We live in a Time of Turning. A Time of Shadow where ecological trajectories we have depended upon and taken for granted in our encultured way of life are beginning to skew and fall. We have depended upon natural resources for everything from aluminum foil to our houses. Electricity, transportation of goods and services, medical advancements, even the salt which sits meekly on our kitchen tables.
We are beginning, just beginning to observe “wiggles” in the large planetary cycles that drive the sustainability of Life for all Beings in this miraculous World we live in. It seems like news of extinction rates and changes in the climate regime, and deteriorating ecosystems reach our eyes and ears readily from information services. As human beings, this news can hit ones solar plexus like a sucker punch… and our survival instincts can respond with a wave of emotions triggered by adrenaline. We begin to feel endangered, with imaginings of what we observe with declining populations of other creatures such as the whale, the orangutan, polar bears, sea turtles, even in local deer populations. We should feel anxious. It is a normal response to environmental changes we have little control over.
I spoke with a women friend the other day who was feeling overwhelmed by the recent research analysis put out by the United Nations scientists this past week. Choking tears came easily, followed by feelings of fear for her children. She spoke of doubt, of not knowing how effective we can be as a species to turn things around through effective action on a global scale…. “Are we even going to be here in 12 years?”
My answer to that question is “Yes”, humanity will still be here at that time. What is being projected with ocean waters rising, is that tidal cities and settlements will be flooded. More erratic weather such as hurricanes, typhoons, tornados, heavy rain and snow in winter and drought will become the norm. With these changes come shifts in insect populations, disease vectors (such as ticks and mosquitoes), changes in plant physiology that will affect bird and other wildlife population food sources and migration patterns, as well as our industrialized food crops. We will have to adapt, as well as every other living being on the planet.
Adaptation takes time. I teach folks how to cook with the Sun using solar cookers. The energy is free and the cost for a solar cooker is reasonable. The challenge lies in getting folks use to the different texture of food cooked by the sun. Flour products such as brownies do not “crisp” up in a solar oven. They come out fully cooked, but the texture is softer, more crumbly than a batch made in a conventional oven. Not as gooey. It’s kind of funny to hear folks mention the texture….. it looks like a brownie, smells and tastes like one too, but it’s CRUMBLY!
We have such fixed ideas of what we find acceptable for both enjoyment and basic needs. Buy used clothes from a thrift store? Never! They are dirty or have lice…recycled appliances? Worthless, they are going to break anyway…Learn to repair items I own? Why? I can just throw it out and buy a new one at Walmart….endless avenues for adaptive behavior.
It takes a 500 foot, 8000-ton ship over a third of a mile to turn around in the ocean. A large barge may take up to 5 miles to stop after the brake is applied. It will take years, decades perhaps, to get the human community to adapt to the required specifications to turn around the current trajectory of global climate change. It is not going to be a speedy process…. AND, we keep having babies that put more pressure on Mother to provide them with food, shelter, clothing and education.
Will we make these changes in time before multiple major planetary cycles shift and create cascading environmental trajectories to our demise? I don’t know…..Death comes to all things on this Planet. Close to 99.9% of all species created by Mother have gone extinct.
We have now entered the stage of the “sixth largest mass extinction” this Planet has experienced… largely due to our own hands. We purchase items that continue to deplete our natural resources: palm oil in cosmetics and food products; metal demands for cars, infrastructure needs, industrial and household goods; timber for paper products and lumber; etc. The list of wants is endless, and Mothers cupboards are becoming bare.
I now walk under “ochre-colored skies”, although they may appear blue above my head. Ochre is the color of iron oxide, one of the most common minerals found on earth. There is much evidence that yellow and red ochre pigment was used in prehistoric and ancient times by many different civilizations on different continents…all over the globe. In death, red ochre represented a return to the earth or possibly as a form of ritual rebirth, through the blood and the Great Goddess. Yellow ochre is associated with gold, considered to symbolize the eternal and indestructible…
So in short, I walk under ochre-colored skies for the Great Remembering of the indestructible rebirth of Life on our planet, of my connection to Her through my blood and bone and to my continued Honor and Respect to the greatest of all Goddesses, Gaea Herself.