Conversation at Cliff Edge
"No one knows if a serious effort at that time
could have saved the reef, but it is clear
that no such effort was made."
- Rowan Jacobsen, Obituary: Great Barrier Reef, Outside Magazine
A decade or so ago now in a dream, I was with a Native American man, standing at the edge of a cliff. As the man spoke to me he swept his arm out wide over the valley that stretched forever to the horizon. He said, "Once we knew how to help. But this. This is the whole world. We don't have medicine for this."
Initially, I gathered from this dream that all knowledge and ways of knowing are called to the table now. That neither indigenous knowledge regarding the nature of and relationships between plants and animals, sun, moon, wind, rain and rocks, nor the knowing that has given rise to today's rudimentary technologies, equally indigenous, holds the power alone to restore balance in community.
Reflecting on this dream through experience since, I see the humility this man expressed. As a leader, he was saying, "I have known what to do until now. I do not know what is needed now."
Humans are being restored to infancy in the face of a colossal mess* created in course of denying some humans and most other species their rightful existence, or rightful work*. Uncertainty encourages revived trust in one another and in the greater community's, or system's, intelligence to restore balance as species either adapt to change or perish. To be much less arrogant and much more curious.
Humans too must adapt in many ways and primarily in this surrender to not knowing - the wisdom root of indigenous knowledge. And surrendering in trust, or faith, is most challenging for the human being who has no experience of trustworthy parents and friends let alone experience living interdependently among other organisms, observing and modeling collaborative ways. Yet there are those on the leading edge of trust whose childlike curiosity is proving the theory that, when left to their own devices, all function quite well while doing their part to ensure thriving community. Biomimicry* exemplifies this genius human adaptation.
I see that this man pointed to the matter that indigenous knowledge itself crumbles as other organisms relocate or disappear in consequence of poisoned, warming waters and changing seasons. During this transition - a period of mass death in process of birth - helpful action is to observe and support others as they respond. Support includes removing manufactured barriers to existence, including large dams, indigestible things, and false borders, as well as ending the holocaust that is the clearing of forests and turning of fields to mono-crops.
Beyond actions to remove barriers within and without the human mind, human actions intended to resolve the imbalance faster than the body would naturally heal itself with rest, necessary activity, and proper nutrition, are of the same fixed course* that created global catastrophe exemplified in a dying Great Barrier Reef.
"Ocean Ark Alliance (OAA)* recieved a lot of messages about 'death of the reef' this morning (10.14.2016) - here's an extract of one we particularly agree with:
'... the best action in my view is to be honest - it's serious, parts are showing signs of death, other parts show signs of recovery and yet others were not affected. This means there is still time to act - eulogies are passive and demotivating. Actions that mobilize people to write, call and lobby the Australian politicians who are under pressure to allow mining, shipping, fishing and other actions in the reef are critical....'
The obituary to the Great Barrier Reef* in Outside Magazine is one among many obits floating. The obituaries themselves are at best presumptive* and at worst preemptive, serving only more of the thinking that would further cripple a self-healing body* in a scramble to extract remaining fossils or otherwise act destructively* in an attempt to protect the body / community from this scramble to extract.
Great Barrier Reef is dying as a consequence of fossil fuel extraction and use among the lot of insults diminishing everyone as materialism is revered. Those who call for the end of extraction want nothing more than to protect the child's joy and peace. Let's say that Great Barrier Reef's near death experience is not death to the reef but to the death of barriers - identities, pride, and prejudices - that have brought Great Barrier Reef to this stage.
A conversation buried before my birth in the mid-1970's has surfaced in the gathering of tribes united for the Standing Rock Sioux and the call for President Obama to grant clemency now for Leonard Peltier*, who has been jailed since for his role protecting water and children in the face of exploitative mineral extraction. Leonard's punishment is threatened to repeat itself in the persecution of journalists* for their roles documenting injustice. Let's say the conversation buried has surfaced not to repeat injustice, but to banish injustice and revive liberty for all.
One finger pointing out
is three fingers pointing back
with one on the trigger.
However costly fossil fuels may be, too many humans have benefited and continue to benefit from the extraction and use of fossil fuels to point fingers at the industry and individual corporations.
Mineral extraction is ending, the industry, ideally, honorably retired* to serving less harmful options while reducing overall energy consumption*. This means that those who have used fuels and materials extravagantly are experiencing lifestyle changes. One's willingness or capacity for surrender to change surely determines whether the process is paining or suffering.
* * *
There is a yellow sign with arrows pointing right and left at a T in the road. There is no arrow pointing forward. The choice is to turn one way or the other.
This great entity called human civilization is moving full throttle and facing this T immediately ahead that requires a 90⁰ turn one way or the other. Uncertain of this juncture yet clear that a turn will not go well at this speed, logic encourages slowing* to a full stop and looking both ways to assess and ensure the body's fitness for the course as well as the two options ahead.
Which way will it be?
Universal trust and generosity / gratitude?
Universal fear and greed / entitlement?
Turning at this T requires 100% participation to navigate in time. The domino at the center could tip in either direction. That domino is you and that domino is me. Ubuntu* - Surely I am because we are.
There is time. And the time is Now*.
Please read the FORE Update on Standing Rock and follow the news at Democracy Now!. Please visit Friends of Leonard Peltier and pledge a call to President Obama requesting clemency for Leonard, who has been jailed 40 years for his role protecting water and children from exploitative mineral extraction. Also visit International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee for more information and see, share, and follow #IWillAsk.
The gathering in North Dakota, USA is but the center stage of equally critical land and sea / community - based conflicts encompassing the world. The feverish scramble to extract remaining fossil fuels and sequester land and water in private holdings is matched by equal determination to share the wealth.
At both extremes, what's possible is happening. Tune in at Bioneers Radio.
read Red Tide Rising - There is time. And the time is Now.
Please support forest / community protection, revival, and regeneration. As Diana Beresford-Kroeger explains in Call of the Forest, reviving forest communities requires strategy. Numbers do not count unless the proper trees are planted in the proper area and tended with care.
Call of the Forest - Global / Call of the Forest dot ca - link
i Give Trees - Brazil / 1 of 100 Projects for Climate - link
Community Carbon Trees - Costa Rica / ACCT - link
Planting Hope - DR Congo / Neema Namadamu for WECAN-Congo - link
*rightful work - When I work, We thrive. / RIGHT WORK www dot Rightful Work dot com - link
*a colossal mess - Before The Flood (feature film) - link
*Biomimicry - What Is Biomimicry? - link
*the same fixed course - War Not Optional re: WWII-scale Mobilization for Climate - link
*Ocean Ark Alliance (OAA) - www dot Ocean Ark Alliance dot org dot au - link
*obituary for Great Barrier Reef - Obiturary Great Barrier Reef / Outside Magazine - link
*at best presumptive - Actual State of the Great Barrier Reef / video at Weather dot com - link
*further cripple a self-healing body - War Not Optional re: WWII-scale Climate Mobilization - link
*otherwise act destructively - Conversations On Underground Resistance - link
*clemency now for Leonard Peltier - Friends of Peltier / www dot Free Peltier Now dot org - link
*persecution of journalists - Filmmaker Facing 45 Year Prison Sentence / Mint Press News - link
& Documentary film-makers face decades in prison for taping oil pipeline protests - link
& Documentary Filmmaker Faces Up to 45 Years in Prison - link
*industry honorably retired - Changing the Climate of Climate Talk / Elephant Journal - link
*reducing overall energy consumption - War Not Optional re: WWII-scale Mobilization for Climate - link
*logic encourages slowing - War Not Optional re: WWII-scale Climate Mobilization - link
*Ubuntu - Michael Onyebuchi Eze on the core of Ubuntu / ex·tinc·tion wit·ness Collaborate - link
*the time is Now - TreeSisters Interview following filming for VIRGIN 11.27.2013 - link