I live in the midst of an agricultural wasteland and it's awful...not only is the land dying and the water is poisoned as a result of these agricultural practices, but the people are dying slowly, too and no one seems to care. It has been very much impressed upon me lately that, as the lack of caring stems from a complete divorce from interaction with the natural world and how it functions and we function with it, we need to bring back the initiation rites that Native Americans and innumerable cultures worldwide used on a community level. These rites served several purposes... It was a time for a person to understand their space within the natural world; to ply themselves with nature and understand the unity of all things as they entered into shouldering and sharing more personal & tribal responsibility and cooperation to survive with and within the planetary ecosystem. The knowledge of Oneness provided the Initiate with deep respect and knowing of the sacredness of All Things. Initiation rites also served as a public acknowledgement from one's community that a person had indeed come of age, they had reached a stage in life where they were ready to participate in a more autonomous and responsible way.
How many teens and young adults of university age hunger to be acknowledged respected and taken seriously from their superiors and society, but lack the skills and life experience to garner such attention...it drives them batty and instead they become arrogant, laughable and pushy. We hunger for the recognition, for the Initiation. On top of that, our disconnect from the Natural World produces not just narcissistic self-centeredness and ignorance of how to properly care for our world throughout our life, but it creates a very real and pervasive social sociopathy that leads to fairly rapid destruction of our planet as we are seeing now. Furthermore, it creates a blindness and a lack of caring or sense of responsibility, a failure to believe that we are really pushing it to that point. Not just with "oil"...screw oil (though we truly must use it wisely), how about the trees? It's not just the Amazon....focus is on the Amazon....because we already hacked down our other forests and thanks to every generation being born anew, we have generational amnesia and do not remember our forests because they were never there in our lifetime.
Ohio, where I live, was once 90% forested. Then it was reduced to 10%. It is currently hovering around 30% which is still not good enough. I marvel that it comes as any surprise to people that the winds whip so strong without trees to break them, forming sheer winds and rashes of tornadoes? I marvel that it is a wonder to people that without trees wicking water up from deep in the earth and respiring it out through their leaves, creating moisture and attracting more moisture to them, that the land dries and dies? It was the Brits who planted trees at the top of the great barren mountain of Ascension Island to attract rain to ensure water and food enough for people to live there and have an outpost for the nation in the middle of the Atlantic. We must remember these things and adopt a Forest Economy. They are food, medicine, shelter, and bio-regional, environmental security. We must replant the forests, and not just a monoculture forest as logging companies do, we must remember the innumerable biodiversity from the trees to the understory, to the fungi and the microbes in the soil. We must remember the natural order of succession forests necessary to re-establish old growth forests. There were millions of Native peoples who thrived, and yet they did not decimate the land as we have....Ohio was still 90% forested with old growth when the newcomers found it and the Natives living harmoniously here. We killed them, we took their land in the name of it being "unused" as the Europeans failed to acknowledge any form of agriculture but their own destructive version... We killed the land in the name of development and agriculture, and "progress" and "superiority"...we decimated the bison....
We must undo this. We must. To do so, we must return to the Ways that Once Were. We must emulate the Native practices of wild cultivating the land with permaculture forestry practices and honor the initiation rites that are so important in honoring one's life stages and establishing a deep and spiritual connection with the planet that we are all a part of. How this moves forward I am unsure, I do not know what my role in it will look like, but I do know with every cell in my body that it is these two things that must be done. My family is committed to doing this on our own piece of earth. Will you?
If you are interested in replanting the forests and cultivating abundant and harmonious food resources from them in a sustainable manner that ensures the entire ecosystem not just survives, but thrives, I recommend reading these two books as a starting point:
It is us, through our own personal choices like these, that can change the world and yes, save it from ourselves.