Bio: Rev. Dr. Gregory V. Wilson, is a Fellow with the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, has had a counseling practice for 25 years, and has been minister for the past 10 years at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brevard in Melbourne, Florida. In recent years Dr. Wilson’s attention has moved from the therapy office to focusing on the social justice and environmental issues of our current age. His present work is in understanding the relationships among our environmental crisis and the Rights of Nature, Corporate person-hood, and Recovery from the Globalization of Addiction. “We cannot recover, heal or change our direction within the structures that brought us to this crisis. We need to look outside the existing economic, social, and political structures to heal and set a different course.”
The Problem: Climate Disruption Denial, A Multilayered Problem
Some recent quotes about Climate Disruption Denial:
“Ideology, misinformation”, "the lack of political will because of the electoral risks of taking the short - term radical action on carbon emissions necessary to prevent long-term problems... stems from powerful economic interests linked to the fossil fuel industry ... there is the wider issue that preventing climate disruption requires governmental and inter-governmental action involving considerable economic management that runs against the idea of the free market," ... "Climate change has occurred slowly enough for our minds to normalize it,....”
While each of these analyses is correct, they miss a primary concern about the condition of the population they are describing. There is a pre-existing condition: the result of being torn or separated from nature, tradition and continuity of story, which is the formation of an addictive society.
The fracturing and loss of the narratives that had provided meaning, direction, social and personal cohesion, and a sense of purpose results in identity crises for individuals, the church, and society. And the anxiety from the identity crisis moves people to cope in some way. The continuity of dislocation from history and consequently having no story/place to land, no healing centers to “get a grip” is the foundation of the Globalization of Addiction.
It is a spiritual condition that Dr. Bruce Alexander has described in his work, The Globalization of Addiction: Poverty of the Spirit, in which he defines addiction, “Addiction is neither a disease nor a moral failure, but a narrowly focused lifestyle that functions as a partial substitute for people who cannot achieve adequate psychosocial integration.” The result: normalization of mass psychological and spiritual dislocation. This set of societal and culture norms creates a particular type of denial system which results in persons' defending the addictive process in which they live. This helps people not feel the powerlessness which they feel in the face of overwhelming anxiety and depression of being psychology dislocated.
So the problem is: people defend the value structure that is diminishing the life support systems of the earth in order to defend against deep anxiety and a sense of meaninglessness.
Solution: Because the problem can be adequately framed in addiction language and thinking, a solution would be to develop groups that deal with: awaking to the awareness of the situation; the grief and anger that may follow; learning to think about living in such a way that the care of the Earth is simply a way of being; and supporting a way of life and communities that are transforming culture to support and promote life and heal the woundedness of humans and Earth alike. We call these groups Earth Recovery Support Groups.