Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Doom and Gloom

Happy Earth Day!
[March 25th]
Yesterday morning I was crunching through a geologically diverse stream bed, likening the temperature and vast openness to Big Bend, and feeling the sun shine down on my non-sunscreened face. Although I was finding pleasure in this simple scouting hike for work, and was joined by good company, my co-worker Aaron, my heart was heavy and my head was starting to buzz.
Earlier in the hike, as we encountered our 4th fork in the trail, I started to imagine, as I often do, a situation in which this would be my every day life. I imagined a time in the not-too-distant future when disease has wiped out vast numbers of populations, electricity has failed us and our reliance on computers for everything from pumping wells to dispensing money has proven a poor survival tactic.
But now, on our journey back to my fuel-consuming car, we share information from books we read about pending societal collapse, the potential of our species demise, the point at which there is no return and if we’ve past it, and how to encounter the world with a “business as usual” tone when all you want to do is go find a little tract of land and farm the hell out of it and stock it up for the next 20 years.
While we acknowledged the privilege we have to be aware of such problems, we contemplated how to move forward. Fortunately, individuals are rarely charged with tackling the world’s problems on their own (except in the movies: You are the chosen one…). Although it is discouraging to me how many people are living “business as usual” lives, which isn’t just not helping but actually increasing the detriments to our world…there are a lot of people who are doing really cool things

I often write these blogs through the ‘business as usual’ lens, providing ideas for what we can do if our world were somehow to stay in this cracked state without ever getting broken. I’m inspired by articles I read, and meetings I go to of empowered, enthusiastic young people and then I see little flaws in our society that seem feasible for one person to change, and I want to write about them, and inspire others to change as well. I was recently acknowledged for my “boundless optimism” because that’s all you can have in a situation as grim as ours.

While I think it’s important that we educate people to turn off the water when they brush their teeth, and turn off the lights when they leave a room, and take public transportation or a bike instead of a car, I also sincerely believe that our world requires a radical revolution if we’re going to survive. (As Thom Hartmann says in his book, The Crash of 2016) 
Especially if we want business as usual to look anything like what we currently recognize.

Wilderness- views of Zuni mountains from El Malpais BLM land

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