White Supremacy, Climate Crisis, and Human Trauma


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Part of the “Showing up for the Planet” series

With the evidence of global warming and climate disaster all around us, one natural impulse is to want to throw all of our energy behind efforts to stop it. But as longtime One Earth Sangha friend Kritee argues, this response will be ineffectual unless aligned with efforts to recognize and soothe the trauma that many have experienced—whether racial, gender-based, economic, or other—and address what she calls the Mother of the Climate Crisis: white supremacy. In this video, as in her interview earlier this year, she encourages us to gather small groups of friends together to empower one another to heal individual trauma, build community, and support collective resistance to climate and racial injustice.

This talk was excerpted from Showing Up for the Planet, a daylong program on August 22 hosted by Marin Sangha. Speakers in addition to Kritee included Thanissara, James Baraz, Donald Rothberg, Teja Bell, Kristin Barker, and Eve Decker.

View the slide deck from the presentation.

Forming “Islands of Sanity” Practice Circles

Read the full guidelines here.

  • Bring together 6-8 friends
  • Hold regular meetings (>3 per month, 120-150 minutes each)
    • 20-25 minutes: Silence/somatic practices (to attune to each other)
    • 30-35 minutes: Check-ins with wholehearted listening without interruption
    • 60-90 minutes: Discuss (or prepare for) “Third pillar” strategic actions or scheduled sharing circles on money, lifestyle, race/religion, gender
  • Have a transparent structure/format for:
    • Grief/rage work for processing trauma
    • Action strategy and understanding of the movement ecosystem
    • Information flow
    • Decision-making
    • Learning through feedback
    • Restoring after conflict
    • Flow of money (if any)

Selected Quotes

We can’t solve climate now and then come to racial healing.

Grieving lessens the burden on our bodies. When you release that pressure, when you grieve, there is clarity.

I hope whatever you do, you do it with community.

Kritee (dharma name Kanko), is a Zen teacher, scientist, activist, dancer and permaculture designer. She directs and teaches Boundless in Motion Sangha in Boulder in the Rinzai-Obaku Buddhist lineage of Cold Mountain, is a co-founder and executive director of Boulder Eco-Dharma Sangha and co-founding teacher of Earthlovego. Kritee trained as an environmental microbiologist and biogeochemist at Rutgers and Princeton Universities. As a senior scientist in the Global Climate Program at Environmental Defense Fund, she is helping to implement environment and climate-friendly methods of small farming at large scales in Asia with a three-fold goal of poverty alleviation, food security and climate mitigation / adaptation.

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