Psychotherapist Mary Pipher and Bill McKibben agree that survival depends on expanding our moral imagination. Mary Pipher puts it this way:
Transcendence can come from ... an expanding moral imagination. I define the moral imagination as the ability to understand how the world looks and feels to another person. It involves motivation, heart, and imagination. My respect for the moral imagination leads to a simple value system--good is that which increases it and evil is that which decreases it.
I believe that the purpose of life is to expand our own moral imagination and to help others expand theirs, so that our circle of caring, which begins with our families, eventually includes all living beings.
Dealing with our global crisis is essentially an ethics problem. If we don't expand our moral imaginations, we'll destroy ourselves. Healing will involve reweaving the most primal of connections to this sacred web.
Interconnection can be seen as a spiritual belief, especially in Buddhism. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, "we inter-are." But it's also a scientific fact. ... At its core, interconnection is a survival strategy. Gregory Bateson said it best, "The unit of survival is the organism and his environment." [emphasis mine]
I found her first hand account of how she faced climate change, conquered feelings of depression and hopelessness, and emerged whole inspiring. I recommend her article for anyone in despair over the climate crisis.
If we are going to avoid environmental catastrophe, we are going to need moral imagination as well as good science.
Indeed, science without moral imagination, science without guiding ethics and humanity, becomes the monstrous tool of our worst human traits. We have only to look at weapons of mass destruction and the massive destructive of the environment through technology to see that this is so.
In all our calculations about the cost of dealing with climate change, lets not forget to do the “moral math.” If we don’t, our moral bankruptcy will bring disaster to us and to countless beings living on our planet.
The future of the world depends on each one of us broadening and deepening our understanding of what is environmentally moral. The future depends on our moral imagination as a species. [emphasis mine]