When I was a eight years old I asked my father why so few Jews left Germany before the Nazis took those remaining behind from their homes and sent them to concentration camps. I could not understand why everyone did not pack up and leave for another country while they had the time.
My father put the book he was reading down and explained it to me: 'The Jews had homes, families, good professions, roots in their cities, they belonged to stable and flourishing communities. They felt safe. They did not even imagine such a horrendous thing could be done. When it did happen, it happened quickly and then there was no time for them to escape.'
A few days later I came back to him to say I still could not understand how the Jews could not sense the noose tightening around their necks, such as when they were forced to be identified by wearing a badge displaying the Star of David. My father replied saying when we look back at things we are able to see a clear picture, but when we are in the midst of a changing situation we cannot see clearly. He told me it is when circumstances are at their most volatile it becomes difficult to consider making changes, because there is no clear path forward. For most it seems safest to remain in the established ways.
I walked away from those wise words childishly determined not to let the same thing happen to me. I vowed to be vigilant and not be affected by change, or to fear making difficult choices. Strong vows for such a little life.
That determination has remained with me, and has become a part of me. I have watched the world, observing the pattern of changes while remaining at a distance from them. For most of my life I have kept these observations to myself, but in January 2011 I could see the direction of the changes moving towards a dangerous place. I began writing this blog in the hopes of sharing my observations with others. Later on I began to write about other matters related to these observations, to encourage people and to show that there is another way to live that is not driven by greed, fear, control and the 1%.
Over the last year I have been unable to see any significant commitment by even the smallest percentage of everyday man to prepare himself for a sustainable future. If I stand in the future, perhaps twenty years from now this is what I see waiting for us - extreme droughts, floods, storms and raging wildfires. I see food shortages and hunger caused by crop failures. I see empty oceans and dead cetaceans. I see rampant toxic algae blooms and severe water shortages in heavily populated areas. I see the spread of plagues such as dengue aided by our wet and warming climate. I see fear. I see control. I see a planet sickening faster than it can be healed, taking thousands of lives with it as it changes into a new world suitable for some resilient species but unsuitable for thousands of others.
This is the holocaust of the 21st century. It has already begun, although millions persist in denying these changes. Who is paying attention? Who is vigilant? Who is preparing to live a life that is energy efficient? Who is preparing to change their eating habits? Who is willing to live in a completely different world where convenience and fast food are not paramount but reducing consumption until we have more efficient infrastructures implemented are? Are you that person? Are you a person of the future? Or are you a person clinging to a rapidly deteriorating present?
To survive our changing world, we must work together, not against one another - hoarding food and building individual bunkers is not the answer. We must share our ideas for smarter living with each other. Our future depends on it. Do not depend solely on scientists and governments to save the Earth and our futures. Rely on yourself and others around you, forge strong communities, learn to grow gardens because it takes time to become a proficient gardener. Be vigilant. Be brave. Share your experiences, your knowledge and your expertise. Learn from each other. Use social networking sites to propagate good ideas. We have many tools available to us, we just need to pick them up and use them.
There are many questions and no clear answers. The whole world lives in a time of uncertainty and great change. Live with the change but do not despair. Humans are capable of great things against the most incredible odds - we have proven ourselves time and again throughout history. Let us not permit the grim future which faces us to become a reality. There are billions of us, we are a powerful army. We can flourish. We can survive. We can win. Even without the answers.
Originally published on Paradigms Bend July 13 2012