Errors of Emission
“We are stardust
And we’ve got to get ourselves
back to the garden.”
~ Joni Mitchell, lyrics to Woodstock
In the classic, An Inconvenient Truth, Earth steward Al Gore laid out for us, cleanly and with humor, why the way we conduct our lives matters monumentally — and how we each have a stake in the outcome.
He wrote, “If denial is not a river in Egypt, despair is not a tire in the trunk.” We’re all canaries in the global coal mine: carbon-based life forms whose carbon footprint now resembles Bigfoot. This telescopes everything else — such as what to have for dinner, whether we’ll contract avian flu, or where the latest war has erupted — into stark focus.
Gore says, “We’re witnessing a collision between our civilization and the Earth. We can’t just mindlessly continue the patterns of the past. Our moral imperative to make big changes is inescapable.”
He understands the macro issue from a micro perspective. Gore’s family used to operate a tobacco farm, and his sister Nancy, who began smoking at age thirteen, died in midlife from lung cancer. For decades we downplayed the Surgeon General’s warning. Today, with the link between smoking and cancer well established, close to 100,000 young people worldwide still take up the habit daily.
The same holds true for our planetary body. If we keep “smoking” Earth, she’ll soon be burned out. Then life as we know it ceases. Our planet, given an epoch, will regenerate, perhaps to support a more symbiotic life form.
“Environmentally sensitive” people (an estimated 10-40 percent of the U.S. population) are part of our global warning: a voice for the trees, the oceans, our animal kin. It’s only a matter of perspective — and time — until we can no longer pretend that climate change isn’t altering our reality more surely than any psychotropic substance. Architects in the Netherlands, which is located below sea level, have already developed floating buildings.
Re-Sourcing Ourselves from Life’s Well
As we approach the second coming of Atlantis, we’re being called to remember that we are all resourceful — full of resources — and that we can re-Source ourselves from the infinite well of creative energy.
Sustainable technology is within our purview. We need only engage more of our elemental mind. Solar (fire), wind (air) and hydro (water) power are available, viable, and affordable. So far we’ve only tapped petroleum (earth) to its potential — and this doesn’t even include biofuels.
There is an Aboriginal axiom, “The more you know, the less you need.” The most joy-filled people on Earth aren’t the most consumptive. They’re the ones who remember our connection with all life, and live that connection as a prayer to both the ancestors and future generations. What they “know” comes not from textbooks, but from ensouled wisdom.
As Gore reminds us, power without wisdom is extremely dangerous. Einstein said, “The splitting of the atom has changed everything save our mode of thinking, and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.” We’ve created a humongous microwave oven, and our collective brainpower is cooking inside it.
The question remains: will we choose to transform our errors of emission into values of volition? Can we regain a penchant for all species’ survival, which was imprinted in our cellular memory eons before we grew the desire for more horses under the hood?
In a sense, it’s a collective conscious evolution exam. We’ve already united as one planet in a moment of focused emergency: to ban CFCs and begin to close the hole in the ozone layer.
Now we’re again at a global choice point. Because there is no greener grass, only greenhouse gas, and no one at whom to point the finger and pass the buck. Our 21st century dependence on fossil fuel, techno-lifestyles — and past patterns — is only fueling our drive to become fossils faster.
What You Can Do:
Each of us is simultaneously a cause of and a solution to climate change. One aware individual can make a small difference. Times 7 billion, the impact is, to say the least, statistically significant.