Many in the circles I have been in have talked optimistically about a graceful and ethical descent into a life sustaining culture that will occur in our lifetime. But many have also expressed fears that it will not all be graceful and ethical. To me, the Occupy Wall Street movement is one symptom of what I and many others are calling The Great Turning, the inevitable shift away from our current industrial growth, consumer based culture. Hope and excitment lies in the opportunity for a shift to a life sustaining culture while fear comes from the gut feeling many of us have of the possible disastrous outcomes of a failure to make this shift.
Last night things began to escalate in the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has become not only nationwide but global. In Oakland, California police threw tear gas canisters, and shot projectile rounds, including rubber bullets into the crowds injuring more then a few. This was after they had forcibly taken down the protester’s tents and shut down their camp earlier the same day. Tonight, those in Oakland are trying to take back their camp and many across the globe are marching or otherwise expressing their solidarity with them.
The occupy wall street movement has caught the attention of the world, bringing issues that many of us have been talking about in our homes and communities to the forefront. The movement continues to grow and I believe that the protests are only a small fraction of a much larger underground movement that has been developing now for many years. This movement is a movement of people who know somewhere inside that things are not quite right in this world and that business as usual cannot continue much longer.
We are reaching a tipping point. People from all angles and all walks of life are starting to talk about a coming change. Chris Martenson has been talking about it for a while, tying in economics, energy, and environment. Joanna Macy has also been teaching on this shift and how to deal with the fear, grief, anger, and despair that many of us often feel as we start to face the realities of what is going on in this world. And these are just some of the bigger names that I have been following who are talking about The Great Turning. Lately, it seems that no one I know, family, friends or acquaintances, can deny the feeling that something is on the edge of change; something has got to shift. In the last six months it has been popping up in conversations all around me no matter where I go and among people I did not expect to be talking about these things.
Although I times I have felt overwhelmed and fearful of what might be coming I am at my core excited to be alive at this time and a part of this shift. Having always been interested in the environment and sustainability the realization that things are going to change very soon has done nothing more then given me a sense of urgency and fueled my passion in pursuing the things I am already interested in and doing my very best to aid in this time of transition. Now I have a framework and a clearer understanding as to why I have always felt so strongly that we must find a way to live more sustainably and in harmony with the natural world. Everyday I am feeling more clarity that I am on my path as I seek to explore ways to create homes, grow food, and live in community in ways that regenerate and support nature’s life supporting systems, and thereby support the human race.
We humans, with our unique gifts of the mind, the power to organize, and our opposable thumbs (among other gifts) have become the keystone species of this planet; our impact on this Earth and it’s ecosystems are far greater in proportion to our biomass. As the keystone species we have a great responsibility to act from a place of wisdom. We have the ability to do great good as well as great harm and we are forever creating change at a faster rate then we can foresee. Knowing this, I am choosing to develop the parts of myself that tend to be left behind in our culture today; the spirit, the heart, the ability to communicate effectively and with compassion, and the soul. By doing this I hope to be better equipped to fulfill the large responsibility of being part of a keystone species on this planet. I hope you will consider joining me on this quest. I think we can make this world a better place.