This week I found myself falling into despair after hearing that the one of the largest dams in the world, Belo Monte, has been approved to move into production on the Amazon in Brazil. This will directly impact the indigenous peoples of the region and force many species into extinction. Coupled with the road now being planned to traverse the Serengeti, affecting the migrating patterns of all those wild creatures who roam that landscape, I wept for the lack of vision from our global political leaders who endorse these large-scale projects, bought and paid for by transnational corporations seeking ever more profit. What came to my mind/heart was “With no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) I fear that this is the road we are traveling down and grieve for my little grandnephews and future generations.
However, today I finally read the latest issue of On Earth, the NRDC’s (National Resources Defense Council) quarterly membership magazine. I’ve been a financial supporter for years, do my share of on-line activism, and today I am grateful and inspired to read of so much creativity being birthed through people, every day, on the ground in their communities. From “Planting The Trees of Life” in Haiti, the creation of a new “Green Chemistry” program at UC Berkeley (For designing new products with no toxic chemicals. Imagine that!) to a young woman, Molly Rockamann, who is training people of all ages to learn organic farming in Missouri. Rockamann also founded EarthDance which distributes the food from the 14-acre plot through a CSA (community sponsored agriculture) to the community at large. Ingenuity. Creativity. Hope.
These are but a few examples of the “Great Work” of our time to quote the late eco-theologian Thomas Berry. In his book of the same name, he writes, “We cannot doubt that we too have been given the intellectual vision, the spiritual insight, and even the physical resources we need for carrying out the transition that is demanded of these times, transition from the period when humans were a disruptive force on the planet Earth to the period when humans become present to the planet in a manner that is mutually enhancing. (p.11) Our political leaders may not have vision but we the people do and it is rising out of the necessity for our very survival. We have our creativity. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. It has been said that the change we need in the world will emerge, ground up, instead of coming down via those in traditional leadership roles. Although we–and this planet–desperately need change in our political system as well, until that occurs it is going to be up to each of us to co-create new structures and ways of being in our communities. In his book, Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken writes of the nearly 2 million individuals and organizations working toward ecological sustainability and social justice. This gives me hope.
It still grieves me that polar bears will likely go extinct in my lifetime, as will many other species. And there will be more suffering as people learn to adapt to the changing climate but on a good day, I believe in the creativity of the human spirit. And today, I guess that is as good as it gets.
For love of the EARTH!