Long time – sorry ’bout that. We’ve had a little thing going on here in Wisconsin

Posted March 2nd, 2011 in Blog, Featured Comments Off on Long time – sorry ’bout that. We’ve had a little thing going on here in Wisconsin

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

Hope I haven’t lost anyone here. It has been a long time since I posted, and this will be the only one this week because I’m leading a little weekend retreat in South Carolina.  I have been very distracted by what is going on here in my home state of Wisconsin, a drama both terrifying and exhilarating – in part because we don’t know how this story will turn out. We are standing at the edge of some watershed, or on a continental divide of some sort and the flow could still go either way – towards or away from hope, towards or away from a society in which we might actually want to live.

Thrilling, right?

So, in my inevitable need to vent, I quickly set up a blog so I could do just that, a temporary thing to give some different point of view than the prevailing ones in my town. The site name is ‘Milwaukee Reflections,’ the blog name, ‘Swedish in Milwaukee.’

That blog is not specifically about ecology or spirituality, but in reality it is about both. Because this watershed moment is about which direction this state will take in the context of national and global dynamics that could rip the human and earth communities to shreds and or help heal us and knit us together.

Really, the stakes are that high.

We are faced with two paths that are becoming clearer. We will either allow the industrial world and its corporate owners to take us down a path towards ecological collapse, a path that all along the way will be littered with war and other violence, deprivation and famine, the loss of beauty and wholeness in our earth community, or a path towards ecological healing and wholeness, a way of life in which the human might subsist among other living forms, but more than subsist, live within and part of the creative vibrancy, resilience, and abundance of the whole.

The ‘whole’ is not a particularly popular concept right now.

One of the Wisconsin state senators who fled to Illinois, Jon Erpenbach, calls what is happening “a hostile corporate takeover” of our state, and indeed the budget proposed by Scott Walker indicates that this is the case. It follows other moves he has already taken to lower taxes and provide tax incentives for the corporate sector, while attempting to gut public services, worker rights, and environmental laws and regulations (like ending mandatory recycling – yes, that is in his proposal.

But, again, we are simply another manifestation of a global trend. The corporate takeover of economies, wealth, and resources is going on all around the planet. From Monsanto and their genetically modified seeds, to rights to rip up the earth for coal, oil, and natural gas, to rights to pollute our air and waterways, to making arable land and water access profit-making commodities, to Wal-Mart and Macdonalds everywhere, along with every hi-tech toy imaginable with unending apps to add to them – we are seeing the commodification of everything as long as someone can figure out how to make a profit off of it.

And once they do, once they find a plant in a tropical forest that can be marketed by big Pharma or a rare earth mineral field that can be exploited for the production of cell phones and HD screens, they claim ownership over earth and sky, rivers and streams, even whole mountains that can be blown to bits.

I want to say this clearly, because it needs to be said clearly we cannot solve our planetary crises, we cannot reverse ecological overshoot, we cannot salvage the natural environments of which we are a part and within which we live and move and have our being, unless we dismantle this global economic regime which puts more and more of our lives, our futures, the things we need for life at the mercy of the corporate bottom line, of investors and huge financial institutions.

That may sound depressing because the corporate world seems to have all the power. But we can decide to opt out of it. We can. And we can decide to work towards a different way of life, one in which our human economies begin little by little to get back into sync with the workings of this planet.

Something new could be born out of all this – or not. And that is what makes these times in which we live so exhilarating. If any of us had hoped for a quiet little life, this was not the time to be born. If what you wanted was a little excitement, a bit of a thrill ride, challenges that would rock you to the core and bring out the best in you – welcome to these times.

Lake Michigan shore - Photo: Margaret Swedish

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