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Playing the Odds

For over twenty-five years I have been predicting that the human species has a twenty percent chance of surviving fifty or one hundred more years. While it doesn’t sound like it, I am an eternal optimist. But our species is attacking everything on this planet that we are dependent on. We are changing the air, fresh water, oceans and soil. We are changing the climate and making an immense number of harmful chemicals. Nuclear weapons and viruses are a major threat. The list goes on and on.

These things make sense in our present culture. With economics held as primary, with humans identified as producers and consumers and Earth identified purely as a resource, it all fits together. We have taken this cultural philosophy and pushed it to its ultimate conclusion. Money is the most important thing, everything else is secondary. With this election the only change I see is possibly a slight decrease in the odds of our species surviving. We have a dike with one hundred holes. Over the past years what has varied is the number of fingers going into the holes—but never more than four or five. This election might reduce it to one or even none. However, either way ninety five or more holes in the dike continue to leak.

While I am in complete support of stopping oil pipelines from being built, passing clean air legislation, cleaning up the oceans, etc., etc., I know that doing these things will not significantly change the odds. It will just add another finger or two in the dike. Our only hope lies in changing the way we think, changing our culture. We need to return to reality and see that Earth is primary and that our species is one of ten million species. We need to see that spirituality, culture, economics and language are simply activities of our species. We, like every other species, are completely dependent on Earth processes working in our favor.

We are no better or worse than any other species, just different. We are not doing anything evil. If we believe humans are evil then we must believe Earth is evil—because we are Earth. What is happening now has happened throughout human history: situations change, and as a result, human culture changes. We are in such a situation now. The only real difference is it took thousands of years for humans to make many of the changes. Our problem is we don’t have that kind of time. Because most of us live relatively well, it is difficult to see the danger we are in and support a rapid cultural change.

I find hope in the fact that what our culture needs to move toward is reality: Earth is primary and we are simply one species on it. Other facts that give me hope are that most people in this culture are really not happy and are looking for change.

One of our struggles is that people still believe the myth of this culture and feel that if they are unhappy it is because they don’t have enough money and stuff. Thus the results of the election.

We need to quickly change the culture. To do this I believe we need to develop lifestyles that demonstrate a way of living that honors Earth as Primary. This underlies what we are trying to do with Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage where I live. We are demonstrating how we might live differently—and sustainably—in our cities. This is not the end all, the ultimate answer. We are simply a small demonstration. What we need are hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of demonstrations of people and groups living in ways that hold Earth as primary. We need to demonstrate that this is a better way of living.

There are already many demonstrations going on. The Center for Ecozoic Societies is also one. Many people reading this article also fit into this category. However, we need many, many more people and groups working on developing these demonstrations. This, I believe is our one hope of changing a deep seated cultural belief. It is our one hope of filling all the holes in the dike, or at least a lot of them.

While I don’t think the odds are good, I believe that developing examples of new ways of living sustainably is what we need to do for ourselves and for our descendants. It is also a better way to live, no matter what the future brings. So, let’s join together and be the change.