That’s the good news. The sad part is how badly it’s needed. Global warming, mass extinctions, toxins in breast milk, what’s left to hold on to? It’s easy to get glum about the state of the world. If we’re know we’re in a handbasket and it’s heading in one obvious direction, why even bother getting riled?
Apathy has its place (when facing reality TV or a blustering politician) but not when it comes to the future of the planet. This is our home we’re talking about. And when your home is under siege, you have to fight back.
Fortunately we can do it. The environmental crisis is something we made together, but also something we can fix together, creating a new world that’s healthy, nurturing and just. It all begins right where where we live, which is mostly in the cities.
The environmental crisis used to be about somewhere out there with the loss of precious wilderness areas. Now we’re realizing it’s really about right here, in the greatest and most terrible human invention of all time, the metropolis.
Humanity passed a milestone last year when more than 50% of the population, according to the United Nations, became urban dwellers. In some places, like nature-touting Canada, it’s more than 80%. Worldwide a million people every week add to the city ranks. We are now, and will forever be barring some spectacular catastrophe, an urban species.
But we’re not settled very well yet. We’ve grown apart from our own inner wilderness, our personal contact with the wild, even though it’s still there, coded into our DNA. It surfaces still in fleeting moments: when staring into a campfire, in the eternal rhythm of walking, digging into fresh soil.
Engaged Ecology is the art and science of bringing people back into touch with the land, and thus themselves. We become not simply observers but participants in our own environmental future. We become, in the ways we live, work, shop and play, the designers of the space that will save the planet, the eco-city of the future.
Does this make sense? Don’t overthink, just do. And even if you do get into a mind warp about all the implications and can’t find your way out, hang on. There’s more to come (details to be announced later).