Signs of new creation all around

Posted November 13th, 2015 in Blog, Featured Comments Off on Signs of new creation all around

It’s not like humans are just sitting on their hands as the Earth continues to respond in dramatic fashion to industrial civilization. If your vantage point is the political culture and mainstream media, you could get that idea – and the deep depression that comes with it. Sometimes I wonder at just how narrow we have allowed our view to become, why we have given permission to those who benefit from that narrowness (based in some profound and lethal self-interest) to affect our spirits, our energy, our view of things.

People over and over again ask me about hope and what keeps me going and where to find it. I keep harping on the theme that hope is a verb, not a feeling or a belief, and that it comes from what we do, and what we SEE, more than what we think or believe. I have hope on the days I am engaged with others working to see reality in new ways – as it is, not as we have constructed it.

I have hope on the days that I am working on some common effort with others. I have hope when I am out among the eco-communities of Mother Earth, being part of it, sometimes in solitude with all the other beings around me, and knowing that this “being-within-the whole” is all part of how the Earth works and that the more we do that consciously, living with and within as part of the dynamism of creation itself, the less we feel the burden of having to save the whole thing, and then the more we can see ourselves, our attitudes, the choices we make, the work we do, the communities we create or strengthen, as part of how the Earth is responding to the great crisis.

The Zachariae glacier. Source: USGS/NASA Landsat taken on August, 30 2014

The Zachariae glacier. Source: USGS/NASA Landsat taken on August, 30 2014

The Earth is not just responding by melting the Greenland ice sheets (be sure to view the video with this article), setting off an already-irreversible trend that over the next couple of centuries will drown many of our coastal cities and create ocean and climate mayhem.

It is also responding by putting throngs in the streets to demand sharp, enforceable limits on carbon emissions from the UN climate conference in Paris, and via grassroots groups using all sorts of creative tactics to impede Enbridge pipeline expansion plans across the midwest and beyond, and by way of myriad local actions to stop uranium mines and tar sands extraction (Utah, not just Alberta) and fracking wells, or to stop the unsustainable greedy overuse of water sources for corporate profit out west, or industrial agriculture in all its destructive practices, or to stop the dirty piles of petcoke that threaten frontline communities in the Great Lakes region, as in East Chicago, and on and on.

All of these expressions are the Earth speaking through one of its many life forms trying to correct what is doing harm to its living systems.

Perhaps if we begin to view our work this way, we can begin to see more clearly the power in it, or the power we are tapping into. And the more we free ourselves from the systems of harm, the more we extricate ourselves from what is doing the damage, the freer we become to let this healing energy work in and through us.

One of the cures for despair is to turn off the noise from the culture of economic growth built upon consumerism and draw closer to where the healing process is going on, to get ourselves better connected, on a deep level, with the movements, the organizations, the communities that are engaging the healing process – which means everything from an urban garden, to citizen advocacy, to protests in the streets, to the cultural work of artists and writers, to teaching, and more.

And don’t let anyone in the movement tell you there is a hierarchy of meaningful or effective action. All of these things are necessary, are gifts of and for new creation. While some may be called to direct action, others are called to engage youth in earth sciences, to plant urban gardens in impoverished neighborhoods, to be the lawyers working for a legal system of earthjustice, to do the steady often frustrating work of changing hearts and minds in our faith communities, or to build bridges across cultural, class, race, and ethnic chasms that have served the powerful very well.

Every gift is needed. Everyone has something to offer to the work of new creation, of repairing the damage, allowing the Earth to heal and regenerate its torn, increasingly fragile living systems, to be one of her instruments in that process. And the place where we have these gifts to offer is right where we are.

And so, to the new research revealing very bad news for the world’s ice sheets, sea ice, and glaciers, which means very bad news for sea-level rise and coastal communities, there two others I want to offer as antidote. Re-engaging the land, taking farming away from corporations, BigAg profit-making, and industrial monocropping, can do a whole lot more than provide healthier food – it can actually help repair ecosystems from small scale to large. We have distanced ourselves from the land, yet the land is part of the living, breathing, heart-beat of the planet itself. And these videos are about, well, getting back to the heart of things.

Age of the Farmer from Spencer MacDonald on Vimeo.

SOIL CARBON COWBOYS from Peter Byck on Vimeo.

That’s one way. There are many others (one of which is to support this transition by using our dollars to buy food from these farms and helping to enlarge their markets). But what I want us all to SEE as we head into the weekend is that new creation is not something we have to sit back helplessly and wait for it to come about. It is already coming about.

Hope is not something to feel. Hope is something that exists. And to find it, just go out and be part of it.

Margaret Swedish

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