We live in interesting times. Humanity has very successfully adapted to living on the Earth, but not to living with the Earth. Our numbers have grown so much that many of the techniques we've used to get this far cannot be sustained without extincting numerous species, including, quite possibly, our own.
We are at a cross-roads. If we continue the way we've been going, we will cause environmental catastrophe and the death of much of the global ecosystem. The other way ahead is to stabilize human population, eliminate unsustainable practices and clean up our act.
Intelligence is the ability to perceive cause-and-effect patterns in the results of our actions and use our understanding of those patterns to guide our actions to increase our chances for survival and realize our dreams. No species is an island in the global web of Life. The extinction of any species anywhere diminishes every species everywhere. It has already begun. Based on the number of species that have gone extinct recently, Homo Sapiens are already the greatest catastrophe to befall Life on Earth since the cataclysm that ended the Jurassic age. Perhaps we can use our evolved gifts of intelligence, persistence and endurance to redeem ourselves so the species that have already passed into oblivion shall not have died in vain. We must now use our intelligence to preserve all Life, not just for individual survival.
For all we know, Earth's miraculous web of Life, which we so often take for granted, may be unique. Ours may be the only planet, in the only solar system, in the only galaxy that has such an abundance and diversity of life. For all we know, we may be the only species capable of written language and advanced technology in the universe. Perhaps it will be our destiny to carry Life to other planets and other star systems-- to take our Earth's tiny spark of "crystal-fire" (as one philosopher once called DNA-based life) to the stars. But even if there are other worlds teeming with other life forms, the Life here on our Mother Earth is still a treasure. If we are unique in the universe, then the more the treasure. We should treat the Life on this planet with as much respect, care and kindness as if we, ourselves, had laboured as gardeners and zookeepers for billions of years to nurture Life to it's present diversity and beauty.
In any case, as humans, we have the capacity for both great good and great evil. If we are so ignorant, mindless and uncompassionate that we fail to learn from our mistakes, that we fail to change our habits and we fail to protect Life on Earth, then maybe we deserve to go the way of the dinosaurs. If we fail to rise to the current challenge, perhaps we are not worth saving after all.
But, as long as we live, we have the power to choose between mindless repetition of the past and the enlightened fulfillment of our destiny as part of the web of Life. Many of us are limited by poverty or lack of education to smaller choices. Some of us are wealthy and powerful and still doubt there is anything we can do to make things better. No matter if we're born to play the king or pawn. One is only accountable for choices that are truly within one's power to make. Every choice, small or large, is important. If one does all that one can do, it is enough.
But too often, we take the path of least resistance and give too much sway to the habitual side of our nature. A rock knows how to roll down a mountain. A marble knows how to roll through a maze of tubes to lower places. A river can find the ocean. We can be more than these lifeless things. But as long as we take the path of least resistance, as long as we merely obey orders, as long as we merely conform to our culture's norms, as long as we do not take a stand for what we believe in, we are not even leading futile unexamined lives, because we are not even truly alive. It is only the difficult choices we make in this life that define our character as human beings. It doesn't matter if we live large or small, if we paint in bright colors or subdued-- the artistry of how we live our lives is revealed in the textures of our brush strokes. Make each day count.
When we take the path of least resistance, life becomes more predictable and comfortable. When life becomes too predictable and comfortable, we become sleepier and sleepier... we are hypnotized by our own desire for creature comforts. We make small talk. We eat fine food, but do not taste it fully. We may win the game of materialism, but we lose our lives in the process. Living the life of least resistance, the years seem to speed by faster and faster.
My father taught me that there is no art without limitation. He cited the beauty of Rembrandt's charcoal drawing on an old barrel head. It is what we do with what we have that counts. A life lived struggling toward sustainability and justice within an unsupportive climate may bring some disadvantages and sacrifice, but it is always more beautiful that the unsustainable, selfish life.
I dedicate this site to those among us who would lead the way toward a global, sustainable society and hope that the information and resources I gather here will help the journey. There are almost six billion of us now, and each of us has a role to play. Let's get started.
The Snowy Plover