Articulating a Spirituality of Ecological Hope

Posted November 25th, 2008 in Zine 4 Comments »

Living Beyond the End of the World

Online Zine of the project, Spirituality and Ecological Hope

Vol. 1, No. 1 – November 2008

Contents:

Introduction
I. Seeking a Spirituality of Ecological Hope, by Margaret Swedish
II. Abolishing Intensive Livestock Agriculture: A Global Imperative, by Dr. Richard H. Schwartz
III. Our mistakes are abundant, our responsibilities great, by Maya Rose Goldman

Introduction

We have named this first issue our of our online Zine for the book I wrote, published earlier this year by Orbis Books, Maryknoll NY: Living Beyond the ‘End of the World:’ A Spirituality of Hope. In many ways, the book provides the framework for how we approach the topic of ecological crisis and ecological hope – except for one thing. In the book, I return to my Christian roots and traditions to draw out the themes and insights that can help us begin to articulate a spirituality of ecological hope. On this website and in this project, we try to glean from many faiths and traditions to help enlighten us, to clarify the predicament in which we find ourselves and to illuminate the path that can get us out of this predicament.

What is our predicament? We are living far beyond the means of the Earth to support current levels of human consumption. Right now we need 1.4 planets to support the human project.

To support the lifestyles of U.S. Americans for all the people of the world would require 4-5 planets.

We have only one, one magnificent, precious planet, and it is in grave trouble.

We insist in the book that we are not speaking of optimism, but of hope, even hope against hope, hope in the face of evidence to the contrary. The journey through crisis to hope in ecological terms rests with how honest we are about the ˜end of the world’ that is coming, indeed the end times already begun.

We are not speaking here in religious apocalyptic terms, about ˜end times’ as many evangelical and fundamentalists believers would proclaim, of raptures and an exclusive salvation for the born-again. Rather we speak here of the end of a particular world, the world in which we all grew up, the world that shaped our expectations and identities here in U.S. America. It is a completely unsustainable illusion that our way of life, built as it is upon consumption and endless wealth generation (for the few of our world, of course), can go on forever. It is the fate of our generation that we have come upon the planet’s limits.

We are depleting the planet of all we need to live, to have abundant life now and for generations to come. We are spending down the Earth’s capital, as it were, and are in danger of pushing its vital ecosystems towards collapse – in our lifetime.

We believe this to be the defining moral and spiritual challenge of our time. How we rise to that challenge will determine the kind of future we leave to our children and our children’s children.

Three articles are included in Volume One. In the first, Seeking a Spirituality of Ecological Hope, we attempt to articulate the crisis we face and the kind of spiritual response required to address it. It is written by website editor, Margaret Swedish.

In each Zine issue, we will probe specific aspects of our way of life that are a threat to the planet.  This month we have a special focus on industrial livestock agriculture, one of the most devastating industries on Earth in terms of the damage it does to our biosphere, atmosphere, and to our bodies and spirits. Life does not come from such cruelty as is described here; it is diminished by it. And when that cruelty extends to harm to the whole planet, it is past time to change this aspect of how we live. How we eat will also determine the future of life on Earth.

Our guest writer on this topic is Dr. Richard H. Schwartz, Professor Emeritus at College of Staten Island and president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America.  After reading his article, we hope you will take time to view the film, A Sacred Duty (see below), and order a copy for your community. You can request a free DVD by clicking here.  It is disturbing and powerful. You may think twice before biting into that next hamburger or piece of fried chicken.

Next, we are pleased to introduce a very special friend, Maya Rose Goldman. Maya is 15 years old, a high school student in Manhattan, and very passionate about the Earth, about being a vegan, and about our precarious future. I have known Maya since she was one. I asked her to write something for this first issue, to tell us what’s on her mind about our planet and our way of life, and she produced a thoughtful, challenging piece. I hope this is only the first of her contributions to our Zine.

We are still new at this so let us know what you think. We invite you to share your comments, reflections, and insights with us, because it is in the community of ideas, dialogue, and shared creativity that we can search our way through and beyond the end of the world.

Margaret Swedish, editor

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I. Seeking a spirituality of ecological hope

by Margaret Swedish

We are in denial if we do not look at the crises overwhelming our world just now and appreciate that we are coming to the end of an era – the end of a world, an ˜end times.’

Over the past couple of centuries, the human species has driven the ecosystems of the planet to the brink of collapse. We have done this with our rapid population growth, voracious industrialization, economies of growth, addiction to accumulation of capital and goods, our endless seeking for more and more, and the misplaced belief that the measure of our goodness is related to whether or not the generation that comes after us is ˜better off,’ able to consume and accumulate more on a never-ending ladder of increasing affluence and comfort.

The Blue Marble - NASA photo

The Blue Marble - NASA photo

Our Earth is round, a Blue Marble, as they call it at NASA. Circles are finite. Circles are closed. Circles have limits. If you continue to take from the circle, or destroy within the circle, eventually there is nothing left in the circle to be had.

We are sucking from this poor damaged planet everything it had to offer us for rich and abundant life. It is running out of the means to continue offering that to us, until we are now seeing the beginning of the ˜end of the world.’ Everywhere the planet is in crisis, from its poles to its equators, from its mountains to its plains, from its oceans to its soils, from its plant life to its animal life.

And that means we’re in trouble.

We are living in a state of ecological overshoot. We have overshot the means of the planet to renew, replace, or regenerate what we take from it to support our human way of life; and we are spewing more waste from our lifestyles into its atmosphere and biosphere than it can absorb. And we are doing this at an ever-accelerating rate.

From melting glaciers to expanding drought to increasing natural disasters to depleted soils to changing climate to rising seas to diminishing fisheries to bee colony collapse to bark beetles deforesting the entire mountain west of the United States to depleted aquifers to toxic air, food, and water to rising cancer rates and asthma – the signs are clear.

When you violate Nature to the extent we have, Nature will have the last word.

We’re in trouble.

But this is more than a natural catastrophe. This is also a spiritual catastrophe, a loss of soul or spirit, a diminishment of the meaning of the human. We have lost our way. We have lost our place within the scheme of life, our place within the sacred unfolding of the Earth story within the cosmos. We have thought ourselves gods, or at least created gods that made all this possible, approved our power grab over Nature. We created gods that are outside this world, over and above our universe someplace, saving a spot for us in a disembodied heaven where this world hardly matters, because, after all, Nature embodies sin in the form of Earth, bodies, dirt, mortality. In many of our Western religious traditions, these are the products of a break with God, of disobedience and faithlessness, rather than being of the very nature of the divine itself.

In creating these forms of religiosity, we have cut ourselves off from our very being, our source of life, our sustenance, all that makes this Earth sacred – what, from the vantage point of Earth-based spiritualities, holds the divine within it.

Our power grab over Nature, our alienation from the evolutionary story from which we emerged, has not connected us with the divine but rather cut us off, ˜de-natured’ us, hidden our true identities from ourselves, our purpose and our meaning within this story.

Whirlpool galaxy - Hubble Space Telescope

Whirlpool galaxy - Hubble Space Telescope

If we appreciated how infused this Earth within this solar system within this galaxy within this cosmos is with the creative generative energy of the divine from the moment of the Big Bang, rather than ravage the Earth for our human wealth and consumption, we would bow down to it and treat it with the humility, dignity, and reverence it deserves, along with every creature that has its necessary place within the scheme of life.

But this alienation, or cutting-off, is proving to be a not-very-successful way of life on this planet. The evidence – not just research anymore, but experiential – is becoming clear that we are heading swiftly towards an ecological crisis unprecedented in the human experience. It is stunning to see how many people – scientists, enlightened religious leaders, environmentalists, journalists – are starting to talk about mass die-offs as part of our future. Sadly, humans will not escape this fate. It would be sad indeed if this is how we learn the lesson of our profound connections, our embeddedness, within the natural processes of the living systems of the planet.

Bee colony collapse; Homo sapiens sapiens collapse.

This is still not necessarily our fate; but we are running out of time to prevent it. What is required of us now is a new human mission – to create a new way of human life based on values that can sustain life, ease up the devastating human footprint on the Earth’s life-giving processes, reconnect us, our bodies, to the living planet, foster reverence for the long history of evolution that gave birth to us and for the milieu of life in which we exist, and reshape the meaning of the human story.

We have in our hands not only the ability to destroy this era of life on the planet; we also have in our hands the ability to turn this whole sad story around, to work with the planet towards the regeneration of the ecosystems now so seriously degraded and compromised.

We have in our hands the ability to give this story a much more promising future.

What we need in order to do this is to begin to get serious about the nature of the changes required of us. So far, much of what is asked of us barely scratches the surface – changing a few light bulbs, buying a hybrid car, getting more energy efficient, eating home-cooked meals, recycling as much trash as our cities and towns allow (still far from what is needed). These are all crucial steps, if for no other reason than sensitizing us to the need to be less wasteful.

Demand v. world biocapacity - Global Footprint Network

Demand v. world biocapacity - Global Footprint Network

But the crisis asks more of us than all these things. What is needed is a change in how we live that is commensurate with the level of crisis and urgency. If rapid population growth, rampaging industrialization, rising CO2 emissions, consumption of throw-away goods, burning of fossil fuels, over-development in areas that are water-short and ecologically fragile and magnificent, covering over wetlands for more development, fragmenting animal, bird and plant migration routes with highways, shopping malls and suburbs, overuse of water and fisheries, contamination of soils and waterways, etc., etc. – if these are the patterns of our lives that are creating the crisis, then these are the aspects of our way of life that must be reversed. We must address the crisis at its source, not around its periphery.

Don’t let anyone tell you that we can’t do this. We can.

At the same time, don’t let anyone tell you that we can do this without a lot of upheaval, turmoil, and discomfort. This will be a hard work. But it will be a whole lot easier if we begin to do this as one enormous human community, in a spirit of selflessness, sharing-of-burdens, and a sense of mutual responsibility for the human future within the fabric of life.

The challenge of justice

For those of us who live in the United States and the other wealthy industrial and post-industrial societies, we have a further challenge – the challenge of justice. The U.S., with just five percent of global population, consumes more that a quarter of all goods produced in the world and spews a similar proportion of waste into the atmosphere and biosphere. While it is true that China now spews more CO2 into the atmosphere than the U.S., at a per capita rate, it is not even close.

According to an article in the New York Times, the average U.S. American is responsible for 19.4 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. That compares with 5.1 tons for the average Chinese person, and 1.8 in India. Even Europe is significantly lower at 8.6 tons.

The onus of moral responsibility on the affluent of the U.S. could not be clearer. The moral, economic, and political responsibility of U.S. society is apparent. Life as we know it on this planet cannot survive if this society does not commit to a radically new way of life, one that ratchets down our consumption a whole lot.

The moral imperative of justice lies within this reality: over the next four decades, we will add 2-3 billion more people to a planet already in overshoot. Demographers say that the numerical population of the affluent will not change – it will hold at some 1.5 billion. That means that most of this additional population will be poor.

From a faith perspective, and if Christian a gospel perspective, the justice conundrum is this: we must lower our levels of consumption and waste to a level at which the poor of our world can rise out of poverty without depleting the planet further, without taking from the planet the resilience it needs in order to regenerate its degraded living systems. And we must do this as we add 2-3 billion more humans to the planet.

That is our stark, our most sobering challenge – to save the planet’s living systems, within which we exist and outside of which we don’t, by reducing our human footprint at the same time as we increase our population by at least 30 percent.

Right now, we require 1.4 Earths to sustain current levels of human consumption and waste. This can’t go on much longer. We cannot continue to steal from the future to support an unsupportable way of life.

What can we do? What does it mean to create a new way of life? Is it possible? How do we begin to envision this life?

If we approach it as individuals trying to figure out how to make it all by ourselves, then the task is indeed daunting and impossible. In any case, this is not how Nature works. If we study our magnificent Earth community, we find that Nature is more than anything else a community of creatures, a dynamism within and among the ecosystems in which everything is connected, communicating with one another, sharing spaces and energies, at its healthiest taking no more than is needed, moving through the cycle of life and death and life that is the hallmark of the evolutionary story.

If we can re-immerse ourselves in that story that is our own biography and geography, we can begin to relearn what it means to live within the balance of Nature without upsetting it in ways that undermine the networks and connections that keep it vibrant and alive. We can in our own social life begin to mimic this balance in how we live – how we eat, how we get energy to stay warm, how we work, what jobs we create, our economic priorities, how we live within our neighborhoods and towns, what we create and how we create, what gives meaning to our lives when we get out of bed in the morning.

We seek here an ecological spirituality, a spirituality that mimics, vivifies, enhances the life story of the planet, that informs, articulates, and envisions the meaning of the human within that story. We seek here the true spiritual meaning of the human at this point in our evolutionary story. We further believe that discovering that meaning and living into it is essential to finding our way through this crisis, to living through and beyond the ˜end of the world’ that is the defining reality of our generation.

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II. Abolishing Intensive Livestock Agriculture:

A Global Imperative

by Richard H. Schwartz

Modern livestock agriculture and animal-centered diets not only contribute to the cruel treatment of billions of animals annually and an epidemic of heart disease, cancer and many more diseases. They also have devastating consequences for the environment, and for scarce resources. Non-vegetarian diets are a major factor behind the present widespread hunger that results in an estimated 20 million people dying each year due to lack of adequate nutrition. Seventy percent of the grain grown in the United States and 40 percent of the grain grown worldwide are fed to animals destined for slaughter, while hundreds of millions of the world’s people are chronically hungry. To make matters worse, the United States is one of the world’s largest importers of meat, much of which comes from countries where there is extensive hunger.

Animal waste flows into river from Thai pig farm - photo FAO

Animal waste flows into river from Thai pig farm - photo FAO

Intensive livestock agriculture is a substantial contributor to many environmental problems. Livestock in the United States produce an incredible 86,000 pounds of manure per second, and much of it ends up in rivers, lakes, streams, and underground water sources. The amount of waste produced by 10,000 cattle in a feedlot equals that of a city of 110,000 people. In addition, huge amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in the production of animal feed crops end up in surface and ground waters.

Current livestock agriculture contributes greatly to all four major global warming gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides, and chlorofluorocarbons. Every year millions of acres of tropical forest are burned, primarily to raise livestock, releasing millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The highly mechanized agricultural sector uses a significant amount of fossil fuel energy, and this also contributes to carbon dioxide emissions. Cattle emit methane as part of their digestive and excretory processes, as do termites who feast on the charred remains of trees. The large amounts of petrochemical fertilizers used to produce feed crops for grain-fed animals create significant amounts of nitrous oxides. Also, the increased refrigeration necessary to prevent animal products from spoiling adds chlorofluorocarbons to the atmosphere.

Industrial dairy farm - Iowa State University Extension

Industrial dairy farm - Iowa State University Extension

According to a 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in carbon dioxide equivalents) than all the cars, planes, ships and other means of transportation combined (18 percent versus 13.5 percent). Making the situation still worse, the UN report projects that the number of farmed animals will double in the next 50 years. If that increase occurs, the resulting increase in greenhouse gas emissions would negate reductions from increased efficiencies and reductions in other areas, making avoiding the most serious effects of global warming very difficult. Since we are already seeing many examples of droughts, heat waves, major storms, widespread wildfires, the rapid melting of glaciers and polar icecaps, while some climate scientists are warning that global warming may soon reach a tipping point and spin out of control if major changes do not soon occur, a shift toward plant-based diets is essential.

Causes of deforestation in the Amazon 2000-2005 - Mongabay.com

Causes of deforestation in the Amazon 2000-2005 - Mongabay.com

Cattle ranching is a major cause of deforestation in Latin America. Since 1970, more than 25 percent of Central American forests have been destroyed in order to create pasture land for cattle. The production of just one imported quarter-pound hamburger requires the clearing of up to 55 square feet of rain forest.

Livestock overgrazing causes erosion and the creation of deserts throughout the world. Cattle production is a prime component of the causes that lead to desertification: overcultivation of the land, improper irrigation techniques, and deforestation. According to the Worldwatch Institute, each pound of feedlot steak “costs” about 35 pounds of eroded American topsoil.

U.S. cattle production has resulted in significant bio-diversity losses. According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, more plant species in the United States have been threatened or eliminated by livestock agriculture than by any other cause. The number of wild animals on the American range has dropped sharply, largely due to their inability to compete with cattle for food. Many species of plants and animals are disappearing annually because of the rapid destruction of rain forests.

Animal-based agriculture is also extremely wasteful of resources. A meat- and dairy-centered diet requires about 17 times as much land, 14 times as much water, and more than ten times as much energy as a completely plant-based diet. More than half the water consumed in the United States is used to raise livestock, primarily to irrigate land growing livestock feed. While a typical meat-eater’s diet requires 4,200 gallons of water daily, a pure vegetarian’s diet only uses 300 gallons. In California, the production of just one edible pound of beef uses up to 5,000 gallons of water, while only 23 gallons are needed to produce a pound of tomatoes. It takes about a hundred times more water to produce a pound a meat than it does to produce a pound of grain. Another important resource issue today is energy, and livestock agriculture requires far more of it than does the production of vegetarian foods. The production of one pound of steak (500 calories of food energy) uses 20,000 calories of fossil fuels, most of which is used to produce feed crops. The annual beef consumption of a typical American family of four requires more than 260 gallons of fuel, as much as the average car uses in six months.

When one considers the above facts, as well as the soaring health care costs associated with degenerative diseases caused by animal-based diets, it becomes increasingly clear that vegetarianism is not only an important individual choice, but also an imperative for national solvency and global survival. It is critical that people become aware of the far-reaching consequences of animal agriculture in order to shift away from a diet that is bankrupting the United States and the world, crippling and killing 1.5 million Americans annually with chronic diseases, threatening the world’s ecosystems, wasting scarce resources, contributing to world hunger, and cruelly exploiting animals.

You can contribute to a more humane, peaceful, and healthy planet by further educating yourself on this issue. Such books as Diet for a New America by John Robbins (Stillpoint), Beyond Beef by Jeremy Rifkin (Dutton), and Vegetarian Sourcebook by Keith Akers (G P Putnam’s) are excellent places to start. Enlighten others through personal conversations, meetings with opinion leaders in your community, letters and op-ed articles to newspapers and other publications, and calls to radio talk shows. There is a world to be saved, but global recovery is largely dependent on the demise of intensive animal agriculture. Within an individual’s daily choice of diet lies the power to create a better world.

Richard H. Schwartz is Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island, author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, and Mathematics and Global Survivaland. He is also president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, and associate producer of A SACRED DUTY. Contact him at: president@JewishVeg.com

To view the film, A SACRED DUTY, click here.

III. Our mistakes are abundant, our responsibilities great

By Maya Rose Goldman

When I was in seventh grade, my science class focused a lot on health and pollution. We analyzed the pros and cons of the fossil fuels (coal, petroleum oil, natural gas) versus the renewable resources (water, wood, wind). Such renewable resources, however, can only replenish themselves if they are not consumed at a higher rate than they are produced. The United States currently consumes the largest amount of fossil fuels, all of which will be exhausted within the next two centuries.

One day during class, my science teacher showed us an instrument that measured the quality of the air in our lungs. This was done in percentages, out of one hundred, and most who used the machine before I did were getting ninety-eights and ninety-nines. I had just moved to New York City from a small town in Maryland, so I was expecting a percentage higher than everyone else’s. After all, wasn’t the air in New York dirty, while Maryland air was clean? When it was my turn to use the machine, I stepped up and breathed into its tube. My percentage was ninety-seven. Lower. I didn’t understand how that could be possible. Everything in Maryland was so green and quiet; how could the air in my lungs be dirtier than the air in these New Yorkers’ lungs?

Sligo Creek Parkway near Maya's old Maryland home

Sligo Creek Parkway near Maya's old home in Maryland

The reality is this: pollution is everywhere, and it is our collective responsibility to do what we can to improve our planet’s current situation. Each of our individual actions affects more than just our immediate living spaces. Our entire earth is being exhausted; no matter where you live, regardless of how small and isolated of a town it may seem, something is being done to damage our planet, and many things can be done to reduce the actions that cause this damage.

Our mistakes have been abundant, and as a result, our responsibilities are great, as well. Our country – and world – finds itself dependent on fossil fuels for energy during a time when windmills and solar panels are so well-developed that they can and should be installed wherever possible. Switching to a more dominant use of renewable resources will not only save us money in the long-run, but we will also be preparing ourselves for the eventual – and quickly approaching – loss of our planet’s coal, oil, and natural gas. Despite our severe need for windmills, however, many are strongly opposed to them. Their reason? They find the structures ugly. Apparently, a “pristine” environment with a shorter lifespan is more highly valued than a self-supporting world without disaster in sight.

The world’s environmental – and energy – crisis is much like the recent economic disaster that is enveloping so many countries. The cause for the economic situation is often attributed to greed and misguided use of money. Likewise, the decline of our environment is mostly due to human neglect for and apathy toward our natural surroundings. We have become so concerned with convenience and ease that we have reached a state in which we essentially depend on machines and unnatural creations to do our work for us. Furthermore, these machines tend to be used in excess to merely produce a greater human pleasure.

To put it bluntly, the human race as a whole has transformed into a superficial, selfish species that cannot seem to remember that we are animals, equal to bears, equal to ants, and we have no right to be lazy and rely on electricity for personal gain. As the saying goes, “Money can’t buy happiness;” dependence on manufactured energy may bring temporary contentment, but it also brings a short-lived natural habitat. If our habitat cannot thrive, neither can we.

Some are willing to go further than others to preserve what still remains of our planet. Although there is a difference between remembering to turn off lights, unplugging chargers when they are not being used, not leaving the water running when brushing your teeth, and recycling and composting whenever possible; and living in a home where there are few to no electronics, buying – or producing – only organic goods, and making sure those around you are doing what they can to slow the attack on the environment; a step is a step, regardless of size, and that is what is important. When a situation goes poorly, we tend to tell ourselves, “Things will get better.” In our minds, an eventual positive outcome is inevitable, even if eventual is past our lifetime.

The predicament we are in now, however, cannot just “get better.” No, we cannot return the earth to a state of prosperity; it is too late for that. We can, however, stop ourselves from plummeting so quickly. We need to remember what our surroundings were like when we were young. Already, our environment was deteriorating; it is much worse now. Humans cannot seem to learn from history; the mistakes are continuous, and the effort to make amends is surprisingly weak. Is this what we are leaving for the next generation? Are we satisfied with not doing our part, while criticizing President Bush for leaving a massive bundle of unresolved crises for President-Elect Obama?

I am a vegan. I have been told that although my beliefs may be on-track, my practices are too extreme. I completely disagree. My actions are not geared toward ensuring the comfort of those around me; I am concerned about the horrifying treatment and enslavement of the non-human animals of this planet and the disregard for their well-being and equal place in our shared environment.

photo-Colorado State Unversity - Integrated Livestock Management

photo-Colorado State Unversity - Integrated Livestock Management

As humans, we are no better than any other animal on this earth. It is not our place to determine the fates and living conditions of the creatures we mercilessly torture and slaughter. I am disgusted by the way factory farms artificially impregnate cows every ten months, confiscate their milk, whisk away their offspring for veal (though some males live a few years to be later killed for beef) and once she can no longer produce young, she, too, is slaughtered – all of this solely for the purpose of human consumption. Have morals completely disappeared?

Although I initially cut out all animal products from my diet because of my care for other creatures, I afterward realized that not supporting the actions of factory farms also had a way of benefitting the environment. Factory farms cause a great amount of pollution in air, land, and water: animal waste goes untreated, leaving it filled with chemicals and disease. This then becomes a part of the soil, and run-off rain brings it into bodies of water, poisoning them and thus killing creatures living there. According to goveg.com, “eating one pound of meat emits the same amount of greenhouse gasses as driving an SUV 40 miles.”

My intent is not to attack the human race as a whole. While it is true that I am both disappointed and slightly surprised by the ways in which we have been treating this planet for so many centuries, playing the blame-game will get us nowhere. We do, however, need to identify the problems in order to find ways to attempt reversing our damage. I am embarrassed by and afraid of passing our current circumstances down to the next generation; I do not want them to come into the world knowing only barren, destroyed habitats. I want them to know nature as I knew it when I couldn’t see past my backyard in my small hometown in Maryland. I want them to see the world as a beautiful place that does not need to be “improved” by machines. I want them to think of the end of everything as being when the Sun burns out billions of years from now, not as being only a few centuries into the future.

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4 Responses

  1. Dave Gardner

    To Maya,

    Thanks for that very thoughtful, well-written essay. I was really struck, and saddened, by one statement: “No, we cannot return the earth to a state of prosperity; it is too late for that. We can, however, stop ourselves from plummeting so quickly.” My intellect tells me this is true, but my spirit refuses to give up.

    I do believe heroic efforts and incredible changes will have to take place if we are to end the decline (let alone begin the repair). But I refuse to go down without a fight. That’s why I’m producing a film about the cultural roadblocks preventing us from becoming a sustainable society. My hope is that people like you, and me, and Margaret Swedish can make – eventually – a big difference!

    Dave Gardner
    Producer/Director
    Hooked on Growth: Our Misguided Quest for Prosperity
    Join the cause at http://www.growthbusters.com

  2. Maya Goldman

    To Dave,
    Thank you so much for your response. It’s hard to believe we have reached the point we have today. Although I do believe we can restore our planet to some degree, and do not think it is possible to reverse our mistakes. But, as you said, I will never stop fighting — and encouraging everyone I know to do their part, as well. We CAN improve our situation; however, one of our big setbacks is that not enough people want to, or understand why we HAVE to. That is why it is so important to raise awareness, so thank you — and good luck — for producing a film on the topic.

  3. Graham Game

    Bless you Maya – You are indeed living up to your beautiful & powerful name.
    You are wise beyond your years, & more importantly you are using your wisdom well. Mother Earth loves you as you love her.

    Blessings – Graham (from the UK)

  4. Spirituality and Ecological Hope » Good news and bad news

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