This I Believe

Liz - Missoula, Montana
Entered on August 30, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

The world we know is coming to an end, and I am excited. The transition is going to be chaotic, but the future will evolve another wonderful, challenging world. I believe this because I believe in the healing powers of the earth, and in the willingness of humans to act for the good of society rather than themselves.

The immediate future looks pretty grim, and appears to be coming faster than predicted. Warming, species extinction, flooding of the coasts, and melting of the ice fields are going to happen, regardless of the causes and of how valiantly people want to reverse the process. The slide down the slippery slope has begun.

Also, the population now exceeds the capacity of the earth to support it comfortably. I fear new diseases, or mutations of the old, will kill large numbers of people, tragically most will be in the high density urban communities which will result in intense lose and pain for the predominantly poor and marginalized who live there.

As demonstrated so tragically by the tsunami in Indonesia, the increasingly common natural disasters have devastating effects on an area’s population, again, too often the poor, and persons of color. The ongoing wars and genocides further will decrease the population, especially the collateral damage of women, children and elderly.

How can I remain optimistic, excited about the future in the face of this impending, inevitable chaos? First, I believe in the earth’s power to heal and mend. There is a dam on the Clark Fork River where I live that is a superfund site of mine tailings washed downstream behind it. The dam is to be removed. I had assumed restoration and natural flow would take years, long past my lifetime. However, within a month of the water being drawn down the area began recovering; herons were fishing, and grasses growing. Watch how fast plants grow in cracks in the pavement. If we destroyed humans completely how long would it take New York City to be an obscure remnant like the Mayan ruins?

Second, I want to believe that when the human race is threatened, individuals will become heroes. To believe this requires a bit more faith during this time of extreme individual accumulating of wealth, idealizing of sex, booze, youth, and ignoring of responsibility for climate and environment. However, doing relief work in New Orleans after Katrina rekindled my faith in people to work together for the welfare of others. Will the majority of the residuals of humanity respond for the good of all? Only time will tell.

I don’t fear change, I embrace it. I am sad that my grandkids won’t experience the world I have loved it, but theirs will be equally wonderful, and exhilarating, just different.