On a long bike ride last weekend, I made the belated recognition that COVID-19 may well be Mama Earth’s last wake up call. And if we fail to heed this message, Mama Earth’s next sucker punch of a message will be: The End is Nigh.
As I’ve written previously, back in January, 2008, at the International Funders of Indigenous Peoples’ Conference in Queretaro, MX, Felix Sanchez of the Naso Tribe of Panama, helped me to understand that sustainability and justice are two sides of the same coin. You cannot restore the health of the planet while continuing to exploit the great mass of humanity. Justice and Sustainability are twinned, tethered, tied at the waist. You can’t have one without the other.
I have been so busy responding to the needs of Indian Country during the pandemic that it has been difficult to seize the time to reflect on what the virus has meant to me personally beyond the recognition that this must be a wake-up call for humanity. Yet, I have taken advantage of the pandemic to reconnect with old friends, including one dear old friend, John Scherer at the Scherer Leadership Center.
John and i Skyped recently. Sheltering in place in his home in Warsaw, Poland, John and his colleagues have developed the Adventus Project as a tool to assist people in thinking about how they may want to re-envision and re-deploy their lives post-pandemic. It’s a nice 20 minute video and four thought experiments which you can watch here. If you find it useful, pass it along.
While we don’t know if humans are unique in the universe, we do know that humans are extraordinary creatures. Capable of recognizing and creating extraordinary beauty, of deciphering the indecipherable, imagining the unimaginable. With or without us, science suggests that the Earth will continue to support life for nearly another two billion years, until the sun grows so large as to begin to gobble up the planets.
Let us pray that we may seize this time to imagine and make manifest a world in which, in the inimitable words of Maz Yasgur, “the man next to you is your brother, and you damn well better treat him that way, because if you don’t, then we blow the whole thing.” Amen.