What are the seeds we need for a new story for humanity and the Earth to become fully alive?
As we stand at the edge of climate catastrophe there is much work to be done in immediate response: cutting carbon emissions and stopping our present pathological destruction of old growth forests, rewilding and restoring wetlands to halt loss of biodiversity. Also exploring more sustainable ways to live, regenerative agriculture, reciprocity and degrowth, to name a few. But there is also a different perspective that has seen through the cracks in our present way of life, and knows it is past its sell by date, that it is simply unsustainable and over. That all attempts at “green growth” are just patterns of avoidance.
Looking to a future seven generations or more this vision is an opportunity to lay the foundations of a new way of being with each other and the Earth, a new story for our journey together with the Earth—a life sustaining civilization that honors the patterns of interdependence that connect and support us all. Stories have the power to create civilizations, and rather than survival, resilience, or even sustainability, what are the seeds we need for this new story to come fully alive?
In the early days of the pandemic, for a few months our world slowed down and almost stopped. This global crisis, in many ways a foretaste of the coming climate catastrophe, not only showed the cracks in our present global civilization, but also for a moment opened a door to a quieter, slower world. In this space I was drawn to listen to a different rhythm, the silence and sounds of the natural world and the deeper pulse of the Earth. Those months soon passed, and the pandemic not only took us into fears for our health and an economic crisis, but soon afterwards into the fragmented, divisive dramas around masks and vaccines. But the memory of a quieter, clearer world remained, and the sense of how this nourishes both body and soul. Over the next year as I walked the beaches and wetlands here on the Pacific coast, I became more and more immersed in this primal landscape, sensing it has a quality we need for a new human story, what I describe as a “deep ecology of consciousness.”
From this primal awareness we can once again learn to walk together with the Earth and Her more-than-human inhabitants. We can co-create a way of being that is not built upon controlling nature, but collaborating with Her, learning once again to listen to Her, to “rejoin the Great Conversation” with the wind and the rain, the rivers and mountains. This future, although it seems so far away, is in the ground under our feet, and in the love we have for each other, for our communities and for the Earth Herself.
Over the months of the pandemic I wrote a series of essays which explores this primal connection and way of being. They are collected here and are available as a free download, Seeding the Future.