While we were busy being entranced by the glitzy age of cheap oil and easy money, we missed a very important fact. Our reality has changed. I know that is hard to accept, but what other choice do we have? We can’t live in denial forever. Sooner or later Mother Nature will smack us in the — (choose a body part). It will be so much easier for us if we pay attention now.
Pay attention, you say? To what? Well, I don’t mean to the Kardashians, Lindsay Lohan or the Eagles football team. I mean what’s really happening on our precious planet. Nuclear power plant disasters. Air-water-land-sea pollution. Extreme consumerism. Dwindling planetary resources. Crumbling economies everywhere. Homelessness. Poverty. Violence that was unthinkable a few generations ago. Climate disruption in all its various forms: droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, tsunamis, typhoons, crop failures, ocean acidification, melting icebergs, deforestation.
Why pay attention to things we’d rather not look at? Because it’s important to recognize that we are not helpless victims of what is happening to our world. We are part of the problem. The common denominator of all these crises is how we have chosen to live on our planet. It’s way past time to envision a new way of living. Yet we seem to lack the will to do so (please prove me wrong!), even though our lives depend on it.
If we lifted the veil of denial and faced the situation directly, we would not hesitate to undertake an all out effort to remedy our predicament. We’ve done it before. Remember Pearl Harbor?
But the effort we need now is different. Today we need a radical shift in our way of thinking and perceiving the world. Starhawk says it better than I ever could…
The dominant culture sees the world as a bunch of stuff, separate, isolated objects. Advertisers tell us that happiness lies in acquiring more and more of this stuff, and a capitalist economics demands constant growth.
The shift we need to make is to see the world not as a bunch of separate things but as a web of relationships. We are part of an interwoven whole, and our goal is not to win, but to connect, to nurture, to play, to dance.
I’ve heard it said that the human race is beginning to move from adolescence to adulthood. Adolescence (as you may remember) is a time of upheaval and tumoil. It is the transition from childhood to adulthood. I do hope we make the transition swiftly and that the Earth can hang together till we get there.