People prefer not to think about the fact that we’re destroying our life support system. Feeling helpless and scared, we protect ourselves from the awareness that we’re nearing a planetary tipping point, a point of no return for human life as we know it on Earth. This deadening of awareness prevents us from acting in ways that could create a better world, a world where people live in harmony with each other and all of Earth.
Joanna Macy, an Earth activist and Buddhist scholar, proposes that active hope might enable the shift she refers to as “The Great Turning.” While she recognizes that our industrial growth society depends on the ever-increasing consumption of Earth’s resources, with corresponding ever-increasing waste products which get dumped into, around, and on our Earth, she considers this to be an extraordinary time in human history – with the potential to move from an industrial growth society to a life sustaining one.
In her “work that reconnects”, Joanna guides people to acknowledge their pain for Earth and to open awareness. She invites us to release the false sense of separateness and to experience ourselves as interconnected, part of the web of life, members of Earth’s community.
The Great Turning requires that we take responsibility for what is happening on Earth. This entails releasing old structures and enabling life sustaining ways of being to emerge. It involves creating a new world.
In this new world, partnership and cooperation will replace competition and strife, empathy and compassion will replace hostility and aggression, generosity and sharing will replace selfishness and greed, and the power of love will replace the power of force. We will move away from striving toward perfection and aim to grow into wholeness. Rather than disconnection and separateness, we will experience ourselves as integral members of the web of life.
Holding hope for the future, let us join together and help create this better world.