Friday, January 25, 2013

Doing What is Expected... What is Necessary

In 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt said "There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny."

I think it is high time that the current generation, my generation (I was born in 1983) and younger, start to accept the fact that we are a generation of which much is expected. We must let go of our hopes that we, like our parents (the baby boomers) will be a generation to which much is given. In fact, our generation should also do what it can to make up for the failure of previous generations to do what was expected of them.

2012 was a year full of the "blowback" caused by irresponsible behavior.  Serious drought combined with record high temperatures in the United States and elsewhere around the world dropped world food reserves to the lowest levels in years.  Hurricane Sandy blew into New York and New Jersey causing dozens of people to lose their lives, millions to be displaced, and billions of dollars worth of damages.  In the Arctic, summer sea ice levels are at their lowest ever observed, and Greenland ice sheets appear to be melting at an ever more rapid pace.  And in the Antarctic, the West Antarctic ice sheet appears to be warming as well, which if it collapses into the southern ocean could contribute up to 3 meters of sea level rise.

All of this is just climate blowback.  Revolutions, uprisings, government crackdowns, financial meltdowns, "fiscal cliffs" and various other trouble dot the political landscape.  The Sandy Hook massacre is a sad and traumatic scar on the United States' history now, and may well precipitate an unprecedented crackdown on civil liberties.  Add this to the crackdowns going on against activists and whistleblowers and the covert and drone wars overseas, and you have a US government run amuck trying to maintain imperial control of a world slipping away from it.

And, to get back to what this post is about... what can this generation do to accomplish what is expected?  Well for starters, we should know that "what is expected" is not what FDR had in mind.  You should not do what your government expects of you, in fact you'll probably be on an almost perfect path if you do just the opposite.  Do not accept that the Canadian tar sands might be developed and piped through the US by the Keystone XL, causing untold more damage to our climate.  Do not accept that fracking might lead to "energy independence in America," and forget that it will also cause untold damage to our water supplies.  Do not accept spreading poverty and a diminishing middle-class.  Do not accept a slow and deliberate destruction of civil liberties.  Do not "keep calm and carry on," as WWII Britain propagandized.  There is much to not be calm about.  There is much to do.  There is much that your children, and their children, on down to your 7th generation and beyond, expect of you.  The way we're living right now won't leave much for them, and they expect you to do something about it.  They expect all of us to do something about it.  What will you do?

This post, in my mind, is rooted in the 1st and 2nd Ethics of Permaculture.  It is NECESSARY that we take care of the earth, and take care of people.  As much of the earth as we can, and as many people as we can, not just people and the areas that can "afford" it.  Future generations of humans and ALL life on earth expect this of us.  It is necessary.  Do what you can to make a difference.  If someone tries to get in your way, reason with them and convert them to the cause.  If they will not listen, push past them and continue to do what is necessary.  Life on earth is counting on us.

No comments:

Post a Comment