I, like many people am rather worried about the prospect of global climate change and the mass extinction that is currently underway. Environmentalism has been a big part of my life since I was a teenager, and over the last 15 years or so I have come to the conclusion that there is no way our current political, economic and social systems will address the issue in time to avert a disaster. It is a sad position to feel yourself in and can lead to disengagement and a sense of giving up. A sense that there is no hope. I have come to realise though, how very wrong I was.
If the politicians, the scientists and the systems we have in place have utterly failed to act in time, and the structures underpinning society are unlikely to change radically enough to enact a meaningful change, where is this hope? To whom can we turn to help humanity through this crisis? The answer it so obvious it is almost painful.
First though, I think we humans need to accept we have failed. We had a really good stab at it, but since the initial charting of the electromagnetic spectrum we have understood that what we can perceive with our senses is less than one millionth of reality. Of that small proportion of reality we can perceive, we are only aware of how a small fraction of it works. With our human arrogance we think that we understand some part of nature, and that if we control that small part (such as the amount of carbon in the atmosphere) then we can “fix it” and make nature work the way we want. But in absolutely every attempt of humanity to subdue nature, we fail to see the vast quantity of intricate connections to other ecosystems and the subtle changes that end up causing environmental disasters. Even the simple tilling of land for growing food leads to soil erosion. The worst part is that in our arrogance we ignore all the millions of intricate relationships and connections between the animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and everything else in the ecosystem that we do not understand. If we don’t understand it then it can’t be important. But then every week there are news articles about new discoveries that completely change the way we understand these interconnected systems. Humanity’s quest to understand everything through science has been valiant, but it has utterly failed. In our quest to understand we have wrought untold destruction. We have only just begun to scratch the surface of what there is to know, and now we have run out of time. There simply is not enough time left for science to understand the entire workings of the planetary biosphere, and convert that understanding into political and social action in order to avert the disaster we have caused. And to think that we can do so now at this eleventh hour shows yet more human arrogance and that we have learned absolutely nothing from our mistakes. No, I think we have had our chance and have proven that we are not capable of the stewardship of the earth we seem to believe we are entitled too.
So if Humanity can’t resolve the climate crisis, who can? Who has the ability to fully comprehend all the important interconnected systems that support and encourage life on this planet? Who can comprehensively rebuild these devastated ecosystems at a rate fast enough to avert disaster? Who has the power to save humanity from extinction? And who will do this without payment, with no desire for reward or recognition? The answer is simple. I am beginning to believe the way forward is for humanity to accept it’s failure of science, and to once again petition the gods for their help. Stay with me a moment and hear me out.
If we stop interfering with Mother Nature, then the great mother goddess will rebuild all of the devastated ecosystems of the earth with absolutely no input from humanity. And she could do it in record time simultaneously across the entire globe. Without human interference nature would rebuild itself with new ecosystems that act as carbon sink. Grass lands, forests, bogs, and all other habitats and ecosystems would flourish, and the earth’s ability to deal with extremes of carbon output and other pollutants would be restored. It is not just that we humans are polluting the earth, it is that we are also destroying the ecosystems that would have naturally been able to absorb the pollutants. It is death by a thousand cuts.
So what if humanity could do just that. What if we could let go and place our trust and faith in the Goddess to restore herself to beauty, so that we all may benefit from her abundant love? Humans and every other species of life on the planet would benefit alike. Human science, politics, society and other artificial constructs can not, and will not save us. But the goddess both would and could.
For me the next logical conclusion is that as pagans who “love nature”, “worship nature”, “see nature as sacred” etc, is it not our responsibility as devotees to nature, to the mother of us all, to ensure that nature can flourish of it’s own accord everywhere that we can? To return brown field sites to nature and let her take her course. To prevent any further destruction of ecosystems. To let existing ecosystems such as meadows, forests, wet lands and seas all mature and re-grow the intricate relationships and connections that allow them to keep the climate in balance. Those would be the actions of someone who is truly devoted to nature.
There has been talk for a while now that humanity is lacking a story for the modern age. That we have outgrown our existing stories and have not been able to find a new one that will lead us through these dark times. I am beginning to feel that this is the story that we need:
If we let her, the Goddess will save us.