Disrupting: The New Normal?

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Is climate change the new normal? Should we adapt? Can we benefit from climate change? Perhaps not. Yet the potential to disrupt how we have lived and moved across this planet that climate change offers could be seen as the timely crisis to motivate action. People have been on the move for centuries, seeking safety, new opportunities, and a place to settle. Today we continue to move. Some move to look for work and new opportunity. Others move to escape the terrifying impacts of an oppressive regime, severe food shortage or the impact of a catastrophic event: flood, fire, earthquake, or hurricane. Sometimes, we move great distances to new cultures and new families. Whether we have moved recently or have lived in one place for generations, we are constantly adapting to the changing world. With change, we are given the opportunity to see things through new eyes. And what we see can be overwhelming. Over time humans have evolved to live in community, recognizing the adage of ‘safety in numbers’. However, as our population has grown, rather than safety, a sense of isolation and separation is pervasive. Climate change is the ‘symptom’ that expresses the culmination of many years of unmitigated physical, emotional, cultural, economic, and environmental stress. Collectively, we humans have placed our planet and our communities at risk. Our footprint is heavy and massive. Open pit mines extract oil to fuel the trucks that bring us our food and the metals for the devices that connect us to the world wide web. Deforestation is undertaken to make way for intensive housing or the agriculture that grows our morning beverage. Yes, some of us are making choices to lighten our footprint. No, we cannot go back and live in isolated caves.  It is not that we need to stop all mining and other extractive industries, but we do need to proceed with extraordinary caution and that may limit or even prevent the future of all manner of different activities. The technology we appreciate; driverless cars, cell phones, nuclear medicine has much to offer. However, profit can no longer be the driving force.  The impact of the method and scale on society and culture, on the environment, and on our justice system must be given more than just a cursory glance. Economic benefit can no longer be the only driver for decision; with the extraordinary financial capital and privilege accruing to so few. Human being’s technological advances and the resulting effects of our changing climate offer an opportunity to open the door, invite everyone in. Let the disruption of climate change return to our collaborative roots. Solutions will not be found through the work of one company, one wealthy philanthropist, or one government, however well intended. At the core, the path forward must be the work we do together. Individuals and communities are being called on to draw out and share innate ways of knowing. The result will be stronger and more inclusive decisions. And perhaps a better world for everyone walking on this, our only planet.


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