So, we humans have brought this beautiful blue/green planet to the brink of destruction. Some of us are responding to the crisis with mindful meditation. Some of us are organizing with an activist's call to protest in an attempt to shut down or change offending industries and their sources of income. Some of us are working to educate and some of us are working to uneducate. Some of us are trying to change the way we live and model sustainability. Some of us are working to force the hand of legislators to create new environmental policies. Some of us are responding with entrepreneurial endeavors for planet, profit, and nonprofit. Some of us are looking forward to it because it's God's plan or because Gaia's fed up with our disrespectful and ungrateful species. Some of us are indifferent to it because the universe is indifferent and stuff happens. Some of us don't believe it. Some of us are trying to hang on to damaging practices because they're our livelihood. And some of us want to engineer our way out of it.
Our responses to the ecological crisis reflect the values that fuel our beliefs that fuel our behavior. If we believe we can engineer the climate back to health, we feel that it is unethical not to. If we believe that God is speaking through climate change, we feel that it is unethical to interfere. If we believe that technology can save a puddle of the human gene pool by getting off the planet before it's too late, we feel that it is unethical not to move in that direction. Through the lens of our values, facts can be fiction and fictions can be fact. We can witness and even experience the same devastation, but will interpret it according to our beliefs. Facts won't change a mind that doesn't value the source generating them.
Biologically, we're in the same boat. But one's rowing, one's plotting a mutiny, one's revving the engine, one's refusing to budge, one's panicking, one's blogging, one's praying, one's bailing, one's designing a new boat, one's throwing a scapegoat overboard.... Our diversity would be our greatest gift if we valued it. The diversity of nature would be our greatest teacher if we valued it. We waste our energy and the planet's energy trying to make everyone else conform to our own values. Even ethics, once asking the most important question, 'how should I live?' has been reduced to 'how should I comply?'
This is a call to examine our place in the universe from our own and then from someone else's values, not for the sake of argument, but for the sake of perspective. The earth is telling us that we fueled the wrong fire while squelching the one fire that we need: empathy. It is the simplest thing, the thing that could change everything else systemically, the thing the earth needs from us, the thing from which respect, reverence for life, and innovative solutions that do more good than harm, stem. Why is the simplest thing the hardest thing? Are we free to choose to be empathic creatures acting for the sake of the other or are we bound by some unnatural instinct to destroy all that is beautiful and bountiful?