I celebrate this 50th anniversary of Earth Day with deep grief, reverence and optimism. Fifty years ago, there was such promise of cutting back human consumption of Earth’s resources, of curbing fossil fuel emissions and for environmental justice…but human behavior didn’t change. The planet is heating up. The ice sheets are melting. The oceans are dying.
Then 2020 arrived and everything changed, but not as we had expected! We have finally reached the tipping point of life out of balance and what the Hopi call “Koyaanisqatsi”. Nature has arisen like the wrath of Kali and released a deadly pestilence. Now the world and its economy have been quarantined until we can figure a way out of this via a vaccine, behavior change or spontaneous immunity…or all three.
I do not grieve the lockdown and isolation, though inconvenient to my physical activities. I grieve the path that got us here, such as financial greed, environmental degradation, economic inequality, failed healthcare, over-population. I believe this coronavirus is a messenger forcing us to decide how we want to live…and die. Do we want to lose our ability to congregate or hug one another? Do we want to lose our freedom to wander in parks and wild places and be forced to stay behind walls and masks?
Despite the grimness and uncertainty of our predicament, I am cautiously optimistic. I believe we are in the midst of the next step in our evolution and moving from one age into another. Change can be painful, like birth and death, but we must welcome the unknown and be open to new ways of being. What an opportunity that lies before us in this incubation period. Though many are struggling to survive physically and economically, many of us have the luxury of this time-out to ponder and reflect. Without our normal external distractions, we are able to tune in and rediscover what’s really important.
The world needs a new story dedicated to beauty! We can begin every day by honoring Mother Earth—our home, our bodies. We can commit to being good Earth stewards caring for the flora and fauna and each other; reseeding and replanting and getting our hands dirty again! We can create victory gardens and altars in our own backyards.
May this Earth Day bring inspiration and bold visions for the future New Earth, for a change in consciousness and the future New Human. May this “corvid” trickster be the vehicle that finally wakes us out of complacency and fear. May we awaken to the fact that we are living in a very fragile, complex and wondrous ecosystem, and that we are inseparable from that system. Can we wake up and realize the Earth and Ourselves are One?