Covid. Wildfires. Heat waves. Orange men in white houses. Black men, women, and children murdered by those who are supposed to protect them. And ‘good guys’ who don’t keep promises when they in office.
It isn’t just the news these days. You can’t go on social media without being overwhelmed with bad news and pessimism. It can be incredibly depressing and anxiety inducing.
For the past month, I’ve been part of a book club reading and discussing Suzanne Simard‘s Finding the Mother Tree. It has been wonderful connecting with like minded individuals, especially back home. many (more than 75%) are white women my age and older. What feminist writer Jean Shinoda Bolen calls ‘crones.’ Unsurprisingly, there has been a great deal of grief and mourning the last couple of meetings.
Then today, I saw this really depressing article on my Medium. I’m not even going to link it here because it is that pessimistic. It talks about how many people have died of Covid and heat this year. And how much worse things are going to get. The author called it The Great Dying.
And they’re right. Yes, all of those things are true.
There is HOPE.
There is a new generation that are not taken in by false promises. There are parents who are encouraging their little humans to think for themselves and question everything. There are permaculturists and Traditional Ecological Knowledge practioners around this world that are showing how easily and quickly Mother Nature can heal herself. Out of Africa, the cradle of civilization, comes our biggest hope…
The Great Green Wall
Not of rock and stone. Not to defend against enemies or to launch offensives. But to grow trees.
I want to share with you Suzanne Simard’s words from Finding the Mother Tree:
We must heed the answers we’re being given.p. 293 – 294
I believe this kind of transformative thinking is what will save us. It is a philosophy of treating the world’s creatures, its gifts, as of equal importance to us….We can continue pushing our earth out of balance, with greenhouse gases accelerating each year, or we can regain balance by acknowledging that if we harm one species, one forest, one lake, this ripples through the entire complex web. Mistreatment of one species is mistreatment of all.
The rest of the planet has been waiting patiently for us to figure that out.
Making this transformation requires humans reconnect with nature – the forests, the prairie, the oceans – instead of treating everything and everyone as objects for exploitation. It means expanding our modern ways, our epistemology and scientific methodologies, so that they complement, build on, and align with Aboriginal roots. Mowing down the forests and harvesting the waters to fulfill our wildest dreams of material wealth just because we can has caught up to us.
Yes, folks, there is still time. There is HOPE.
His fingers brushed the corner of her mouth, “I know you’re worried, sweetheart. And I know that we all have the right to be. Nothing is ever going to be the way it was before, Abby Jean. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
He leaned down, his forehead touching hers as those calloused fingers caressed her cheeks. “Things are changing in this world. We both feel that. And I have seen so much more of it than I’d ever want you to.”
His face got a faraway haunted expression that tugged at her heart and made her want to do anything to soothe those demons that she knew still tormented her husband. Though he did not speak of his childhood or time in the Army, his cries had woken her the other night.
“One thing I know, black, brown, or any other color, no matter the god we worship, or how much money we don’t have, we all want the same thing. Food to eat, a safe place to call home, good friends we trust, and family. No matter what, we have those things here.”
Then go outside….
Connect to nature….
Plant lettuce, spinach, kale, or micro greens….
And find your people….
Let’s build that better world. One community at a time. Right where we are.
Oh, that’s my best friend, Essa. She’s another displaced American, struggling to thrive here. And she’s the missing piece in another story that’s in my head.