For many millennia on Earth, the cycles of life and death flowed smoothly, predictably.
Then came humans—the ultimate invasive species—destabilizing the climate and disrupting the planetary ecosystems. Now, in a mere hundred years, industrial agriculture, global extractivist capitalism and the fossil fuel/plastics/chemical industries have thrown the balance totally out of whack.
Modern humans have been as devastating to the planet’s life systems as that famed meteor, 65 million years ago, which brought the dinosaur age to an abrupt and violent end.
Our human lifespans are short, and yet these days there are more changes in 50 years, or a century, than in the previous 5,000 years. Time seems to be accelerating, every day packed with significance.
There is no time to waste anymore. Mary Oliver’s famous question, “What will you do with your one precious life?” is more urgent than ever.
Me, I am a teacher and a writer. A chronicler of contemporary life and an explorer of the past. I am a gardener and a cook, a mother and a daughter, a lover of trees and forests, beaches and mountains, and of all the birds, sea creatures, animals, insects, flowers and fungi that live there.
Those of us who dare to love know the risks we’re taking. Love is always risky: we open ourselves up to loss.
But if we take our cue from Nature, we see that there is no holding back.
The Earth gives passionately, abundantly, without restraint. Cut down a tree and watch ten more seedlings spring up in her place. All living beings, save humans, live in the moment, always seeking to maximize their commitment to life, life and more life.
We humans, unlike any other life form on Earth, can remember the past and foretell the future. We know that we’re in trouble now, and our anxiety over the future can be crippling. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the knowledge of just how screwed up our world is.
The task of those of us who are aware of the seriousness of our moment is to stay calm and focused, committing ourselves daily, ever more passionately, to making our little piece of the world a better place.
Whether you write a poem or cook a good meal or tuck a child lovingly into bed tonight, know that every single action you take in the world has significance. Thoughts and actions ripple out, whether positive or negative. Our task is to stay positive; to be the change we want to see in the world.
The Spring 2018 edition of Fired Up! is filled with inspiring examples of positive actions taken by individuals and small groups—whether it’s a young woman in Cameroon writing a poem to bring awareness to the destruction of nature in her city, or a group of American teenagers successfully lobbying their small town to ban single-use, single-serving plastic bottles of water.
As we go into the hot summer of 2018, take courage from the good works of others around you, and from the indefatigable commitment to life that we see all around us in Nature. Despair is a luxury we can’t afford now; we have to make every day count.
Share your thoughts, feelings and actions with others, right here at Fired Up! Submit to the Fall edition–we want to hear from you! Let’s stay fired up–together.