Forget ‘the environment’: Monbiot’s call for magic

George Monbiot challenges us in his article that we need new words to convey life’s wonders: “If we called protected areas “places of natural wonder”, we would not only speak to people’s love of nature, but also establish an aspiration that conveys what they ought to be. Let’s stop using the word environment, and use terms such as “living planet” and “natural world” instead, as they allow us to form a picture of what we are describing. Let’s abandon the term climate change and start saying “climate breakdown”. Instead of extinction, let’s adopt the word promoted by the lawyer Polly Higgins: ecocide.

“We are blessed with a wealth of nature and a wealth of language. Let us bring them together and use one to defend the other.”

His article goes to the heart of magical thinking, the type of magic that the corporate and political worlds have been using with such great effect against us by changing our consciousness to conform to their desires. It fits perfectly with Dion Fortune’s definition: “Magick is the art of causing changes in consciousness in conformity with the Will”, the Will in this case being the will of the corporations and politicians.

Estranging people from sacred nature of the living world took some serious magic. Calling places “Sites of Special Scientific Interest” insulates people from them, it objectifies their sacred nature. It allows people to become complicit in the ecocide, the climate breakdown and the murder of the living planet without them understanding at a conscious level what they are doing.

I want to write more about the need for a new religion soon, one that embraces the land, sea and sky as sacred, one that encompasses both Druidry and wider Pagan understanding. I want to explore that “change in consciousness” that the new age-ers have been talking about for the past 50 years.

The change in consciousness won’t happen by itself. You can’t expect 7 billion people to wake up one morning and realise that the Earth rather than their iPhone is sacred. It will require disasters such as the climate breakdown and the economic turbulence that peak oil brings plus it will need a heavy dose of thaumaturgic magick.

It is therefore not just a great challenge to come up with these new ‘frames’ but an essential one.

Let’s move from Sites of Special Scientific Interest to Sacred Sites of Spiritual Inspiration and subtly reframe corporate and political magic into enchantments that foster the right relationship between humans and the rest of the living world.

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