The legacy of the earth was thousands, millions of years in the making.
As a society, what will be our legacy after a couple of hundred years? As family units, what will be our legacy after from this generation to the next?
The current crop of children – crop in a sense that a gardener or farmer would plant a crop and try to encourage good growth of desirable plants. To a large extent we can blame the current crop for turning out the way they have, being raised in a society that emphasises the individual over the group, the accumulation of possessions over the sharing of resources, the linear wasteful over the circular regenerative, dominion over the earth rather than awe and wonder of mother nature. This has produced a current crop that has a large number of invasive members that are colonizing the earth and smothering the useful plants and animals that we rely on for our nourishment and well-being.
Sadly we (not everyone, but from a whole of society perspective) fertilized this group – our children – with mainly synthetics that were lacking in life enriching stories of our earth ancestors, plants and animals. The stories mainly centred on human ambitions, technological advances and the accumulation of stuff and prizes – winning became an end in itself.
The influencers have not been earth-centred stories but rather the human-centric stories about our mastering of the technology to master the earth, to subdue and dominate. Little wonder that our mixed messages have produced such poor results. The outlook can be perhaps summarized in terms of:
- Identity – who, what do we identify with?
- Success – what are the measurement criteria?
- Saviour – who do we look to in times of desperation for ideas beyond our own?
- Purpose – what’s the point of this endless consumerism?
- Substitutes – what are the replacements for the distractions and busy-ness?
- Legacy – what are we leaving for the next generation to deal with?
- Values – kinship is open to definition, but it needs to include the other than human species?
How we answer and address each of these points will determine to a large degree what comes next.
In: The Legacy: An Elder’s Vision for Our Sustainable Future, by David Suzuki with Margaret Atwood, we are offered the culmination of David Suzuki’s knowledge and wisdom and his legacy for generations to come.
If he had to sum up all that he has learned in one last lecture, what would David Suzuki say? In this expanded version of a lecture he delivered in December 2009, Suzuki explains how we got to where we are today and presents his vision for a better future.
In his own lifetime, Suzuki has witnessed an explosion of scientific knowledge as well as a huge change in our relationship with the planet – a tripling of the world’s population, a greatly increased ecological footprint through the global economy, and a huge growth in technological capacity.
These changes have had a dire effect on Earth’s ecosystems and consequently on our own well-being.
To deal with this crisis, we must realize that the laws of nature have priority over the forces of economics and that the planet simply cannot sustain unfettered growth. We must also recognize the limits of scientific reductionism and the need to adopt a more holistic point of view. Perhaps most important, we must join together as a single species to respond to the problems we face.
Suzuki ends by saying that change begins with each of us; all it takes is imagination and a faith in the inherent generosity of Mother Earth.