A number of folks commenting on my piece The New Living Large Is Living Smallnoted that perhaps we need a precipitating event to pull the world together, and teach us once again how to live with one another. But how realistic is this? While I believe that there is a huge probability that we’ll have even greater calamities in the next decade, wouldn’t the events of the last few years have precipitated such an Age of Aquarius if it were even a remote possibility? I would have hoped that things like the BP oil spill, Fukushima, the criminality that led to (and continues on past) the 2008 financial collapse, or the skyrocketing number of extreme weather events of the last few years could have done the trick.
Others commented that we should expect a leader to rise up and do the right thing. Sorry for the cynicism, I don’t see that either. I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but that won’t be happening in the U.S., unless we can somehow make a few major changes in the influence of money on our democratic process. We’ll need to start with overturning the concept, new to the U.S. as of 2010 via a Supreme Court decision, that corporations have the right of free speech, and can spend as much as they want to influence the outcomes of our elections.
The notion that Big Money will elect a leader who will do anything other than the bidding of the forces that elected him/her in the first place strikes me as the ultimate in terms of hanging our hopes on chandeliers.
And speaking of those chandeliers, I honestly DO believe there is hope that it can become “cool to be green.” Call me a fool, but I think it’s possible that the portion of our population that honestly cares about the quality of our home here on Earth can rise from a micro-slim minority to a significant percent.
Such moves are not unprecedented. When I was a little boy in the early 1960s, my mother and her friends went out to their dinner parties in mink coats. A year or so later, you couldn’t FIND a mink coat in American women’s closets. In a ridiculously short period of time, this entire demographic had realized that the fur industry constituted an unnecessary brutality, condemning lovable animals to short and painful lives. People started to look inside for the first time on this point and ask themselves, “I wouldn’t wear my dog, would I? So why do I think it’s cool to wear this mink/chinchilla/fox/etc?” Literally millions of Americans, and, I presume, people all over the globe got the message: Decent people don’t act this way.
A hundred years earlier, we had abolitionism; a hundred years before that, The Enlightenment, The Age of Reason, and the U.S. Constitution.
Call me a dreamer, but I wonder if a similar epiphany doesn’t wait around the corner.
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