10. Don’t enjoy life’s pleasures
11. Ruminate
12. Glorify or vilify the past
13. Find a romantic partner to reform
14. Be critical

Cloe Madanes is teacher of family therapy. “Ultimately,” she concludes, “the therapist is your enemy when trying to cultivate misery in your life. So get out as soon as possible.”

If you haven’t guessed by now she is of course being ironic! Just do the opposite of all these points.

Please read the full article here.

Why Authentically Positive?

Why positive?

Our outlook on life is a key factor to our personal development. An optimistic viewpoint can influence our thoughts, memories and words and help us develop character strengths and result in greater happiness and satisfaction with our life.

authentically positive happiness running with seaguls

Simple exercise such as running with seaguls can promote authentically positive experiences

The 21st century has seen the emergence of positive psychology as a reputable scientific endeavour. It has also seen a growth in the interest of life coaching that seeks to apply many of these positive principles by not just asking people great questions but also by encouraging them to reach for their dreams – striving for the ideal rather than settling the adequate.

Why authentically?

I believe we are also seeing a growth in the need to be authentic. People are becoming more sceptical of hype. There is a longing to be able to be able to have authentic relationships where we can be open and honest with one another.

Martin Seligman in his book Authentic Happiness appears to strike a good balance on this which I find much more helpful than many of the earlier ideas of positive thinking that often fail to take this into account. For instance many earlier writers have emphasised having greater self esteem but in Positive Psychology ideas such as self control are also discussed.

Being authentically positive

In this blog I want to look at a number of topics related to our personal development in the light of these ideas. I want to bring an openness and honesty to them and yet still communicate hope and optimism. In each of these areas I want to tackle some questions that are relevant to everyday life and look at how in each of these areas we can be authentically positive.

  • How do can cope with stress? This is not just an awareness of stress such as what might cause it and what it does to our bodies but also some positive techniques to deal with it.
  • How we can improve our relationships? Generally with everyone we meet but also I want to particularly discuss romantic relationships.
  • How can we develop spirituality? I want to discuss some principles that will be applicable to everyone whether they are religious or not but ultimately I will be coming from a Christian perspective as that is my personal background and belief.
  • What is the impact on our outlook on our health – our mental health and our physical health? For example, how we can deal with depression and how can we control our diet?
  • How can we apply these principles to our parenting? For example, how today’s media affects our kids and how can we manage their behaviour?
  • How to develop our career and improve our job search.
  • I even want to include some thoughts about being authentic and positive about our money.

This list is not exhaustive. This can apply to every area of life. If there is an area that you’d like me to discuss please let me know in the comments below.