We are really hurting now – Part II

Posted October 12th, 2009 in Blog, Featured Comments Off on We are really hurting now – Part II

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

Please forgive the silence.  Last week was very busy and I didn’t get a chance to do a thoughtful post — and I don’t like to post if it is not thoughtful.

Really hurting… yes, we are.

The Philippines, American Samoa, Indonesia…  there in those places are our brothers and sisters.  They share the planet with us.

Some disasters are purely natural, the Earth doing what it does to be alive, to recycle nutrients, to keep on creating itself — like the massive earthquakes, including the one that caused the tsunami.

Others are natural with unnatural contributions — like storms that come every year but now seem to include more deadly torrents very possibly because of the warming of the atmosphere caused by our greenhouse gas emissions (warmer air holds more energy, more moisture, more ‘punch’, as it were).

And our planet is getting crowded, more densely populated, which means disasters like these often leave an enormous human toll.  In addition, poverty leaves many communities  in some of our most naturally volatile regions of the world incredibly vulnerable to disasters — and not just to the event itself, but to the trauma and damage that follows, the lack of resources to recover some semblance of dignified life and healing.

It’s one thing for an upper middle class neighborhood of well-insured home-owners in the Atlanta area to be flooded by 20 inches of rain; it is another for a mobile home park in the same area, or the northern provinces of the Philippines.

In my book, Living Beyond the ‘End of the World': A Spirituality of Hope, I ask, must 9 billion people be my neighbor (the number we will reach by mid-century) and must I really love them as myself?  No question gets more basic than this one, or has deeper roots in the religious traditions of the Old and New Testaments.

Which means the question is going to be pretty basic to the integrity of these faith traditions as we confront this changing, reeling world.

How will we share the gifts of this planet among the communities of this planet — the human communities and the communities of all living beings? This matters because if we do not figure out how to sustain all the ecosystems in which biodiversity has flourished, we risk our human future in any case.

Not only must 9 billion people be my neighbors, but billions of other creatures, along with the waters, air, soils, without which we cannot live.

We are hurting now for many reasons — and one of them is that we have lost our sense of rootedness in our own biology, and the interrelationships of living ‘systems’ (communities, more accurately) within which we are embedded.

What happens across the oceans is part of us now.  It always has been so, but now we feel it keenly because of how close we have become to one another — because of the growing density of populations, and then by these disasters, the impacts and causes of which we share.  There is nowhere to go to get away from it, neither the moon nor Mars looking particularly appealing.

We are also bonded in our spirits, in the rising consciousness of our trouble, our crisis, as well as in the rising consiousness of our place within creation, the fabric of life.  That, of course, is where ecological hope is deeply embedded.

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