Compassionate Attunement and Ecological Responsibility

Lucy Weir
8 min readFeb 18, 2022
Bins in La Laguna, indicating a desire by humans to change.
Bins in La Laguna: enough of a change?

What if?

What if we could live in a way that allows us to come into a better relationship with the systems that enmesh and sustain us? Now would be a good time to do so. After all, we are in the midst of an ecological catastrophe, and if all it took to even begin to resolve or mitigate that disastrous situation was to attune to, or become aware of, our attitude, why wouldn’t we do that now? Simple, however, is not easy.

There are, of course, those who deny or ridicule that we are in the midst of an ecological ‘emergency’. There are many who deliberately turn their attention elsewhere, perhaps because the questions around what to do about our current predicament are huge and hard to get to grips with. They are overwhelming for most of us who think about them.

These reactions are understandable, given the enormity of what we face. Nevertheless, doing nothing is not an option, if doing something can make even the slightest bit of difference. Ignorance is no defence either, although we need to face up to the depth of how little we know if we are to begin so see what we can do in its proper light. Compassionate attunement, for all its fey-sounding resonances, requires the grinding effort of full and constant awareness, and it is easier to distract ourselves than it is to pay full attention.

Teide, the volcanic mountain at the centre of Tenerife, with snow, from Icod los Vinos, where the millenial Drago tree lives

What is compassionate attunement?

What if we could attune ourselves not just to humans, but to the entire system of relationships within which we are enmeshed? What if we could shift how we respond to that enmeshment? First, we would need to recognise that we are not apart from, but are a part of the action. Time and space, and therefore existence, is unfolding, but we are part of that unfolding. This isn’t the same as seeing ourselves as little centres of agency directing our own show and accidentally hitting off other people’s.

This shift merits further…

Lucy Weir

What if words shape ideas and actions? The ecological emergency is us! Connection matters. Yoga, philosophy, Top writer, Climate Change