Jost Amman (1539 – 1591)
The Big One
It’s time to get ready. Most days it isn’t raining. Yet we cannot kid ourselves. The waters are rising, and there is no stopping it. An ocean flood is longer term and poses different problems than managing weeks long river torrent with sandbagging and clean-up afterwards. The water that’s coming is coming to stay. If we cannot stop the water for all, we’ll need to find a way to adapt to the flood for a few.
The truth is most of us won’t do much, and will continue thinking we don’t or can’t make an impact. We see the coming waters, and don’t really know what to do anyway. Joining the legions of people needed is for everyone. It’s difficult to know your individual path when the issues seem so ‘biblical’.
Still, change is upon us. Our way of life is forced to adapt to unimaginable conditions and opportunity. The human advantage has always been to exploit change, which in turn means that the rest of the biosphere is destabilized by it. Stressed ecosystems alert us and provide the opportunity of fuller understanding and appreciation of bio-entanglement.
Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré (1832 – 1883)
Humans are especially adapt at creating and morphing with disasters. Epic stories are home in the tragedies of the past, survivors carry the memory of many who pushed them through to the new order.
Now we see the richness of our biosphere shrinking dramatically as it plays out epic battles and disaster. The epic story only gets told once the turbulence settles into stability. Until then, the epic is being made.
Human versatility in the face of upheaval must help build this new stability. How to balance our rapacious, disruptive societies, with the tranquility our gardens and symbiotic species need to endure is the question of our time. Our stories and the biosphere’s are inter-meshed and seek a new balance.
A billion of species over billions of years adapted and transformed a cooling rock into a biosphere and set the stage for hundreds of generations of our own species. It seems only now that humans understand they are passengers.
Life already built them into the first ark.
Curb your appetite
How to do slow the rising waters? Core values in human lifestyle need review. Human activity is voracious, and our society eats everything. From yogurt cultures, to feedlots, forests & mountaintops, there is little that humans do not consume. Our species is increasingly rapacious and capable. It is time to master our growing hunger, and tend our dwindling garden.
We need to value a modest lifestyle. This is not an easy task within the context of today’s fast-paced world. Certainly the idolization of lavishness comes from from fear, of having a massive buffer from our upheavals. Levelling human impact on our environment will take monumental changes in our societies and personal psychologies. Even understanding sustainability is a big task.
The primal instincts all life shares must be tamed in humans. Greed, growth and hoarding must be removed as the focus of social order. They helped bring our species to the throne, but we risk the kingdom to continue our warlike attitude. The child species human has grown to be sentient adult, the alpha biological on the planet.
Our measure of wealth needs to adapt. It is not stuff, numbers & things, but experiences and impact that give our lives worth. It is not the worldwide fight against poverty, but the struggle decrepide lifestyles and conditions. This realignment of priority deserves attention.
There is a certain inevitable quality to this coming flood, and conservation may not be enough to counteract it. Even the optimist must concede it be long to change the complex human equition. The deluge could be stemmed and its impacted lessened, but it will impact us nonetheless.
Break out the tools
Adapting is a requirement, a skill humans are particularly skilled in doing. Everything needs to be considered including how we live, how we eat, transportation, resource management, waste management, nature conservation.
The ultimate expression of understanding and encapsulating our existence is the growing interest to set up the human hive independant of Earth, somewhere new.
Humans have already lived beyond Earth continuously for over a decade. Having to furnish everything to enable it is a challenge many brilliant minds are taking up.
Science and technology have brought us closer to being able to understand, build and collect for the ark. This happening all around us.
There are many heroes today fighting to slow the rising flood waters, and building models of the airtight human expansion away from home. Heroes are defined by their followers. We must celebrate and embrace their efforts to make it right, knowing the direction to go.
Do your part
We won’t pick the same ways to get there, but our goals should be similar. Live well, in consideration of others. Take digital photos, and leave light footprints.
No one alive today may get on, but humans will tell stories of building the ark, about those motivated to do so in the face of mockery and disbelief. Stories of preparation and planning are numerous. Today’s ark is a fleet, and it will take many Noah heroes to accomplish it, from the smallest microbe to the largest engines. This Ark is the life of our planet growing into its next level, the Earth’s dominant life form choosing to search for its next home.