The Age of Last Chances

When I reflect on the last year, there’s a certain difficult truth about this age that strikes me. We live in the age of last chances. What do I mean?
We have about a decade, maybe two, left. To stop the intertwined threats of ecological, economic, and political collapse. From beginning to end the world as we know it. Yes, really.

The Age of Last Chances. (Why) 2019’s Lesson is We Have Just a Decade or Two Left to Stop Our Worlds From Ending. Yes, Really by umair haque,, Dec 21, 2019

For nearly fifty years I have tried every way I could think of to convince others of the ecological devastation our fossil fuel based culture is causing. I have failed to do so. The question is whether I never found convincing actions or arguments, or was nothing going to make people change?

My Quaker faith teaches we should live/act according to our beliefs. I know that is a common belief of most people and faiths, probably the one thing all share. I thought if I refused to own a car, others might follow that example. So nearly fifty years ago that’s what I did. Fifty years later, I don’t know that a single person was convinced by my example.

Some indigenous peoples extend living according to our beliefs now, to consider how what we do will affect the next seven generations. If we had done so, Mother Earth would be healthy today. We should take up this concept now, even though it is sad to think there may not be a seventh generation, or a sixth, or…

Myself, I’ve got to get to a place where I can accept what Stalin did to people in the Siberian gulags, the scale of it. This, too, is us. This is what we do. That’s why I told my grandson in the book’s prologue, as we stood over the wreckage of that battleship at Pearl Harbor, “This is what we do.” He had no idea that we killed each other on that scale. But I could say to him, “I love you, and I want you to know that this is what we do. And as you grow, you will see a way to help. And I hope that when you do, you choose that path, no matter how hard it is.”

The World We Still Have, Barry Lopez On Restoring Our Lost Intimacy With Nature By Fred Bahnson The Sun Magazine December 2019

It would have been good if out of the destruction of Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, the ongoing nightmare of apocalyptic fires in Australia, would have finally made people realize drastic measures are needed immediately.

MELBOURNE, Australia — The bush fire crisis gripping Australia is piling political pressure on its government to take bolder action on climate change, as the scorching of vast tracts of forest and farmland amplifies demands for a hastier transition away from fossil fuels.

At rallies nationwide Friday, thousands called for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to resign over what they say is his administration’s passivity on an issue that has hit home to millions of Australians as a clear and present danger. The conservative leader has defended his disaster response after facing criticism from victims and firefighters for its perceived inadequacy.

In Melbourne, close to 10,000 people took to the streets, spurning calls from police and the state’s center-left leader, Daniel Andrews, not to risk diverting emergency resources.

Australia fire crisis fuels protests calling for bolder action on climate change By Kate Shuttleworth, The Washington Post, January 10, 2020

The people of Australia are forced to acknowledge the ramifications of climate change now. Unfortunately there are no easy or quick solutions.

How do we get people to recognize we are in the “age of last chances”? This is it? Now?

My fifty years of walking, running, bicycling while automobiles spewing toxic exhaust travel past me makes it seem nothing can kick our fossil fuel addiction.

Everywhere people ask, “what can we do?”
The question, what can we do, is the second question.
The first question is “what can we be?”
Because what you can do is a consequence of who you are.
Once you know what you can be, you know what you can do.

Arkan Lushwala

The end of the world, it turns out, comes on a strange, surreal scale — anywhere from a sudden catastrophe, to a long, slow apocalypse. That is why this age is so hard to process. History isn’t just at one turning point — it’s at a collection of them, each different, yet each the same, too. Either we turn back — or we continue marching towards ecological, economic, political, social disaster. If this age feels so strange, dislocating, alienating, troubled, perhaps that’s why: when else has so much been decided in so short a time, in so many different ways?

The Age of Last Chances. (Why) 2019’s Lesson is We Have Just a Decade or Two Left to Stop Our Worlds From Ending. Yes, Really by umair haque,, Dec 21, 2019

The closest thing to an answer that I’ve seen was the example of Standing Rock. The prayers and nonviolent resistance not just there, but prayers from people all over the world. The people knew “what can we be?”

However this all evolves, what we do know is we have to build Beloved communities, to live as best we can as we walk into the future. To do the best we can for our children, and their children, through, hopefully, seven generations.

We have to learn “what we can be.” Then we will know what we can do. Fifty years of hoping people would learn that, and seeing so few who have, makes me reluctant to believe change will happen. Waiting longer is not an option now. We are now in the Age of Last Chances.

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