Is This The World We Want?

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Or would we prefer this one?

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We better decide soon.

Scholars such as Timothy Morton and Bruno Latour remind us that viewing the natural world as separated from humans is not only ethically problematic but empirically false. Heather Alberro

A generational conflict is heating up over climate change. Young people see their future compromised by the stupidity, shortsightedness and greed of their elders. They are galvanized by the obvious evidence, both of science and world news. They can also see with their own eyes frightening events taking shape in politics and the environment.

And yet adults refuse to act. They have too little imagination and too much invested in the status quo. They are intellectual hostages of a corrupt culture. In the history of the West, there was a mental shift when we began to imagine ourselves outside of nature.

We got the idea that we were superior to nature, that we owned it and could use it however we wished. A kind of hubris took over, a kind of psychological inflation became common.

We forgot that we are part of nature, a pretty obvious and concrete fact when you think about it. It’s strange to think we forgot it, but I think we are about to rediscover that fact. We shouldn’t be shocked that lifestyle changes will be in order. These lifestyle changes will be radical for a lot of us.

Survival in this new landscape will require more than knowing how to grow food or build a house. Kindness, I think, will be at a premium. The World is now challenged to grow an intelligent heart.

People will need to see everything with the eye of compassion and empathy instead of survival only.

Nobody knows exactly what is going to happen, what kind of crisis it will be. The young people fighting now to raise this issue in the halls of governance and finance know what’s coming and are trying to head off the worst of it before it’s too late.

I wish them Godspeed.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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