Grief, Climate Change, Extinction and Appreciation

I am often  moved by many of the Comments to the Daily Meditations which, I try to read every day.  I do not respond to them all because I do not have the time, but I enjoy seeing the persons commenting, interacting with each other, and providing their own commentaries and genuine wisdom in the process.

Paul Saint-Amour, University of Pennsylvania Professor in the Humanities and Chair of English, speaks “On the Urgency of Ecological Grief.” Penn Arts & Sciences

I will break my practice of no-response today, however, to respond to a comment that arose yesterday.  One writer responded not so much about John of the Cross as about the situation going on in our world, the ever-bad news of climate change, that the commentator said he is grieving about.

In today’s news one headline told us how China is experiencing the highest temperatures ever recorded there.  It went like this: “Heatwave in China is the most severe ever recorded in the world” and the subtitle went like this: “A long spell of extreme hot and dry weather is affecting energy, water supplies and food production across China.”

The article goes on to explain how low rainfall and record-breaking heat “across much of China” is having widespread impacts on people, industry and farming.  River reservoir levels are falling, factories are shutting down due to electricity shortages and huge areas of crops have been damaged.  World wide repercussions could cause further disruption to supply chains and exacerbate the global food crisis.

German public news service reports on the continental drought drying the rivers of Europe and Britain. DW News

Other news includes pictures from Europe showing us the drying up of major rivers such as the Rhine and the Danube, and of course here in America the Colorado river upon which millions of Americans depend for water for washing, drinking and agriculture is in dangerous shape.

The bad news goes on and on. 

It is no time for denial.  It is time for calling those who are trafficking in Denial to account. And that includes all politicians and all media and all so-called religious preachers.  To his credit, Pope Francis wrote a major encyclical on the Environment that deserves study by all who love the Earth (it was denounced by those for whom money is their god however).   

It is time to deny denial and stand up to be counted about things we can do.  

British actor and comedian Stephen Fry calls on his nation to support Extinction Rebellion. Video by Extinction Rebellion UK

There is much we can do, from driving less and smarter, to acknowledging the progress (modest but real) that congress has made—sad to say based on only one party’s support—with the new IRA bill that amounts to the greatest investment in a healthy earth that this country has yet to make.

Yes, it is time to grieve.

But it is also time to recover Thanks and Gratitude for our amazing cosmos, earth and existence.  The Via Negativa and Via Positiva travel together.  We need the mystics.  Appreciation matters.  

To be continued.

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, chapters 1-3;

Also Charles Burack, ed., Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality, pp. 90-131, 212-218.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Extinction Rebellion march, April 2019. Photo by Martin Hearn on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Are you busying denying denial?  How are you assisting others to do the same?

Recommended Reading

Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality
Selected with an Introduction by Charles Burack

To encapsulate the life and work of Matthew Fox would be a daunting task for any save his colleague Dr. Charles Burack, who had the full cooperation of his subject. Fox has devoted 50 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality and in doing so has reinvented forms of education and worship.  His more than 40 books, translated into 78 languages, are inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions and have awakened millions to the much neglected earth-based mystical tradition of the West. Essential Writings begins by exploring the influences on Fox’s life and spirituality, then presents selections from all Fox’s major works in 10 sections.
“The critical insights, the creative connections, the centrality of Matthew Fox’s writings and teaching are second to none for the radical renewal of Christianity.” ~~ Richard Rohr, OFM.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

14 thoughts on “Grief, Climate Change, Extinction and Appreciation”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you, Matthew, for your prophetic stance, naming the ills the powers of this world wants to close their eyes to. Like the prophets of old, you always balance the bad news by teachings from the mystics. On the Sundays of the Season of Creation a small group of us is presenting on Zoom a 40 minute ‘Pause’, reflecting on the wonders of creation and our responsibility for caring of our common home. One registrant emailed today: “I’m looking forward to the reflections. I need them otherwise I feel despondent about our God given environment.” We need the mystics to nurture our hope and guide our own responses to the worlds crises. Thank you.

  2. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you begin by sharing the comment of one of the people who wrote into our comment section yesterday. You said that they, “responded not so much about John of the Cross as about the situation going on in our world, the ever-bad news of climate change, that the commentator said he is grieving about.” Then you give examples of the rising heat in China, the problem with the rivers of Europe, and the Colorado river. “It’s time for calling those who are trafficking in Denial to account, which includes all politicians, all media, and all so-called religious preachers–while to his credit, Pope Francis wrote a major encyclical on the Environment that deserves study by all who love the Earth.” You ask how we are denying denial… How I am doing this is, I have a book: Liturgies of the Earth, being published: Earth-centered liturgies, created to inspire a sense of sacredness of the earth.

  3. Avatar

    Seems Damian has been informing himself on the sober facts of climate change irreversibility via Michael Dowd’s fine YouTube videos. Dowd has collated the relevant facts, presents well, and perhaps more than any other does the best job of providing references that move folk past their own misunderstandings and emotional insulators (like denial) on the subject toward full recognition. Dowd’s wisdom is in recognizing we must first get past what’s difficult to see and hear at the visceral level before considering what’s next that’s hopeful. Like many truths, Dowd’s facts are hard to hear, because they involve loss and letting go of aspects of creation that will never again be enjoyed. As a first-time grandfather-to-be come Feb, I was especially heartened by Dowd’s poignant remarks on his granddaughter’s fate, believing it unlikely that she’d live to see age 20. My own felt sadness went out to my children, grandchildren, and of future generations.

    1. Avatar

      Thank you Joe for personally acknowledging the wisdom, references, and Human Resources in Michael Dowd’s website ( for emotionally and socially coping through our imminent earthly environmental destruction and extinction of most of Her species, including our own.

  4. Avatar

    We are living in the paradoxal tension of grief and hope. The image of the Cross comes to mind. One comment made by Mathew in todays DM, I found particularly helpful in learning to live in this tension… which was, “Emerse yourself in the sacred, the beautiful, the good… with gratitude and praise.” Some deny the value of this, stating that this approach amounts to nothing, produces no substantial and neccessary changes… that this response is in itself a passive expression of denial. I disagree with those whom choose to see it this way. Emersing oneself in the sacred, the beautiful, the good… with gratitude and praise, for me personally, is apart of practicing living love consciously; amidst and in the paradoxal tension of both grief and hope… which often leads to the possibility of cocreative cooperation, collaboration, and commitment to and with that which one values as sacred, beautiful and good. “Where your heart is, it is there that your treasure lies.”

    1. Avatar
      martina nicholson

      Thanks for this, and the 4 Cs. Co-creation, cooperation, collaboration and commitment are the keys to the kingdom! I love that you put this paradoxical tension between grief and hope as the ground of the dilemma.

  5. Avatar

    As is often the case, the bad news about the droughts in China, Europe and America can also be good news – it creates a vital opportunity for awakening to the dangers of our denial of climate change and recognition that we REALLY DO NEED TO CHANGE! This can be a time for essential transformation on how we live. We are Co-Creators, and have the responsibility to love and protect our beautiful planet Earth. Save our Planet, Save Ourselves!!! May it be so.
    Joyce in Florida

  6. Avatar

    Thank you Matthew for acknowledging my Comment yesterday, my grief process, and helping others in your DM about our understandable denial mechanisms of our earth and extinction crisis that we’re all in. The conclusion of most of the 85 Conversations/interviews in Michael Dowd’s website,, who have passed the denial stage and reaching acceptance in their grief process, is that each of us in our own unique human way must maintain a type of contemplative faith of living compassionately and gratefully daily in our small communities with loved ones and helping others mutually with whom we’re involved with their grief process and survival… God bless All of Mother Earth and all Her creatures, including ourselves….

  7. Avatar

    Thank you, Matthew!

    A surprising thing happened to me today when I was listening to your Daily Meditation! I was lapping it
    all up gladly, like a thirsty cat. But then when you got to the part about the importance of re-
    immersing ourselves in the goodness of creation, my plan to study and work around the house on this late
    August halcyon day in Boston where I live, suddenly flipped – making way for a rattling subway and bus trip
    across the hot city to the sea into which I’ll joyfully plunge! Swimming in the sea is, hands down, my favorite
    form of prayer. I do appreciate your wake-up call!

  8. Avatar

    I find hope in the midst of grief also today, through the wisdom counsel of St. John of the Cross, and his prophetically poetic words, which I’ve paraphrased and related to our Mother Earth. “I will go and tell the world, spreading the word of Your beauty and sweetness and Your sovereignty. I will go seek our Beloved Mother Earth and take upon myself Her weariness and labor’s in which She suffers so… that She may have life… lifting Her out of that deep… that She may be restored.”

  9. Avatar

    Holding eternal perspective while doing the best we can now…

    You need to find what is genuinely yours to offer the world before you can make it a better place. Discovering your unique gift to bring to your community is your greatest opportunity and challenge. The offering of that gift—your true self—is the most you can do to love and serve the world. And it is all the world needs. —Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft

  10. Avatar
    Barbara McGurran

    I vow to protect and defend you blessed Mother Earth as best I can. May all work together to assist you in your healing,wholeness and regeneration so that once again you may be the Garden of Eden for ALL to enjoy.

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: