I have spent more time and effort than ever in this last year on attempting to understand what is happening to life on this planet and what we all need to be doing to protect and support it. Trying to make decisions about who/what to give my support to in this. Trying to understand what I can offer. I am limited in my understanding – not really able to take in the immensity it all, but not wanting to break it down and reduce it to simply problems to solve. This is some of what I have learned:
I am not separate. I am, and I am not, an individual. All beings, animate and inanimate, on the planet are totally unique and totally interconnected. The whole universe is totally interconnected. The wise have been telling us this since always. Humans are not really able to separate themselves from the rest of nature on this rich and wonderful planet. It is not our right or even a genuine possibility to dominate the natural world. This is a dangerous illusion we have been living with too long. Our efforts to do this have brought us to this point.
Power and control need to be replaced by responsibility and agency. Everything we do has some kind of effect. We each have some agency and need to take on board our responsibility. This is an immense shift in view – but possible. It requires us to do without much of what we have taken for granted as our entitlement. We must let go of power and control – of any thought of dominance.
It would be dangerous to think that technology can solve things – or economics – or politics. All of these have hugely contributed and are continuing to contribute to the processes of environmental destruction that are now well underway. Technology, economics and politics can be helpful, but only if the current views and approaches within them are radically re-visioned. What is needed is a fundamental shift in how we view ourselves, others and our environment.
People tend to want certainty and simplicity – but will have to embrace uncertainty and complexity. We will also have to embrace each other – all of us need to embrace all of us – human and non-human. If this does not happen, then fear will take hold everywhere and I fear a frightening and violent future – global holocaust. Them-and-us and nationalism need to be replaced by equality and community. And as the eloquent voices in the Black Lives Matter movement have made it clear, for things to become more equal, those of us who have more will need to make do with far less – less privilege, less convenience, less comfort and even less food.
Nature can recover. If given the space and able to take the lead, life can proliferate again. But we will need to take less, make less and discard less. We will have less of what we have strenuously created and accumulated in the last 400 years or so. Less will feel like loss – but it will bring more. Are we prepared to live with less? Can we manage to open our hearts and minds to embrace what needs to be embraced?