At this time in the world, as perhaps with all time, things that don’t work are falling away. I believe “sustainability” is a self-fulfilling ideal. Of course it is important to enlighten our neighbors to recycle, to look into the origin of our food and clothing and question our methods. If only we could finally get away from our oil dependency, if only more people rode bikes, if birth control could be a non-issue, we would move through our problems much more gracefully, with much more wisdom.
But humanity is not this way. And really, neither is nature. Although mother earth, the ocean, the colors, and the wind are a gorgeous and beautiful fact of reality - it keeps true to those adjectives best when seen through the glass of a double-paned window, from the comfort of walls and cushions under roofs. We tend to forget that nature is also ruthless, random, cold, bitter and deadly. Nature is rough - it’s changes often occur very abruptly. Look at the balance of life in the wild where gruesome killing is an every day occurrence. A winter’s frost brings death and starvation to many living things.
Within our homes and softened hearts we choose not to look at the “dark side” of nature’s cycles. This illusion of security is what I propose is at the root of man’s failure to see itself within the natural world. Because, as humans, we are not always affected by the cruel changes in the wind, we feel outside and somehow better than the animals who hunt and kill for food all day. Many humans do not identify as animals. Science itself seems to have the notion that it can dominate the environment.
The truth is that we are right in the middle of nature. It’s a logical point. How could we ever escape the cosmos, the planets, the earthly cycles that brought us up from it’s dust? There really is no man made intelligence that nature has not already thought up. We are very much the same as the world out of doors, it’s just that our drama has a story to go along with it. Exploiting each other and our environment, humans ruthlessly killing and consuming lesser species, but on a grand scale. Our brains make us feel superior to the simplicity we see in the animal world, but complexity is not always better. The disconnect allows us to justify larger scale atrocities, but then, we are the largest imposing population.
I came to this realization in the place between depression and peace. Becoming an adult means one begins to take off the rose colored glasses parental society puts in place for it’s children. I began to understand that the struggles I only learned about in history class were the name of the game. Once I saw the corrupt pattern I began to look for it everywhere, and I surely found it. At every level in this world we have built, something tragic is going on. Of course I still cry to behold it. But one can’t give up on the world because of those terrible things. They will always be. I heard a whisper in my ear when realizing all I could not do to fix it, and the whisper told me “go on, look at it, but remember; I am much grander than all this chaos. Think of the tides of ocean and the uncontrollable wind, know that you and all the people are as much a part of me as any. Nothing is created or destroyed. Look at it and feel pain, but look also at the beauty without guilt.” So I stopped worrying on Mother Nature’s behalf. One bad ass that can definitely fend for herself. And she will. And she does.
Yes, a shift toward sustainability must be imagined and then achieved. But it’s not to worry that we take it into our own hands, because since we are a part of nature we can trust that a natural balancing will inevitably take place. The unsustainable simply will not sustain! In our human world as in the natural world; a balance is always being sought. Before new life must come death, it’s the resistance that hurts the most, not the actual shift. Frustrating the balance- using every drop of oil until there is no where else to go before introducing solar and wind power, would be the best example of a painful resistance. The smart ones of us can go ahead and adapt our lives to a simpler and eventually easier style. Some will suffer at the crux of it if they don’t get their priorities straight in time, but even most of them will survive.
I’m not saying activism is not important, just that it’s natural. Yes mountain top removal is not okay. It’s terrible. But it’s natural. Computers are natural. Plastic is natural. These things hurt to say so perhaps we should focus more on demonizing the inventions that further separate us from the truth, but for those truly wounded by the thought of all this waste it can help to remember that we are still part of the cruel and beautiful universe that created and will destroy us.