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Painting by Steven Kenny

What are we doing to the world? Do we even notice what we are doing, or are we too busy creating our useless products and chasing money? Species are going extinct at an alarming rate, bird and insect populations are falling off a cliff, climate change is threatening the whole globe and our “leaders” are shuffling their feet and giving us nothing but lip service and platitudes.

We know they won’t take action because they are blind and deaf to the obvious. And this state of affairs has been going on for thirty years or longer.

A lack of vision is lethal. The proof is everywhere right now.

It won’t be long before we nail ourselves to the cross we are busy crucifying the rest of the world on. This path leads inevitably back to us. We are not exempt from the travails of the natural world. We are an integral part of nature, not separate or above it.

That’s an obvious statement, but I just want to say it.

I grew up in the country with land and animals and space, but I also grew up in a culture heavily influenced by Puritanism, which is a mindset that is at odds with nature. It’s really a fear of nature. It’s an attempt to control and suppress it, kill it, banish it, “purify” it.

As I began to explore other cultures in my twenties, I couldn’t help but notice how much more at ease some cultures are with emotions, sexuality, touching and even simple expressions of affections. Foods and bodily adornments there achieved an aesthetic that surprised me. It was ok to be sensual, in fact the word itself had a positive connotation.

The North American continent was prodigious in life forms and natural wonders at the time of its discovery by Europeans. Humans had lived on the continent for a millenia without destroying it.

But now, it’s being “developed,” fracked and polluted within an inch of its life. Many species of plants and animals are rapidly going extinct.

Legislators are counseling us not to worry, though, because God is still on his golden throne. Somehow that doesn’t comfort me. Somehow I still worry.

What if our whole fable of our special place in the global scheme of things is just that, a childish story meant to exalt us to an undeserved state of impunity.

The obvious hubris of this whole scenario might be funny if it weren’t so tragic. One unexpected note of hope is now showing up in young people who can see the writing on the wall. It’s not surprising that our blind leaders can’t see it, but thank God for small favors.

I hope to see this new generation turn the tide. I still have hope, but we have a short window of opportunity now.

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