This I Believe

Craig - McKenzie Bridge, Oregon
Entered on August 9, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

This I believe…

“ We are bartering away the permanent good for a momentary pleasure” Mahatma Gandhi

We are “drowning in information and starving for wisdom”. E.O. Wilson

Those two statements characterize the shadow issues of modern times.

What have we done to the earth, to the seas? What are we doing to one another and to all the species of the planet? Who will forgive us?

What would it take to become good ancestors, to celebrate the human family with values of reverence, humility and respect? What if we glorified peace, honor and respect instead of war, power and greed?

Everything is connected.

To view anything in isolation without understanding the ‘web’ can and will lead to unintended consequences, externalities and liabilities for future generations. They follow in the wake of short-term profit taking, perpetuated by analysis devoid of whole cost accounting and holistic systems thinking.

These unintended consequences and externalities are often not understood for generations.

Rachael Carson in her seminal work, Silent Spring was one of the first to alert us to these that manifest thru our embracing, “better living thru chemistry”. Now we can look back and realize that we have created almost 100,000 chemicals (National Institute of Toxicology), without the slightest clues of interconnected consequences. Meanwhile cancer is epidemic. Is there a connection?

What if we understood that the concept of Bioaccumulation renders any ‘ minimum exposure’ a very bad joke? Why does so little of our research dollars go toward connecting these dots? Why have we allowed chemical companies to make us all guinea pigs? Reference

The Faustian and demonic assumptions that underline and beguile modern society and the Industrial paradigm include that we allow the marketplace to determine and define ‘value’ while giving no value to intact ecosystems. We privatize wealth while passing liabilities on to future generations, and we call it progress.

We have disconnected from reverence and respect. We have lost sight of the miracle of life and this once garden planet. We are too busy with War and Greed to seem to care.

We have created miracles with our technology and science, no doubt. But at what cost, at what disconnection from our souls/spirits/and being good ancestors?

We have created a god called money with its court jesters ‘gross national product’ and ‘bottom line’. We glorify and reward our ‘domination’ over nature, yet we know no limits. And in our quest to move faster and control more, we lose sight of what is really important; to live simply and wisely and to be good ancestors.

The titanic metaphor comes to mind, just realizing an iceberg is dead ahead without time to change course. We have disconnected future consequences from our analysis, and allowed short term profit-taking to dominate.

What we have created is not sustainable from any perspective; environmental, economic or social.

We reward the parasites and punish the working class.

Now the jury is in, and the evidence is overwhelming, as evidenced by both the interconnected realities of global warming and by the conclusion that 60% of our Ecosystem function is in decline – (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005) The most egregious changes coming in just the last 3 generations (60 years) with the legacies lasting up to 11,250 generations as is the case of nuclear power.

We are like the Lemmings standing on shore, overpopulated and blind to our shadow issues, moments away from swimming into the abyss.

We have taken this once magical, mysterious and unique planet with all it’s diversity and symbiosis and turned it into a toxic soup for profit and greed.

So now, what do we tell our children?