There is something at the very core about us that needs to change. This cannot be emphasized often enough. We need to change how we think. How we think of ourselves, our place in creation, how we think of how we live, how we think of our relationships to the diversity of planetary life, to structures, elements, systems of nature and interconnections of naturally functioning Earth ways.
To change how we think do we first change the normalcy of perception? Or does perception change because of altered thinking? What comes first, our senses focusing outward or our internal mental processes? What is primarily determining, living through our senses or being inside our heads? We know what technology is making of us and we have largely become a head tripping species, unfortunately for many people, existence is little more than being talking heads in our cyborgian interactions with others.
Einstein told us that everything had changed with the coming of nuclear weapons except how we think about the concrete realities of the world, the human condition and life itself at risk. Einstein’s admonition has been ignored and humanity provided assurance through the politics of “Mutually Assured Destruction” and our being publicly redirected and redefined via consumerism in relentless overdrive. Planetary convulsions throughout the spectrum of what is now commonly referred to as climate crisis are more recurrent, visceral and immediate than the fantastical horror of imagining nuclear holocaust. From this, it appears, there is a wider opening and openness to change how we think, and in potentially asking who we are and even why.
At this moment in terrestrial history, one thing is certain. There is an imperative, an Earth imperative that we change. As Earth’s dominate species, trained in ubiquitous disregard and unfeeling abusiveness, the human footprint and consequences of cumulative rampage are everywhere. The implications involve us all and the solutions to this complex problematic require us all. Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki spoke a truth that gets to the heart of this troubling matter by saying, “The climate crisis is a human crisis.”
So, what are we going to do about this, about us, or what are not going to do by continuing denial, by holding back or refusing to face up to and get to doing what needs to be done? Procrastination is only an evasive form of refusal, perhaps attached to a concealed wish for the challenge to disappear of its own volition if only it is put off long enough, talked around, then ignored.
But life is dynamic, the Earth, as a living entity, is dynamic. And both life and the Living Earth become insistent when necessary. To move from inaction to correct action may be to emerge as avatars of relationships, conscientious keepers and ecosophic guardians, gardeners.
Over generations we have risen; unthinkingly come and gone; as a breed apart. This is something we are not, but which has disastrously been accepted and pursued out of false ideas, unexamined assumptions, expectations, reasoning, unreasoning, and wrong perceptions. Both human ignorance and arrogance have led to where we are. Human immaturity has allowed us to believe in entitlement, to believe that what is false is true, that what is convenient is alright at whatever cost, and that everything will work out because, after all, this place, and our placement here, is transient. We are inheritors of ideas of salvation promising a New Heaven and a New Earth, the “other place” to which the faithful are to be transported after the final laying waste of what is given. In this context it has regularly been held as heretical to pursue the ideals of Heaven as potentials of this very Earth, as goals on the continuum of the here and now. This despite all evidence informing us that Earth is the only home any of us has authentic experience of.
Because of such ideas, and this importantly is but one of the keys to Western thinking, we are in the intensifying predicament of our distressed human condition and the traumatized realities of this one only Earth.
So, we are not a breed apart. We are rather participants in the diverse inclusiveness of planetary life. We do not live on the Earth but abide within the Earth and the comprehensive spectrum of elemental structures, biotic systems and diversity which has evolved into a vital, vibrant, and intricate unity of diversity, which by us is continuously being assailed, disrupted, reduced, and imperiled. The rending of life structures, atmospheric and biotic systems, regulating oceans, driving planetary wind and moisture cycles, the chemical composition of the air life depends on, remains largely out of focus outside of scientific communities. But the Big Picture, along with local weather and the rest that is immediate are two perspectives of the whole reality and both require accurate and honest response.
Yes, we are responsible to Earth and to Humanity, to future generations, human and transhuman alike, to self and to other, and integrally to the outward reach of spherically interwoven otherness. Our responsibility is to cultivate, with sensitive urgency and energy, a culture of response-abilities flourishing throughout a civilization of relationships. Without responsibility; if continuing in the imbalance of isolation and overconsumption; depletion, collapse is already waiting to overwhelm us and cut off our children.
Earth is in need and we, as inhabitants of Earth, having no home alternative, actual or fantastical, are in need. To satisfy any need requires honest acknowledgement, recognition, and clarity—requires a direction leading to appropriate action. A key alternative to cataclysmic anticipation is in changing how we think: developing alternatives in what, why, how and who. The ability to do such is a signature of our collective intelligence, the blessed curse and cursed blessing evolution has bestowed upon us.
As thinking changes, our priorities will also change, moving further from what we erroneously believe we deserve and far too often out of dumbness, numbness, and moral bankruptcy demand, to be more into belonging, into relearning what we love, what by love we are capable of and thus making a morality of love to thrive and pass forward from generation to generation. Therein can life celebrate through acts of beauty—the prolific doing of what is right for life because it is right to do so.
Entrenched and reactionary power structures, impositions set against nature, coupled with obsolete concepts and erroneous and endangering attitudes of entitlement resist the changes that are needed. These obstacles are real and yet to be overcome.
But now, as if by way of a majority report, I think it is correct, or in process of becoming correct, to state this: The majority of those alive now already recognize that change is required to move into what is best and most possible to keep Earth as a habitable homestead, a living planet, and to work together to assure that dignity is conditional for the future of global life.
David Sparenberg is a world citizen, environmental & peace advocate & activist, actor, poet-playwright, storyteller, teacher and author.