Mobilizing – Paris and Beyond
by Anne Martin -- December 3rd, 2015
Environmental change is racing across the world. There seems to be a tipping point, a precipice, over which we are staring.
Sometimes I think that maybe what we are really encountering is a fork in the road, or that we still have a choice to make. Other times, it feels as if we long since flew past that spot on the road. It is in those moments that it seems as if we really are facing a cliff, with all of society—and its desire for technology and the all the convenience it’s brought powered by fossil fuels—pushing us over the edge.
Life on this planet is accelerating or, more accurately, it appears to be changing or disappearing at a frightening (and potentially soon irreversible) rate.
Maybe we’re already over that edge…lost in a terrifying free fall. But I don’t think we are. I think we still have a choice.
What will we do? What will we do? …Which path will we choose?
Where will be..10…20…30…100 years from now? What will our world look like?
I have begun hiking through the mountains every day, and these are questions that fly through my mind…one after the next.
I escape the last traces of humanity. I walk into the woods and leave the synthetic world behind, and my mind continues to spin.
I try to lose myself for a while in the crunching of leaves and rustling of trees.
The frustrating thing about questions such as “What will our world look like?” and “What are the choices that we will make to get us there?”, is that as soon as you begin to try to answer them they are gone.
The hummingbirds here are unpredictable—impossible to catch (even for a camera lens). They spin their wings and are gone in a flash. My questions are just as swift—and they are gone as quickly as you realize that their answers are impossible to know.
The process of trying to answer the unanswerable question is futile…the future is an illusion, it isn’t real, and it certainly isn’t predictable. My questions are terrifying and entrancing due to the fact that we simply CANNOT KNOW.
What I do know is that I’m tired of looking out across the Pacific Ocean at a brown cloud of smog draped over Los Angeles. I’m tired of smelling pesticide spray as I run through the hills behind my house in Iowa. I am terrified because the fish are nearly gone here, in Costa Rica, and the amphibians are not far behind. Everywhere I read about drought and water scarcity or storms and flooding.
The natural world is unraveling, and so it is time to change—to make changes to our own daily lives, and to inspire changes in others’ as well. It’s time to reach out. We can start by imagining a different future–and then we have to muster the kind of bravery to embark on creating it.
The news often paints the world as a broken sphere… a planet with an exterior shell nearly as fiery as its core: a green planet turning red. The moon waxes and wanes, and beneath it war, exploitation, radicalism, displacement, disillusionment, discouraging projections, broken promises, and a lack of political and social and conscious will to say “ENOUGH,” devastate the land.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. And I don’t believe it is, yet.
It’s still a beautiful world. It’s not time to give up, and it’s certainly not time to turn off.
I sit and read and write and speak and hope that the talks in Paris will manifest something brave.
But then I realize…maybe it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because the fate of the world has never truly rested in the select few filling the conference halls of the beautiful French capital, after all.
The fate of the world lies in the hands of the 7 billion other people making up this world, if they want it to. It lies in the hands of the 7 billion people living through it all—those struggling to survive and those lost in overconsumption and all those in-between.
We are pieces within a whole, a whole whose mobilization requires the participation of everyone. This requires inspiration, and it requires hope. It requires love and empathy and long walks in the woods and building gardens and supporting community cooperation and it necessitates above all a desire to learn and believe and to hope.
The Paris talks are already in full swing, but the real discussion has just begun. In the cities and on the trails…change is coming.