Earth Day 2013: Looking Disaster in the Eye

earthI was consumed with a great yearning when I heard last week, amidst all the sturm und drang of the Boston Marathon bombing and manhunt, that a twin sister of our lovely Earth had been discovered on the other side of the cosmos.

She is so far away—1,200 light years—that it is very unlikely any earthlings will ever visit her.  Not unless we can figure out how to bend time and space, like the tesseract imagined by Madeleine L’Engle in A Wrinkle in Time.

But just knowing she’s there—and that there may be many more planets like her, like us, out there in the universe—is comforting somehow, as we watch our own Earth being consumed by paroxysms of manmade violence and natural destruction.

It has been hard to focus on Earth Day 2013 with all the crazy human disasters going on.

But as the sun rises this morning on yet another day on Earth, I want to salute our battered, beautiful planet, our ever-giving Mother who asks nothing in return from her children, other than that they fulfill their own destinies.

It remains to be seen whether human beings—particularly of the male variety—can overcome our tendency to aggression and change the course of our destiny from its current suicidal path.

We are smart enough to know what is going wrong with our relationship to our Mother Earth, and we also know how to fix it.

Can we summon the moral imperative and the will to stop the violence, stabilize the climate, control our population growth, and enter a peaceful, prosperous New Age on Earth?

I wonder how the inhabitants of Earth’s distant sister have managed.  Perhaps if there are highly evolved inhabitants there they are even smarter than humans.  Perhaps they never fell from their Garden of Eden.

How much easier it is to do things right the first time, rather than deal with the mess of making them right again after catastrophe.

On this Earth Day, we must look disaster in the eye, and vow to overcome it.  Our Mother deserves no less.

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Learning from mass murder: we must pay attention to our young men

If this past week had been written up as a movie script, I would have rejected it as totally over-the-top, beyond belief.

Two young Chechen immigrants successfully wreak mayhem and turn a city upside down with their improvised explosive devices, in the very same week that the U.S. Senate Republicans successfully beat back a bill designed to stiffen background checks for gun purchases.

Gabrielle Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords

The beautiful, brave Gabrielle Giffords publishes an impassioned piece in The New York Times, condemning the cowardly Senators who put the interests of the National Rifle Association over and above the interests of the American people.

Meanwhile, down in Texas, an explosion in a chemical fertilizer factory flattened a whole neighborhood, killing at least 15 people and injuring more than 200.  The cause of the blast is still unknown.

And the whole middle section of the country was inundated by heavy rains, storms and severe floods.

Fire, air, earth and water, all the elements seem to be drawn into an intensified dance these days, speeded up along with the 24-hour news cycle.

As the bizarre manhunt for the two Chechen bombers unfolded, and the whole country went into virtual “lockdown” in sympathy with the people of Boston and eastern Massachusetts, it felt like we were suddenly waking up to find ourselves in Baghdad.  Things like that don’t happen here.

Until they do.

boston-bomber-suspect-dzhokhar-tsarnaev I don’t have TV in the house, so I got most of my information on the situation in Boston from print media and radio.  But even the few pictures I saw were enough to convey the sense that the official response to these boys’ stupid act of random violence was hugely disproportionate.

Against a lone 19-year-old kid, thousands of law enforcement officers of every stripe were deployed, in full riot gear, toting rifles, traveling around the deserted streets in armored vehicles.

The kid was presumed to be “extremely dangerous.”

How dangerous could one kid be?

I understand that the concern was that he might have had a bomb or a suicide vest that he could detonate at the very end.

But that is not the way the story went.  In the end, he came out with his hands up, just one stupid, confused kid who surrendered to the police without a peep.

His life is over.

Ours will go on.

In the wake of this latest act of violence within our own borders, we need to take a good hard look at the role of the U.S. as a fomenter of violence, both at home and abroad.

Unknown-1 Not only is the U.S. the largest exporter of arms and weaponry in the world, but we are also the biggest developer of violent video games worldwide, the ones I am betting those Chechen boys loved to play.

Why should we expect that we can promote violence by all kinds of channels, and remain immune to it within our own borders?

What goes around comes around.

If we were serious about wanting peace and security, we would start by radically shifting our focus from creating implements of destruction—be they chemical fertilizers, assault weapons or games that encourage violence—to waging peace.

Waging peace—what would that look like?

One of the most urgent tasks is to change the way young men are socialized.

Let us not for a moment forget that every single act of mass violence that has taken place here in the U.S.—every single mass shooting, every single bombing—has been the work of young men.

Young men are do-ers.  They have heroic dreams—and in Western culture, it’s the young men who can slay the dragon or vanquish the ogre who are considered heroic.

We can honor and nourish that warrior spirit in our young men in ways that celebrate heroes who use their strength and talents productively, to safeguard ordinary people.

I suspect that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is someone who would have made an excellent warrior for good.  He was obviously smart, resourceful and could handle himself well under great pressure.

For reasons as yet unknown, he–like Newtown gunman Adam Lanza, Norway gunman Anders Breivik, Aurora, Colorado gunman James Holmes and so many other young men whose names stand for infamous mass murders—chose to walk on the dark side.

We need to be paying attention to the accelerating rate of these crimes.  They are a sign of the dark times we are living through.

Those of us who believe in peace must recommit ourselves to raising our own internal lights higher, beacons for others to rally around.  Those of us who have the great responsibility of raising the next generation of young men—parents, teachers, employers, mentors—must recognize the tremendous importance of our task.

In the past thirty years, there has been a great deal of attention paid to rethinking the way we socialize young women.  This is definitely essential work.  But we forget about our young men at our own peril.

Taking up arms against a sea of troubles

marathon-explosion-people-on-sidewalkIn the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing this week, like everyone else I’ve been thinking again about violence.

I am not a total pacifist. I do think that there are some situations in which violence is the only sane route to follow.

I could never be one of those Buddhists who try to send loving-kindness to their torturer.  Sometimes I even have trouble “turning the other cheek” if someone has offended me.

I am a Scorpio: I hold grudges, I brood, I sometimes lash out (though mostly in fantasy, very rarely in real life).

I am very sensitive to oppression, injustice and abuse—although sometimes this sensitivity manifests as a willed numbness, a deliberate refusal to see, because if I allowed myself to really take in all the oppression, injustice and abuse that saturates our planet daily, I would drown in my own howling depression and the guilt of not doing enough to combat it.

To combat it.  The verb choice there, which came out instinctively, is not innocent.

Is it possible to combat the violence of oppression, injustice and abuse without using violence?

What does sending tong-len or turning the other cheek accomplish besides emboldening one’s opponent to ever more impunity?

I believe there are times and occasions where violence is the only answer and the right answer to oppression, injustice and abuse.

But that is quite a different kind of violence from what happened in Boston this week.

Random violence that breaks into a festive, sunny day and kills and maims innocent bystanders is a totally different form of violence than the measured, carefully aimed violence of righteous resistance.

0415-boston-marathon-bomb-13Bombs loaded with nails and bb pellets, set off low in a dense crowd, are calculated to inflict maximum damage on soft exposed flesh and limbs.

Did whoever set those bombs enjoy the panic that ensued, the blood in the streets, the shock, the horror?

I can only imagine this perpetrator as a sadist, because unlike with the 9/11 attack or even the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, there isn’t any apparent symbolism in this attack that makes any sense.

I can understand rage against the U.S. Government, and against the World Trade Center.  Although I could never condone killing innocent people in the service of that rage, I can at least see and comprehend the mindset that saw such collateral damage as instrumental in making a larger statement.

But what possible message could be sent through killing athletes and sports enthusiasts on the streets of an ordinary American city like Boston?

I wish the perpetrator would come forward and stand behind this act of violence.  I want to try to understand the motive, the fury that could have prompted such a carefully calculated crime.

I am not naïve; I know there are many very good reasons that people all over the world hate the U.S. and Americans.

And there are good reasons for Americans ourselves to be angry at our society and government, with its ever-increasing inequality, its investment in environmentally destructive policies and products, its build-up of weapons at the expense of the services that citizens have a right to expect and demand.

There is a staggering amount of oppression, injustice and abuse in the world, not just by people against people, but also by people against the natural world—and thus there is a hell of a lot to be angry about—and even to take up arms about.

But setting off bombs on a street crowded with families and athletes?

That is just more senseless violence–meaningless, useless, a squandering of lives and of anger that could be much more appropriately focused and channeled.

Yes, sometimes violence is necessary, sometimes it’s a good thing.

But the violence we are seeing on at ever-increasing rate here in the U.S. is an empty, hollow kind of violence; the violence of a sadist kid who likes to pull the wings off flies.

And worst part of it is, we seem to be on a roll with it.  Our young people entertain themselves with violent movies and video games; our military-industrial complex continues to grow with ever more sophisticated means to inflict violence abroad; our chemical and industrial destruction of the environment continues unabated.

We live in a violent world of our own making.

Can we who believe in peace, harmony and justice make things right without taking up arms ourselves?

I wish I knew the answer.

Intentional communities for the 21st century

Most of us today are living in in houses, villages or cities built in and for an earlier time.  Having become more resigned, in recent months, to the inevitability of climate change, with its attendant disruptions of life as we have known it, I am also now more aware of how essential it is that we begin to adapt if we wish to survive the coming cataclysms.

And that is a big IF.

I am not entirely sure that I have the will to survive, if surviving means living in deprivation with the constant threat of violence, as so many science fiction visions of our future have presaged.

That is why I have lately become so fascinated with questions of the hereafter, trying to peer beyond the transition of life into death, to see whether it might be true that some spiritual essence of us might persist beyond the loss of our physical body.

That remains an unanswered question for me, and for that reason it is still hard for me to go easily into the night of death.  Although I don’t want to live through the hard times that will come with climate change, I do have a desire, which grows stronger by the day, to do what I can to prepare for what is coming.

What does this mean, in a practical sense?

It means that I am thinking seriously about trying to connect with kindred spirits with whom to build a resilient community that is designed to meet the challenges of what will become our reality as the 21st century moves forward.

I should admit that I have always been leery of intentional communities, and my limited experience with them has not been very positive.

I was a member of a Waldorf educational community, as a parent, for more than a decade, and that chapter of my life ended badly—I had to pull my son out mid-stream, at the end of fifth grade, because his teacher was making him (and other classmates) miserable, and the school provided absolutely no framework for setting this bad situation right.  As parents, we were told to suck it up or leave, and many of us left.

Today, in my home here in the Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts, I am a member of various communities, but none with whom I have developed the deep shared bonds of purpose and passion that I imagine would be necessary for a successful intentional community of the kind I am beginning to dimly envision.

What am I looking for?

IFIn some ways, it starts with dwelling.  We need to begin to dwell on the Earth in a sustainable way.  To do this right means we need to change the form of the houses we construct, the energy we siphon from planet and Sun, and the way we produce the food we consume.

The intentional community I imagine will have small, low-energy buildings set harmoniously into the landscape.  Energy will be supplied by geothermal, solar and wind or water, depending on the setting.  As much as possible of the community’s needs will be satisfied locally, using permaculture techniques and the cultivation of fruit and nut trees adapted to the environment.  I imagine chickens, goats, sheep and cows kept mainly for their milk products, and draft horses to plow and fertilize the fields.

I suppose I am envisioning something like what the Amish have held on to all these years, much to the derision of “modern” Americans.

eco-homes-1_1926535b

Might it be possible to adopt the low-tech subsistence model of the Amish (like subsistence farmers worldwide) without necessarily forgoing a) the connectivity of the World Wide Web and b) the freedom of thought and expression encouraged in modern society?

My fear about intentional communities, as they have so far been established, is that they tend to demand strict loyalty and conformism, to such a degree that creativity and growth is suppressed.

I am not willing to give up creative freedom in exchange for material security.

So I am wondering whether it might be possible to form an intentional community based on principles of energy sustainability and a subsistence (as opposed to accumulating or growth) economy, which did not at the same time limit its members creative freedom and growth?

If any models exist, I would appreciate it if readers would point me to them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne I have been thinking about recently is the Lammas Community, in Wales, which I especially love for its marvelous hobbit-style homes.  There are eco-villages throughout EuropeFindhorn is probably the best known—but I am less familiar with similar experiments here in the U.S.

Americans, here is our challenge: to create environmentally sustainable eco-villages that are explicitly designed to weather the climate and social shocks of the coming years, while also allowing for the social and creative free thinking that we have come to cherish at the turn of this century.

 

Can we achieve this?  Do we have time?  Do we have the will?  Can we afford not to?

Sparks fly around the table–of the seminar room or the lunchroom

There’s something seriously wrong when the dominant methods of education do not foster the skills most valued by potential employers.

In a recent spate of op-ed pieces in The New York Times, pundits have explored this disconnect, which seems to be grower wider as we advance into the 21st century.

David Brooks, making a distinction between what he calls “technical knowledge” and “practical knowledge,” says that online education is good for transmitting and measuring students’ mastery of technical knowledge, but does little for helping students gain the practical knowledge they’ll need to be successful in the workplace.

“Practical knowledge is not about what you do, but how you do it,” Brooks says. “It is the wisdom a great chef possesses that cannot be found in recipe books. Practical knowledge is not the sort of knowledge that can be taught and memorized; it can only be imparted and absorbed. It is not reducible to rules; it only exists in practice.”

Brooks points to the college seminar as one of the important incubators of important workplace skills, and as someone who teaches exclusively in seminar style, I agree with him.  The college seminar is where students learn how to listen to each other, build on each other’s ideas, articulate their own ideas clearly and concisely, and take away crucial insights that they’ll use to construct their more fully elaborated written papers (which in the workplace might be called briefs or reports).

But Brooks and I part company when he suggests that seminars should be used as laboratories for the dissection of intellectual exchange.  He thinks that a smart use of online education technology would be “to take a free-form seminar and turn it into a deliberate seminar….Seminars could be recorded with video-cameras, and exchanges could be reviewed and analyzed to pick apart how a disagreement was handled and how a debate was conducted. Episodes in one seminar could be replayed for another. Students could be assessed, and their seminar skills could be tracked over time.”

Deep groan.  This sounds like a perfect recipe for a disastrous seminar in which students—and faculty–would be made to feel increasingly self-conscious, where the delight of the “free-form” exchange of ideas would degenerate into a stilted, scripted, uber-careful caricature of what a seminar should be.

Occasionally taping a seminar and analyzing it might be fruitful, especially in one of those inevitable groups where the dynamics are terrible and everyone, by mid-semester, wants to just crawl under the table and hide. But making the focus of the semester the “how” rather than the “what” seems like a terrible idea.

It’s also in sharp contrast to the most cutting-edge ideas of how to spur human innovation and creativity, which lord knows we desperately need as the 21st century advances.

In his own recent column on education, NY Times columnist Tom Friedman interviewed Harvard education specialist Tony Wagner, also looking for ways that educational practices could better connect to workplace imperatives. According to Wager, who just wrote a book called Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, “because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate — the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life — and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge. As one executive told me, ‘We can teach new hires the content, and we will have to because it continues to change, but we can’t teach them how to think — to ask the right questions — and to take initiative.’ ”

Critical thinking, asking the right questions, and taking initiative are indeed what should be taught at every level of education, from kindergarten to college and beyond.  Interestingly, Wagner also points to another important goal of education, which is to motivate students to want to learn.

“Young people who are intrinsically motivated — curious, persistent, and willing to take risks — will learn new knowledge and skills continuously,” Wagner says. “They will be able to find new opportunities or create their own — a disposition that will be increasingly important as many traditional careers disappear.”

Unfortunately, in our current education environment, where passing standardized tests becomes a goal in itself, keeping kids engaged is a serious challenge.

I saw this myself when I taught at a large state university, where the students were much more interested in finding the best watering holes for their weekend parties than in any of their classes.

As Friedman reports: “We teach and test things most students have no interest in and will never need, and facts that they can Google and will forget as soon as the test is over,” said Wagner. “Because of this, the longer kids are in school, the less motivated they become. Gallup’s recent survey showed student engagement going from 80 percent in fifth grade to 40 percent in high school.”

Wagner’s solution is to re-imagine the classroom, and the educational system, so that teachers are focused on “teaching the skill and will to learn and to make a difference and bring the three most powerful ingredients of intrinsic motivation into the classroom: play, passion and purpose.”

That is a tall order, really, and it has to do not just with the classroom, but also with the dining room table—with what happens at home, in students’ family environment.  How to inspire passion and persistence in students who are being reared on smash-em up video games?  How to foster critical thinking and collaboration in students who come from plugged-in families who rarely spend much quality time together?

Somewhat paradoxically, it appears that it’s precisely in web-based interactive technology companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo and others that the qualities of human innovation and creativity are most dogged sought.

And how are they trying to foster these skills among their workers?

Google350x233By going back to good old-fashioned lunchroom tables, at which, it appears, the unstructured back and forth of ideas is what prompts the greatest leaps in creative thinking.  Just like that other good old-fashioned table, the one in the college seminar room!

In a New York Times article provocatively entitled “Engineering Serendipity,” Greg Lindsay points to a recent study in which “researchers at Arizona State University used sensors and surveys to study creativity within teams.” The study found that “employees who ate at cafeteria tables designed for 12 were more productive than those at tables for four, thanks to more chance conversations and larger social networks. That, along with things like companywide lunch hours and the cafes Google is so fond of, can boost individual productivity by as much as 25 percent.”

If our best, most innovative companies most value creative, collaborative thinking, which is best fostered in face to face interactions, why in the world is K-12 education focused on teaching technical knowledge measured by standardized tests, while higher education is flocking to online learning, which isolate students in front of their computer screens?

Give me the old-fashioned seminar table any day, with a smart, dedicated teacher and a roomful of students who are absolutely forbidden to use their computers or phones or tablets for the duration of the class session! Give us some provocative material to discuss, and just watch the creative sparks fly!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

So OK, having slept fitfully and woken up resigned to accepting the basic premise that it is unlikely that the world as I have always known it will continue into the foreseeable future…what then?

How do I spend my one wild and precious life on the planet?

I am quite clear that I want to put my time, talents and energies into doing my best to head off catastrophe for the natural world.

But this often feels like trying to stick my finger in a huge roaring dyke of bad news—how can I, a small and ordinary person, make a difference for the trees and animals and birds and bees that I so want to protect?

All I can say is that making the attempt is better than giving up.

My gift has always been writing, and so I am using that gift to try to reach out to others, in the hope that if many of us, in our small, ordinary lives, can join our voices together, the resulting chorus could indeed change the world.

I am continually amazed at how the technological innovation of the World Wide Web has facilitated the meeting of minds and the catalyzing of movements.  There has never been a better moment for human progress and connected intellectual growth.

I wake up with a new thought, write it down and send it out into the gushing waters of the internet, where, within the hour, it will be read by someone living on the other side of the planet, who will bat it back to me with comments that will cause me to see the idea from a whole new perspective.  All within the space of an hour! How remarkable is that?

But sadly, it is precisely our reliance on and success with technology that is causing our demise, from simple overpopulation to the poisoning of our environment.

This is the challenge of our time: to very quickly learn to adapt to our rapidly changing climate, and to find environmentally sustainable ways to hang on to our positive technological inventions.

I believe it can be done, which is why I am totally invested in the challenge of waking people up and getting them engaged in fighting the good fight to make our epoch, which many call the Anthropocene, a positive transition to a better human relationship with the Earth, rather than a nightmare ending in the dark night of extinction.

If we were to shift our resources from weapons of destruction–guns, bombs and missiles, chemical poisons, and ever-bigger drills, earth-movers and chain saws—to implements of cultivation and the harmless harvesting of the bounty of our natural world, what a huge difference that would make!

People say that over-population will continue no matter what, but I know from years of studying women’s issues worldwide that when women are educated and respected in a society, they have fewer children.

Between fewer children in the developing world, a lower rate of consumption in the developed world, and the invention of new technologies that act in harmony with nature rather than against her, we could transform our planet within a generation or two.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy The Lord of the Rings is looking more and more prophetic, and it’s surely no accident that the films have come out now, to appeal to the current generation of young people.

We are the ones who must enter the fight to hold off the dark forces of Mordor, in order to preserve the happy, healthy lives in the Shire that all humans are meant to live.

tumblr_m9hm5vDG2h1qzhkvho1_500Today is the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, and I invoke his memory to remind us that although it is true that by ourselves each one of us is puny and limited, it is also true that if we pool our resources and act together we have tremendous power.

We must each start by determining what gifts we can bring to the table of this new movement, and then start where we are, doing what we can, and sharing our insights and passions by all the channels of communication that are open to us, from talking face to face with friends and neighbors to sending our ideas out into the World Wide Web.

Now is the time, and we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

I will close with two quotes from Dr. King:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Amen, brother.

Confronting taboos: death and the afterlife, American-style

It is one of those unspoken social contracts that Americans won’t say anything to each other that might indicate any doubt that life as we know it will continue.

If you dare to bring up the subject of climate change, with its attendant erratic weather, major storms, sea-level rises, wildfires and crop losses, people roll their eyes and change the subject.

If you voice any doubt that the economy—local, national and global—will recover, you are dismissed as a negative Pollyanna, and again, the subject is changed.

If you were, just hypothetically, to express the opinion that our increasing reliance on digital technology might have the quality of an unhealthy addiction, and to worry aloud at the effect that all that unrelenting screen time is having on the current generation of tiny tots, you are dismissed as a raving Luddite.

Nobody talks about the fact that both of our political parties are thoroughly corrupt, and our Supreme Court even more so.

No one mentions the disappointment so many of us feel with President Obama, who has proven himself incapable of effectively standing up to Beltway politics—if indeed that was ever his goal.

We are living through a massive period of collective denial of social and physical reality, with no exit in sight from the crazy funhouse we inhabit, with its motto, “Everything is going to be OK” blazoned on every door.

It’s about time we accepted the fact that everything is not going to be OK.

Not by a long shot.

I have been a little bit quieter than usual this past month, with my attention turned to the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, but I have been paying attention nonetheless to what’s going on in the world.

The elephants of Africa are under siege and conservationists are now using the E-word to describe their future.

American bees are dying off at record rates due to pesticide poisoning, which is now not only killing the adults, but also the larva of the bee colonies.

The ice at the poles continues to melt at an accelerated rate, while down in Australia it was by far the hottest summer on record.

Just this week, record rainfall brought flooding to Argentina that killed scores of people.

There will be no escape from the severe weather that our degenerating climate system will wreak upon all of us.

As retiring climate scientist James Hansen has testified over and over, we are already at the tipping point from which there will be no return to what was “normal” for the past 10,000 years.

I totally understand the impetus to denial, because really, what can any of us do about all this?

What should we be doing?

Marching on Washington DC?  Setting up survivalist camps in the wilderness?  Sabotaging pipelines and coal-fired power plants?  Buying hybrid vehicles and solar panels?

Damned if I know.

I am on a list-serve that broadcasts a newsletter written by Alex Kochkin, who focuses more on the spiritual side of our current crisis on Earth.  Kochkin insists that we should not be wasting time worrying about the physical issues here on the planet, but instead should be focusing our attention on getting ready for our transition into the spiritual realm—in other words, for death.

Kochkin predicts that there will be a massive die-off of humanity in the coming years, but he casts this in positive terms, as a necessary cleansing that will enable the Earth to reboot and start on yet another spiritual and evolutionary journey.

Believing firmly in a nonphysical afterlife, he is unafraid of death.

This is so counter-cultural that it gives me pause.

Unafraid of death?  Really?

Our culture is so fixated on avoiding death at all costs that it is hard to wrench my mind around to another way of seeing things.

11857232-life-after-death-religious-concept-illustrationWhat if death were just a transition to another (non-physical) stage of existence?

What if it were in fact the best thing that could happen to our planet if the majority of human beings transitioned out of physical existence?

What if the tenacity with which we Americans hold on to our lives was entirely misplaced?

What if instead of focusing all of our technical and intellectual know-how on physical survival, we began to focus on learning more about the non-physical realms that we have so far relegated to the backward precincts of religion, New Age quackery, and woo-woo tales of near-death experiences?

There is a noticeable trend in popular culture reflecting an uptick in interest in explorations of the spiritual/non-physical dimensions.  From Harry Potter to Twilight and beyond, we have a fascination with stories that can take us beyond the bounds of ordinary physical reality.

So strong is the cultural taboo on discussing this seriously that it is hard for me to push the “publish” button and let this blog post out in the world.

But another part of me rebels and is just done with listening to the soothing murmur of the mainstream: don’t worry, dear, everything is going to be OK….

No, everything is not going to be OK.  Just like the elephants and the bees and the polar bears, human beings are going to face a massive die-off due to the changes in our climate system, and soon.

It is that, above all else, that we should be preparing ourselves for.  How? I am not sure.  But one thing is certain: insisting that all will be well, despite all the evidence to the contrary, is just silly and delusional.

It’s time to wake up.

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