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Understanding our ecological predicament—Facing the darkness

by | Dec 18, 2018 | Community resources | 0 comments

Sometimes the reality of our current situation sinks in. What do we do when we are confronted by the startling and challenging statistical realities.

“My denial of our ecological predicament was punctured when I reviewed the evidence, as interpreted primarily by climate scientists like James Hansen, Michael Mann, and Kevin Anderson, and by expert journalists like Bill McKibben and Katherine Kolbert. And my sobriety has been deepened by deep study of the intelligent conversations going on among ecologists who have projected current trends and concluded that it is too late to avert civilization-level disasters. Although I don’t share their certainty of collapse, you can outgrow denialism and gain gravitas by listening openly, honestly, and carefully to their perspectives” says Terry.

Some of the resources that address this include:

  • Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow (thegreatstory.org) exited their conventional lives and partnered in a life of full-time evolutionary evangelism almost a decade ago. Since then, they have crisscrossed America in their van, recently focusing exclusively on our climate emergency. Their Deep Sustainability web page (thegreatstory.org/sustainability-audios.html) includes links to articles and books and especially an extensive library of audio files of Michael reading dozens of books by authors ranging from William Catton to Richard Heinberg to John Michael Greer clarifying and exploring the implacable nature of Earth’s biological and geological limits and their expectation that we are entering a post-industrial “eco-technic” future that retains scientific knowledge but in many ways resembles the pre-industrial past. Michael was the Virgil who guided my descent into an unblinking apprehension of the enormity and intractability of our ecological predicament.
  • Carolyn Baker (carolynbaker.net) is a psychologist, futurist, community organizer and environmental activist who concluded some years ago that industrial civilization is already in the process of collapse, and set about trying to help people navigate the enormous psychological and spiritual adjustment to that reality. Through her webinars, podcasts, live workshops, books, and articles, as well as one-on-one life coaching, Carolyn creates “islands of sanity” among people preparing for the dire consequences of the collapse of industrial civilization and abrupt climate change. She also publishes a comprehensive Daily News Digest.
  • John Michael Greer (ecosophia.net) is acknowledged as the Archdruid of two American Druidic organization and long authored the widely-read weekly blog, The Archdruid Report, as well as more than thirty books on a wide range of subjects, including peak oil and the future of industrial society. He sneers at techno-optimism as he envisions The Eco-technic Future, a Dark Age America, and recommends we Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush.
  • Radical environmentalist Derrick Jenson (derrickjensen.org) is a coauthor of Deep Green Resistance, and the author of Endgame, The Culture of Make Believe, A Language Older than Words, many other books, and is widely published in many general circulation publications. A scholar, soulful visionary, and radical activist committed to “the non-human world” he advocates radical and mostly but not absolutely nonviolent direct action.
  • This section ends on a much more hopeful note with the Inspiring Transition Initiative (inspiringtransition.net) initiative, an open community that recognizes the grim severity of our global ecological emergency and the necessity for whole-system change to transition to a life-sustaining society. Convener Andrew Gaines and his friends havedefinitely not given up though, and work to equip others to become “citizen educators” but not with any centralized direction. Their website provides ready-to-use tools, including sample emails, guerrilla marketing, presentations, workshops, and focused “Kitchen Table Conversations”.
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This is a very partial list, reflecting our imperfect memories and the limits of my personal experience in privileged USA – the reality it points to is MUCH larger. We are already expanding this online version. And none of them (even our own projects) reflects all the ideals, values and the ultimate vision of “a new republic of the heart.”

What has been included in the resources section?

This only lists initiatives that are consciously attempting to enact cultural transformation. Equally valuable dimensions of a new republic of the heart, however, are the much larger number of efforts that embody the health and wholeness and caring character of human culture—not only the international relief workers, as important as they are, but also local churches and charities and other good works; nurses and doctors and teachers and social workers and firefighters and emergency medical technicians and other first responders; the farmers and technicians; the workers and entrepreneurs; and the countless community builders and leaders who keep re-weaving the social fabric.

Help me understand the scope

When the body (or body politic) is under siege, what restores well-being is not just the immune system, but also the vastly larger number of cells that just keep pumping the blood and lymph and nerve impulses, sustaining life and health. They are not listed here, but I want to acknowledge and appreciate the widest possible spectrum of the broad and ultimately universal emergence of a new republic of the heart.