Friday, July 5, 2013
As a small child I had an awareness of what we humans are doing to the planet that is atypical of what most young children have. What exactly caused me to be so sensitive to the world around me I still do not fully know. But I can still remember climbing trees and sitting amidst fluttering leaves filtering sunlight and having these feelings of wonder and awe. My awe was based in part on the beauty of the world around me. But I was also awed by what struck me as a shortsightedness common to us humans. I can still remember wondering where all the exhaust was ultimately going that I would see coming out of cars and trucks on the road. My fascination with the Earth and human behavior ultimately led me to study atmospheric science once I completed high school.
Besides the trauma that humans experience due to the actions we take that deliberately or inadvertently harm other people there is also the human-Earth relationship to consider. And I think many within our human family are quite simply not in their right minds. How else would you explain our collective behavior typical of an addict, namely a behavior in which we are causing harm, we are aware that we are indeed causing harm and we are doing nothing sufficient to end the harm?
I have said it before and I will say it again. We are engaged in an unprecedented experiment the scale and intensity of which we have never previously undertaken in all of human history. What is this experiment? The experiment is our use of fossil fuels whose byproduct is leading to the steady accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We currently do not have any technology or related policy implemented on a sufficient scale to counteract the consequences of what we are doing to the atmosphere. We are fouling our own nest known as planet Earth. Species that destroy the environments upon which they derive their sustenance do not live indefinitely or necessarily even very long.
So you may ask why I am speaking of the concept of trauma on such a global scale. I broach the topic of our fossil fueled 21st century life for a few reasons: 1) I want to make it clear what I personally believe about trauma, namely that it comes in many forms, 2) I want to draw attention to a manner in which I feel we are collectively creating global scale trauma that may ultimately come back to "bite us" later (in the form of extreme weather, catastrophic changes in climate zones, etc) and 3) I want to draw attention to the interconnection of everything within the Earth system. What we do each and every day has consequences not only for us as individuals but also for us as a planet.
There are times when I don't feel enthusiastic to see what the world of 2040 will be like...
Tomorrow I will resume my focus on my particular journey. But you can expect I will look at the larger scale on occasion as well.
Thanks for reading!