As the year ends: a rough one for the planet, but signs of new creation

Posted December 28th, 2011 in Blog, Featured 1 Comment »

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

Have you seen Venus and the crescent moon of the past 2 nights?! I gasped out loud last evening just after sunset when the clouds parted and revealed these magnificent lanterns in the early night sky following each other to the horizon. Now Jupiter is high in the sky as the sun sets chasing Venus. It will catch up in March promising a great show just in time to  herald in the spring. [Check out more of the season’s spectacular planets dance here.]

Wounded Earth - Mary Southard, CSJ

Okay, with that lovely meditation, I do just want to share with you some of the challenging news as this year ends. We know it’s been a rough one for the planet in all sorts of ways, and for many species living within it, including our own.  Lots of hurt and suffering. Lots of political and cultural dysfunction. Lots of religious and ideological closed-minded fundamentalisms rearing their ugly heads seemingly everywhere.

Two ways of looking at it: Everything is moving towards disaster, chaos, end times; or, something new is emerging and the reaction to it is fierce. But that reaction, the chaos, is part of the pronouncement, the herald, of a new era looming, trying to crash through the stubborn, resistant belief systems, power arrangements, human hubris and grandiosity, that have brought us to this brink.

The thin blue line - NASA photo

I prefer, or believe in, or trust the latter. But I believe the former is possible, even part of the latter.  Yet even as many of us believe that new creation will emerge from the chaos and collapses, we also know that a lot of damage has been done and is going to be done before we get to see that emergent creation. We also know that for the chaos to yield to a new era, we need to be harbingers now, to be part of the new creation as it emerges and help it along.

Irreversible climate change looms within five years
The brutal logic of climate change
Three quarters of climate change is man-made

Scary stuff, right? These are not just news stories; they are announcements. We are moving into a new reality in terms of the planet’s climate, a new context for the human species, and all other species that have lived within the relative climate balance of the last 10,000 years, especially since the development of agriculture when the growth spurt of homo sapiens sapiens really took off. We are about to learn how dependent the rise of civilization has been on that balance.

But as a species too lumbering and now too alienated from the direct experience of its own biological context and connections, we have become ill-adapted to responding in a timely fashion to the signals that tell us we are in trouble. And so a certain amount of catastrophic change is already written into our future. How will we do?

Right now we are not doing very well, and the damage continues. Gas and oil fracking is no longer something to be prevented; it is an industry run wild all across huge swaths of North America. TransCanada is planning a vast expansion of oil tar sands mining in Alberta. In North Dakota you would have to be crazy to tell ranchers there that the record US oil play in their state ought not be exploited when a so many people are now becoming millionaires. What, are we crazy?

Titanic leaving port April 10 1912 - looks pretty good just 5 days before the crash

Before the calendar year changes we are hearing all sorts of hype about the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912 (also tax day and an election year, so I can already imagine the political ads to come). So let’s go ahead and use it as an example – of hubris, of taking nature for granted, of believing human ingenuity can master the forces of nature, of our penchant to believe that the worst can never happen and that we will always be okay, and that when we soldier on like that, once we are faced with the danger, it is too late to turn the ship around.

Crash. Sink. Some are saved. Some are not. And so it goes.

How do you want to welcome this new year? How shall we go about greeting this new era emerging? How will we describe it? How will we articulate our hopes and dreams for it? How will we begin to realize them even now, knowing what we will have to pass through to get to them?

Could a challenge be more terrifying or exhilarating than that?

Well, that’s where we’re headed here. That’s what we want to talk about as we move ahead with this project. We have our work cut out for us, no?

We hope you will join us on this extraordinary journey. Your comments and reflections are welcome here. And please remember:

This project depends upon the support of people like you. There is still time to make a tax deductible contribution for the current tax year.  We would be incredibly grateful! Of course, next tax year is fine, too.

And remember that you can also support us by making this website and our program visible to your communities – listing our web address and link on your own websites and resource lists, inviting us to give presentations (stipends are also a crucial source of support), or asking us to write something for your publications.

We must create our way into the future. We must make new creation by starting this very day, or this evening as the moon, Venus, and Jupiter again light up the night sky. We can remember that so much of what is damaging this planet and the human community are things that are unnecessary for, or even damaging to, real quality of life, to love and joy, to community and family life. We can give up so much of what is harming this world while recovering what gives life its deepest meaning.

And so, finally, many blessings in this coming year. Keep up your spirits! Don’t follow the political news every day or watch all those campaign ads. Go out and play, sip wine with your friends in the evening, listen to music, go to poetry readings, spend time with the kids, with beauty, take a walk in the woods, or hike up a mountainside. That’s the world we want to live in, and it is still here now. Don’t let it get away from us…

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One Response

  1. D.Bheemeswar

    It is good sign for the people on this earth. Jesus and even the bible never says that you go on doing mischief over mischief’s and wash your sins every time. It says only one thing if in case one has done sins knowingly or unknowingly pray to that lord whom so ever you believe, here in this case is Jesus, who has shown them a path to end the slavism and treat all as humans. But as usual each and every scripture is misinterpreted and misread by those who wanted to get advantage to show that they are great and bosses of this world or deeds what they do are only the best, others who follow whom ever they believe are all crooks and to be their slaves. Even though Jesus has sacrificed his life the people who follow him ignored it. For them only enjoyment and make materialistic benefits and sit comfortably and pose as managers or bosses.
    If anybody really understood what Jesus, Krishna, Mohammad or others who got enlightened wanted to see on this earth there wouldn’t have been so many problems on this earth. Or other wise those who understood may be keeping quite fearing these people who have ransacked the humanity and life on this earth under what ever be the name and devasted it by all means. It is not too late to make better these conditions if humans work for humanity sake.