Galen Tromble is a yoga teacher and climate activist living in Maryland. Galen agrees with Naomi Klein that “the solution to global warming is not to fix the world, it is to fix ourselves,” and with Donna Farhi that we need to move from a perspective of separation to one of connection. Seeing ourselves as separate from nature, we have pushed Earth’s climate out of balance, with consequences that we don’t fully understand but which are certain to fall heavily on future generations. Galen founded ClimateYogi in 2018, believing that the ethical principles and transformative practices of yoga can help people wake up to their connection and interdependence, and to engage in the positive action needed to bring Earth’s climate back into balance.
WHAT DOES YOGA HAVE TO DO WITH CLIMATE CHANGE?
T.K.V Desikachar said: “The ultimate goal of yoga is to always observe things accurately, and therefore never act in a way that will make us regret our actions later.” He also describes yoga as “a process that offers us a way of stopping what is harmful to us.”
Since the late 1950s, we have known that the widespread use of fossil fuels for energy was warming the planet and would cause long term climate change, change that could displace millions of people (from sea level rise inundating coastal areas), cause food insecurity in wide swaths of the globe (due to prolonged droughts, unprecedented heat waves, and changes in precipitation patterns), spread tropical diseases more widely, and cause mass extinctions of thousands of species. These, and other impacts, will create a world for our children and future generations that is dramatically changed from the world we inherited from our ancestors; changed in ways that challenge the very sustainability of human society.
Yet to date, while the actions needed to stop and even reverse climate change have been identified, humanity has not done enough to reverse the trend. Before we can act effectively, we have to be grounded in our values and understand what is important to us.
Yoga offers ethical principles including including non-harming, non-stealing, non-greediness, and truthfulness that can guide our actions. Yoga recognizes that everything we do, and even what we don’t do, has consequences, and reminds us that we are responsible for the consequences of our actions. The practice of Yoga helps us see reality clearly and frees us from our patterns and fears so that we can make better choices.
The practice of Yoga helps us understand ourselves, see clearly what we need to do, and sustain our energy and focus over the long term, even in the face of great challenge and uncertainty about the ultimate outcome. We need to do this as individuals, and we need to come together as a global community acting with a shared commitment to the actions that will bring Earth’s climate back into balance.
“The most sustainable society is the one which passes forward the best possibilities to future generations.” Alex Steffen