Recently I’ve found it difficult to access a sense of where I am in time and space. I know, this sounds a bit dramatic, but what I mean is I’ve always had an innate sense of where we are in the year and somehow this has been disrupted. I can’t seem to locate myself the way I once did. It’s the end of April, but somehow it doesn’t feel like the end of April. There’s a confusion, a type of disconnect I’ve never felt and I attribute it mostly to how earth’s climate has changed, or rather, how we’ve changed earth’s climate.
I live 10 minutes away from where I grew up; this is my homeland. While I lived outside of the city as a child and live inside of it now, I am close. Close enough to be familiar with the crisp mountain air on either end of a day, close enough to brace for pockets of unpredictable weather, close enough to know the brownish tinged landscape after our long summer days and close enough to know the times of year where the only pattern is a lack of pattern. I’ve got the familiarity and knowing of someone who has lived a long time here and somehow, despite my lack of ability to explain it, things feel off, to many of us. And science confirms it.
So what do we do to fix this? I believe the beginning is a commitment to relocate ourselves in our landscapes again and again, refusing to stop even though it is becoming uncomfortable at times. It is listening and digging and learning what we can do to mitigate the damage that has been done, both on personal and broader levels. It is investing time and effort and money (whatever we can contribute) to limit what we consume and amass, instead looking for ways we can give and grow and preserve. For some of us this work is calling upon our governments to protect our land, our water and air, to divert resources toward supporting our ecosystems with a fervor that has historically been reserved only for industry. For all of us, it is a call to let go of the consumerist ways we have been led to believe are true. Buying things will not help you. Nor will averting your gaze or attention.
Connecting to the land you live on will help, it will help in innumerable ways. Walk in the nature you live within. Observe. When you are present and aware of the land that supports and nourishes you, aware of its own life force, it becomes much harder to make unconscious and harmful decisions. When you learn the history of the space you inhabit, you’ll likely be drawn to learn about the people who came before you, connecting and repairing the relationships that have often been severed and, in the best case, rediscovering, remembering and sharing valuable knowledge that can sustain us all.
I don’t know if it’s too late for humanity on this planet. I really don’t. What I do know is that every marker of true quality of life on earth is reflecting the need for change and the passage of time will likely intensify this. Each of us must decide what this means for us, but it all begins with locating ourselves.