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.
Today 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.”