Can this culture be saved?

Posted July 7th, 2010 in Blog, Featured 2 Comments »

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

Well, friends, I’m going to be offline for about 9 days, time for reconnecting and replenishing. But I wanted to share some thoughts here and challenge us to do some radical new thinking about our predicament.

Tomorrow ESPN will have a one hour special built around LeBron James’ decision about which NBA team will pay him more than the GDP of many poor countries to play professional basketball.

I think this is very disturbed.  I think this indicates a culture with a problem.

Meanwhile, some recent news reports indicate that BP is preparing for the very real possibility that the relief wells will not stop the flow of oil. And of course the oil has now reached the Texas shore and has moved into Lake Ponchartrain on its way to New Orleans.

Syncrude Mildred Lake oil tar sands plant - Wikimedia Commons

How chastened are we by this incident? The U.S. government is about to decide whether or not to allow a pipeline to be built from Alberta’s Athabasca oil tar sands fields – described as one of the greatest environmental disasters, and most toxic sites in all the world – to a port in Wisconsin. We already import 1.9 million barrels a day from Canada and the pipeline would allow for an additional 1.1 million.  As this article indicates, Canada is becoming our primary source of oil – hey, why waste our coastlines when Canada is perfectly willing to destroy their ancient boreal forests, forests that help cool the earth’s atmosphere?

As you will see from this article, there is growing opposition in Congress to this deal, so you might want to consider making a stink about it with your own Representatives.

Oh, and speaking of heat – just thought you’d want to know what meteorologists and news people don’t want to tell us – that some of our climate scientists are saying that the weather pattern creating the record-breaking heat wave could be a climate impact from global warming.  Scientists are usually more cautious than this, and when scientists get alarmed, I do, too.

Meanwhile, this little tidbit no one is talking about much really got my attention – ocean acidification due to global warming is reaching tipping point levels that could change everything – and I mean, everything.  Read this, and then try to sleep well tonight.

Okay, I can get pretty depressing here. The point I’m trying to make is that while James and ESPN and the NBA and all their corporate sponsors see fortunes to be made in marketing this guy, and while lots of energy gets absorbed in this empty exercise of athletes as investments, our world is literally unraveling. The suffering is getting real (ask the folks along the Gulf coast about that, or elderly folks in Philadelphia without a.c., or folks living near the oil mess in Nigeria, or Appalachian Mountain coal-mining communities), we’re in trouble, and these corporate folks keep screaming, “Hey, but look over there!”

Don't want her to have a sad future - photo by Mom

Don't want her to have a sad future - photo by Mom

What they don’t want us to know (to SEE) is what we need to know in order to save ourselves from a pretty sad future. When I look at the attitudes revealed in the polls, when I see what absorbs so much of our energy in the popular culture, and in politics (a particular disaster), what isn’t there is the capacity to make momentous decisions, in cooperation with others, to address these gathering crises which are going to shake us right down to the foundations of our lives.

In the last chapter of my book, Living Beyond the ‘End of the World:’ A Spirituality of Hope, I ask the question, “What kind of human beings will we be as we go through the crisis?”  Right here, in this U.S. culture, what kind of people, with what values and priorities?

If the ESPN/NBA/James business is any indication, we have a problem, a serious, serious problem.

I’ll be back end of next week.


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2 Responses

  1. D.Bheemeswar

    Yes My dear,

    The cultures on this are all interconnected, are well in communication, beyond the understanding of the people. That’s where the spirituality was developed to understand that. Science can not replace that. Science had its own limitations we can study only with few materials are components. Where as spirituality can deal with multiples of that in exponential forms. Present generation might have gone to dogs because they do not have faith in themselves and in others, which mainly due non following of any tradition and culture. Peoples minds are more polluted with negatives rather than with positives.

    For your kind information, the theory of survival of fittest one is interpreted totally wrongly, and each species is distinctly different afar even though they have common genes to some extent. Each and every bodies genes and its response depends on what we started eating or come across from the traditionally and customs from ages what I meant say from our forefathers onwards.

  2. Steve Salmony

    We need more people like Professor Emeritus Gary L. Peters…..

    Many thanks to Dr. Gary Peters for being a participant, not a spectator of events, and for fulfilling what President Barack H. Obama (quoting former President Abraham Lincoln) asked of us earlier this year,
    “We are not bound to win but we are bound to be true; we are not bound to succeed but we are bound to live up to the light we possess.”

    Gary Peters is true and living up to the light he possesses. He is providing stand-alone analyses of vital matters, that is to say, looming global threats to human and environmental health already visible to humanity on the far horizon.

    It is not clear to me why so many experts have chosen not to follow Dr. Peters’ example, but instead choose to remain electively muted spectators of what is happening on Earth in our time. Willful silence of experts who possess knowledge derived from the best available scientific evidence strikes me as a tragic anomaly, one that has unfortunately become a dominant, widely shared characteristic of many too many human population professionals in our time. How are we to address and overcome human-forced global challenges when population experts with appropriate expertise fail to acknowledge certain scientific evidence, however unforeseen and unwelcome, by hiding the evidence in silence?

    Keep speaking out loudly and clearly about what is true, as best you can see it, Gary.