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Guest Editorial

It is Time: In Honor of Earth Day

by Blair Gelbond

Edgar Morin, author of Homeland Earth has written:

"We must realize, and make sure others realize that...unity, in this global age, means that we have a common destiny - of life, and of death." This can not be an abstract notion. On the contrary it is the existential reality we are living: “because what is at stake is the fate of a specific planet and its specific inhabitants..."

Increasingly, scientists and scholars are realizing that, along with the degradation of our Biosphere, humanity itself is currently in danger. The reality is that our species is facing a number of very serious adversity factors. Many of us simply sense this on an intuitive level.

These trends, which are expected to come to fruition in the years ahead, include global climate change, the rapid extinction of species, the depletion of critical natural resources, the continuing increase in world population, and the rapidly growing gap between the rich and the poor. These and other major challenges appear to be converging into a “whole-systems crisis.”

I believe that - if we hope to remove ourselves from the endangered species list – we simply must learn to cooperate. This will mean giving up our obsessive, but futile preoccupation with dominating other human beings and Nature. However, it seems likely that this feat may first require that we experience life with our backs “up against the wall.”

We need to quickly recognize the necessity of finding new, sustainable ways of living. An essential part of this process will involve learning to think about humanity (and our planet) as a whole.

To accomplish this we will need to experience a “global mind change” - a questioning of many of our taken-for-granted assumptions and worldviews – no small matter. This shift in our thinking would be, as Morin puts it: "of considerably greater proportions than the Copernican revolution."

The writer is a resident of Watertown who once worked in East Boston.




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