February 13, 2011
I published my essay The Greatest Loss the other day. It had been ruminating since 2005 when I wrote it, forgot about it and recently rediscovered it.
Many people commented on that essay. A friend of mine thoughtfully replied “You wrote this in 2005? So we are already in 2011. Perhaps a part 2 with hope and optimism?”
Luckily, I have friends like that. And obviously this friends knows me well and knows that I am indeed optimistic.
Let me tell you why.
There is an undercurrent pulling us away from the trends mentioned in The Greatest Loss. The tides of change are upon us whether you know it or not. And YOU and ME and EVERYONE IS and WILL BE a part of it whether you know it or not.
Like the future I witnessed in Java.. I am now witnessing an alternative future. One that I didn’t imagine in those days and one I am fully immersed in now.
I can say this with confidence because our numbers are growing. We are collectively shaping that future now in real time and with measured progress. The behemoth of uncontrolled growth and development is losing strength. Don’t get me wrong. It will not be easy. The birth pangs of the new future will come hard to swallow.
But it will happen. Your choice is to be an active participant OR a bystander swept away by the undercurrent to be washed upon the shore of tomorrow caught in the net of ignorance, apathy and inaction.
MAKE NO MISTAKE. YOU HAVE THE POWER. YOU HAVE A CHOICE. AND I AM MAKING IT KNOWN AND EMPOWERING YOU RIGHT NOW SIMPLY BY TELLING YOU IT IS SO.
Because in my world.. dreams are only dreams for a short while. Then we take them out of the strollers of our imagination, make them real, give them life and nourish them with action, feed them with hope and prop them up with the fortitude to simply make it so. Because we can.
After all, when Pandora shut her Box she kept HOPE inside. And HOPE is alive and well. It is time to unleash her and let her run around in our collective psyche and romp around on the fertile grounds of our humanity, compassion and creativity.
I can only think of the naiads, hamadryads, nymphs and potent figures blazing the trails through the forests of our infinite human and humane possibilities.
I think of John Johnston and his work with the Environmental Protection Agency and their attempt to address real issues TODAY. Callan Bentley Rockin’ around the USA with his geology students and showing them the bedrock of their very own foundations and existence, Noah Jackson capturing the essence of what it means to be alive with his larger than life photographs in light and hope.
And Zoe Weil at the Institue of Humane Education bringing a new generation of educators to the forefront of tomorrow transforming schools and what it means to be ‘educated’, Ben Tamblyn at the Odyssey Institute and his dreams of getting kids WILD again in touch with nature, Thom Henley leading kids around the forests of SE Asia and flipping over logs for signs of life, Tom Murdoch taking whatever soul will follow him into a nearby stream in Washington State to witness the miracle of aquatic macroinvertebrates, Harold Harbert teaching people how to monitor the quality of water with his Adopt-a-Stream disciples.
And let’s not forget the teachers in EARCOS pushing for meaningful service-learning for their students to somehow make a difference, the good folks at Phuket International Academy that want to make environmental stewardship their credo, the Global Issues Network students looking for a new tomorrow and starting their own NGO’s at the age of 12- empowering themselves AND their peers, not to mention Mike Johnston and Adam Dodge for their efforts in EduCare in Qatar and beyond!
Guys walking around Afghanistan and starting new schools for those who need them and preaching about 3-Cups of Tea, Daniela Papi riding her bikes around Cambodia and teaching people to teach in a place where all HOPE COULD BE LOST BUT ISN’T, the Malaysian Nature Society for their hard work and determination to bring Nature alive in Malaysia and protect the last shreds of our virgin rainforests, Meg bringing her Sprit to Bali in her annual festival, Sarah Brikke bringing the youth to the World Environmental Education Conference, and Morgan Perlson bringing project Wet to the international scene….
And these are just a smattering of the ones I know. Think of who you know. Or who you COULD know. What you are doing and what you COULD be doing. It wil astound you.
We are all swimming in the sea of Samsara. You can learn to swim. And that will do for a short while. But I, for one, am building a life raft.
Are you gonna join us? I bet you will