13 April 2014

"In Short, We're Screwed" ... But What's the Long Version?

Faith sees the invisible, believes in the incredible, and receives the impossible.
— Unknown
What a week! On Tuesday night, we went to a book signing where Nikki van Schyndel talked about the year and a half she spent living in the wild in the Broughton Archipelago of British Columbia. I've been reading Becoming Wild during every spare minute ever since. What an inspiration! 

Then on Wednesday, I read We're Finished. Now What? by Will Falk in the San Diego Free Press. This is someone who says, "In short, we're screwed." And he's right. He goes on:
Let the knowledge sink in. Let it weigh on your shoulders. Let it pull you to the ground for a second and rub your face in the dirt of reality. Let it kick you in the gut and double you over with plain truth. Let it boil the acid in your stomach until you’re sick with honest anxiety.
Reminds me of something I realized almost exactly a year ago (see that post here), that if we can't feel the pain that comes with realizing "we're screwed," then we'll never get to the point of taking action. And Falk has realized (personally, viscerally) that the only way past the depression that is setting in with this understanding is action. 

And then on Thursday, while discussing Falk's piece with my husband, he said something that really resonated for me. 

So many huge innovations and transformations have come about even just in our lifetime. But look at how absolutely impossible (indeed, science fictiony) they seemed only years before they were invented! 

Yet when people are asked whether we can win this admittedly humongous climate change challenge, practically everyone (who's awake ... most people around me don't even care yet) says no, this problem is too big to fix. The universal social response seems to be "No can do" ... "No want to do" ... or "Ain't gonna waste my time worryin' about it."

But damn it, my hubby says, this problem is too big NOT to fix. So he's not giving up, and I'm in for the long haul. 
I am reminded of the man who, alone in a vast desert with no hat, no water, and a broken leg, pulled himself up on one bruised and battered elbow and smiled at a bunch of dry grass, saying, "You know, if this keeps up I might get discouraged." — Larry Dean Olsen

That's the long version of "we're screwed." All it's going to take is a miracle. And we've had lots of those lately.

By the way, Falk's essay is worth a read. He ends it by asking us: 
Who among us can sit idly by while our loved ones are doomed to death – while everything is doomed to death – and not act with every ounce of our power? Action is still possible. And once you start, you’ll begin to feel better. I promise.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?