Let’s take responsibility for our place in the world.
We are all experiencing the beginnings of an inevitable change.
Whether we feel it directly affecting our lives or not, it will affect our children’s lives and especially our grandchildren’s.
Our job now, as first world citizens, is to create not just the idea of a sustainable future but a culture that understands what this means. We need to build a society that has the skills and tools necessary to take responsibility for the wealth that we have been benefiting from at the expense of the welfare of third worlders, indigenous people and wildlife.
Our world is changing a such a rapid pace that is difficult to fathom.
For the first time in our planet’s history, one species—ironically its most intelligent and conscious—is solely responsible for a massive die-off of plants and animals.
This is not a new thing. It has been happening since the beginning of industrial civilization. However, most of us have only only recently begun to realize the extent of the devastation we have inflicted, and continue to inflict on our only home.
Many of us have just now started to admit to ourselves that our growth in consumption is directly proportional to the amount of life and natural space destroyed, extinct and deprived.
Many of us feel we know exactly what we need to do on a personal level to feel like we are helping create a “greener future” or to at least not contribute to this problem.
What we fail to grasp is that, unfortunately, this will not be enough to dismantle the powerful forces that are wiping out our natural resources in exchange for personal profit.
The idea of a massive shift in conscious consumerism is generally just an idea. We see the impoverished in our own first world countries forced into a lifestyle of Wal-Mart shopping, fast food eating, ghetto living, dead-end job working slavery to a corporate system that is preventing millions of small farmers and business owners around the world of having a self sustaining life.
How we are going to possibly change any of this?
“Industrialization destroys communities, both human and biotic. The conformist demands of hierarchal societies leave our emotional lives inauthentic and numb…The realization that none of these conditions are inherent to human existence or human society can be a profound relief. Further, the existence of cultures that respect the earth, that give children kindness instead of public school, that share food and joy in equal measure…can serve as both an inspiration and as evidence of the crimes committed against our hearts, our culture, and our planet.” ~ Lierre Keith
How does creating a new culture even begin to happen?
Well, it’s happening right now. You are probably processing all the things you do in your life and what they mean to you. You are taking the time to read someone else’s perspective. Anyone who can think constructively about their place in this world, as well as exploring what others are thinking about their own, is already on the path to developing a resilient culture.
Thoughts, believe it or not, are what determine a majority of our life.
What we focus on is what manifests in our universe, whether we materially see it or not. We may think that energy works in mysterious ways, but in fact it is the most real and essential factor of our existence.
Children realize this, even though they may not be able to describe it. When they say that they are a bird during imaginative play, they embody it that character and feel their wings lift them into the sky of possibilities. When a child is told they can achieve anything, they see and feel themselves achieving anything.
The opposite is also true. When children are told what they cannot do, they believe it as truth.
I was raised in a family disconnected from their ancestral and cultural heritage. These were replaced with modern, dogmatic religious beliefs. I have seen many Americans in my generation experience the same frustrations that I did growing up: disconnection from divinity in nature, lack of self identity, a confusing and changing value system and a skewed sense of what’s right and wrong (for example, I was taught all races should be treated the same but being friends with the interracial family down the street was prohibited since it was considered “confusing” for a child like me).
As many of us can see from our own upbringing, the root of any cultural evolution is found in the way we parent our children.
“Hopefully, we can learn by example from comrades who come from more intact communities, from elders who remember a way of life organized around human needs instead of corporate profits, and from history. Necessity will have to reinvent us.” ~ Lierre Keith
We must reach out and learn from those cultures and communities that have either managed to thrive despite colonial take over of their worlds or the ones who have managed to re-integrate.
Fortunately there are several examples of intentional communities and eco villages as well as elders who have wonderful skills, stories, experiences and wisdom to share with us. It’s time that we learn from these elders before it’s too late and they pass on.
There are so many ways we can reach out and carry on the legacies of many who have lived in a simpler, sustainable time.
We have power and brain capacity that can be utilized in innumerable, creative ways to not just adapt to this change, but to direct it and transform it to the advantage of our future generations.
It’s not just ideas that we must ponder on now but direct actions that will leave our children with food to eat, an environment to thrive in, life forms to keep our fragile eco-systems in harmony and a connective, community minded culture to grow with.
Every species on this planet is here to serve each other and keep the earth in balance.
Where we humans fit into this balance is the most crucial element to our existence.
And every one of us can affect it. We can, and we must, reinvent ourselves.
Author: Eleyah Knight
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Chilli Arts/ Flickr