The earth, all that sustains us, is in deep trouble. The soil, the air, the water, the creatures that sustain our ecosystem are crying out and we are afraid to hear them. Here is just one example that moved me to write today:
“In 10 to 100 years we are going to find out that most of our groundwater is polluted,” said Mario Salazar, an engineer who worked for 25 years as a technical expert with the EPA’s underground injection program in Washington. “A lot of people are going to get sick, and a lot of people may die.” (propublica.org)
So how do we enjoy our lives and the gifts many of us have and at the same time we acknowledge such facts? Indeed, it is not healthy to dwell on a constant diet of terrible facts. So there are also the facts of human kindness, the companionship and wisdom of animals and plants, and the grandeur of nature around us. To acknowledge all of this makes us whole.
It is possible to acknowledge suffering caused by climate change “elsewhere” and to other people and species. Such suffering of “others” is our own future. Looking at that squarely allows us to use a great gift humans have been given: creativity. If we have lived long enough, we have all faced terrible personal problems and most likely endured and created a better future with the help of others. So it is possible now, as we and all we love face a terrible collective future, to support each other and call on our deeper honesty, speak the truth and be creative. Let’s admit that our air, water, soil and food are being spoiled for short-term profit. Let us admit that the gifts we older people had in our lifetime will be denied to our children and grandchildren. Let’s come together and be creative.
But first we have to stop lying to ourselves.
We have to admit that our natural resources are limited. We have to admit that our politics are broken. We have to admit that our political and economic systems are fixed and when something is fixed it cannot function naturally and freely. It eventually withers and dies. We have to admit that those politicians, regardless of “party,” who do not speak and act truthfully should not have our support. Let’s admit that our current economic austerity has been manufactured.
Let’s not be afraid. Let’s rejoice that “We all do better when we all do better.” Let’s call forth our human creativity in all of our individual ways and use it collectively to sustain life on our planet.