On October 6th I had the privilege of attending the David Suzuki Foundation Blue Dot Tour at The Centre in the Square. Many of the speakers, including our own Tova Davidson talked about our love, as a species, for telling stories. How the stories that were passed down from generation to generation were what made us special and unique, stories that helped us understand our place in the world and our relation to the other things and beings in it.
Our early relationship with the cosmos and our stories about the stars and gods were ways for us to relate to the greater forces that controlled our lives and destinies, to the vast magnitude of the world surrounding us. We were powerless to exert control, except through our shared stories, our legends that helped us make sense of the chaos and predictability alike. But somehow, slowly, our efforts to make sense of ourselves as part of a greater system evolved into the desire to conquer, to exert control over our surroundings. It isn’t difficult to see how disconnected we are from our current environment. We live in a virtual reality now, one concocted by the carefully manufactured belief that we are a superior species; that we deserve to have it all. That we earned it, somehow, through the artifices of hard work, consumer economics, and the desire for ‘progress’. Progress can be positive. It has allowed us to understand our interconnectivity in a way we never imagined before – as David Suzuki noted in his talk, we now know that our atoms are the same atoms that made up the dinosaurs, Buddha and Joan of Arc, of every creature past and present. Progress has allowed us to explore deep corners of the ocean and search for new worlds in space. It’s allowed us to visit and connect with people in every part of the globe, but ironically, it’s also simultaneously disengaged us from all these connections.
The Blue Dot Tour wants us to challenge our cloak of complacency, of easy cheap fuel and food, of disposability, and wants to expose to us the scars we have inflicted on the Earth and on ourselves in the pursuit of these goals. The Earth itself has been asking us to listen – floods, droughts, rising sea levels, melting polar ice, and extreme weather are all cries and warning signs that we are running out of places to hide our transgressions. That it is now time to be held to account by the very forces we fooled ourselves into thinking we had mastered. But it is not time to give up hope, to throw up our hands and wonder if it is even possible to solve what seems like such an insurmountable problem. Rather, it is time to take stock, to marry our innate knowledge of our interconnectivity with the real understanding that everything we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves. That is the knowledge that needs to become the foundation of our understanding of ‘progress’. Time to see and truly believe once again the wisdom of the stories of our ancestors, that we are part of the ecosystem and not master of it. Time to shake off the complacency, and realize that there is power in one. One atom, one person, one community, one action.
That we all become “Ordinary people, doing Extraordinary things”.
Michelle interacting with Blue Dot guests at The Centre in the Square Oct 6th.Great things are happening in Canada and in Waterloo Region. Take action today:
- Join the national movement. Sign the David Suzuki Foundation’s petition to give Canadians the constitutional right to healthy environment: http://bluedot.ca/join-us/
- Lead the local movement. Volunteer with Sustainable Waterloo Region and use your voice in the green community.