Parenting in a Collapsing World

We are living in a state of biosphere collapse.IMG_1694

The Sixth Mass Extinction.

The last great extinction event, which occurred over 250 million years ago, saw the loss of 97% of the earth’s ocean species and 70% of its’ land species. They say it was likely caused by volcanic gases trapping heat in the atmosphere and causing temperatures to rise beyond the habitat required for life.

This time, we are the volcano.

Since the industrial “revolution” began, we have been gleefully pumping the same greenhouse gases which the planet had managed to sequester back into the ground through the incredible process of photosynthesis, and pouring them back into the sky.

Idiot children. We thought to become as gods, and now it’s our turn to be expelled from the Garden of Eden.

If only we would stop believing the faerie tale of our own seperation. If only we would remember who we are. If only we would remember what our stories mean instead of quibbering over them like children on a playground.

Once upon a time, the root mass of living, breathing forests stretched underground across entire continents. Indigineous peoples practiced eco-forestry, “forest gardening”, as a functional part of a living ecosystem.

That is our niche.

We evolved to be the shepherds and managers of ecosystems. It is why we sat around our fires and told the story of a God who created us to name and care for all of the animals, to ‘have dominion’ over the earth.

What a shame we turned ‘have dominion over’ into ‘use as you please’. What a shame we use the stories of our ancestors in such twisted ways.

Having long since forgotten what it means to be a functional part of an ecosystem, we have spilled out of our niche and overrun the earth like a parasite. We burn the bones of our ancestors in the bellies of our cars, as we drive to a premature end on the roadway of consumption.

Why are so few of us awake? Why do the masses stumble around, enslaved to our created god Economy, drugged by disconnection masquerading as conveniences. In the words of Deb Ozarko “We are the zombie apocalypse we fear so much.”

I believe we all feel it. There’s a reason every other person you talk to is on antidepressants.

Is this the fault of the individual? We are born into a broken system.

But every day, with every decision we make, can we not choose to participate in that system or create an entirely new one? Apathy is not an excuse for statis, but part of the cause. There is a reason we tell stories of a God who hands out mercy for guilt we cannot seem to assuage.

We have long-since forgotten the truth that in every single moment we have the opportunity to be ‘born again’. To see the reality of our oneness with everything. To drop the flawed perception of our seperation. To see that we are the creator in our own stories. That we are not this ego. This story. This name. To see that non-duality is the structure of everything; that consciousness begets matter and one infinitely dissolves into the other. To see that the energy which is us is no different than that which is the tree, or the deer, or the living, breathing planet. To see that when we rape and pillage the earth and other sentient beings, we are doing so to ourselves. And when we see this then, like Krishnamurti says, we can change in an instant.

In an instant. In this moment. With the choices we have before us right now.

How will we choose to live on this planet?

Will we learn again as a species how to fulfill our biological niche and participate in the creation of a healthy biosphere?

Looking around today, the answers seems to be no. We have barely danced around the edges of a systems change thus far. And even if we had one now, today, the cry is from all corners of the globe: it might already be too late.

We may be the ones to witness our own species join the millions of others in extinction.

Us, as in our generation. As in our children’s generation.

But when did life ever come without death? We have been dying since the moment of our birth. All of life leads to death. Death of the individual. Death of the species. Death of a planet.

We are all stardust, and we all end up as stardust in the end. Just because we are a wave for a moment, does not mean we don’t all roll back into the sea.

Should we then just roll over and die? It would be so easy, wouldn’t it? To be even a little bit awake in our collapsing world is to face crushing depression. On a deep, visceral level, we all feel the pain of where our collective choices have led us.

Perhaps we should all just refuse to procreate, and let our species be stamped out as a failed evolutionary experiment.

We could do that. But why? When was the future ever promised to us? Did we have children under the impression that they would never die?

Life is participation. It is energy interacting with itself in a motion which our senses interpret as matter.

So how do we choose to participate? Do we choose to participate in murder and destruction, in enslavement of other beings, in enslavement of ourselves to the trappings of a collapsing human society?

Or do we choose to create something new. To create it today, whether or not we have a promise of tomorrow. To create it because to not do so would be to die having never really lived anyway.

If there are homo sapiens left after our population contracts, they will need to find a wholly different way of living. Those humans will be experiencing the climate affects of industrial civilization for tens of thousands of years.

Rather than simply refusing to procreate, why don’t we instead create a new kind of human. A human who is unconditioned by industrial society. A human who is capable of living differently on this planet. A human who is not affected with seperation-sickness.

First comes unconditioning ourselves.

It takes a lot of humility to take apart everything that is familiar, everything we thought we knew. But take it apart we must.

We must take apart our ideas about everything. About food–what to eat and how to obtain it not only without harm, but with benefit to ecosystems. About the nutrient cycle and how to manage our excrements and how to interact with water. We must take apart our schools and our gods and our churches and everything which currently conditions subsequent generations. We must take apart our ideas about conveniences and electricity and what constitutes a civilized life. We must take apart our ideas about who we are, and how we can affect the world around us.

We can take it all apart now, or our children will be left with the pieces.


One thought on “Parenting in a Collapsing World

Add yours

  1. Wow. Thank you so much, this is powerful. Far braver and more straight talking than I have dared to be. In my recent posts I have been trying to open this conversation but have not been as honest and plain as you are here. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


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