February 13, 2011
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I published my essay The Greatest Loss the other day. It had been ruminating since 2005 when I wrote it, forgot about it and recently rediscovered it.
Many people commented on that essay. A friend of mine thoughtfully replied “You wrote this in 2005? So we are already in 2011. Perhaps a part 2 with hope and optimism?”
Luckily, I have friends like that. And obviously this friend knows me well and knows that I am indeed optimistic.
Let me tell you why.
There is an undercurrent pulling us away from the trends mentioned in The Greatest Loss.
The tides of change are upon us whether you know it or not and YOU and ME and EVERYONE IS and WILL BE a part of it whether you know it or not.
Like the potential future I witnessed in Java in The Greatest Loss I am now witnessing an alternative future. One that I didn’t imagine in those days and one I am fully immersed in now.
I can say this with confidence because our numbers are growing. We are collectively shaping that future now in real time and with measured progress.
The behemoth of uncontrolled growth and development is losing strength. Don’t get me wrong. It will not be easy. Not by a long shot. The birth pangs of the new future will come hard to swallow.
But it will happen.
Your choice is to be an active participant OR a bystander that gets swept away by the undercurrent and washed upon the shores of tomorrow caught in a net of ignorance, apathy and inaction.
Make no mistake. YOU have power. YOU have choice. I am making it known and empowering you right now simply by telling you it is so.
Because in my world dreams are only dreams for a short while. Then we take them out of the strollers of our imagination, make them real, give them life, nourish them with action, feed them with hope and prop them up with the fortitude to simply make it so.
We give life to dreams and make them real. Because we can.
After all, when Pandora shut her Box she kept HOPE inside. And HOPE is alive and well. It is time to unleash her and let her run around in our collective psyche and romp around the fertile grounds of our humanity, compassion and creativity.
I can only think of the naiads, hamadryads, nymphs and potent mythical figures blazing the trails through the forests of our infinite human and humane possibilities, working hard and taking action today.
Here are a few examples of those mythic figures personified.
I think of John Johnston and his work with the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA and their attempt to address real issues today.
Callan Bentley rockin’ around the USA with his geology students and showing them the bedrock of their very own foundations and existence.
Zoe Weil at the Institute of Humane Education bringing a new generation of educators to the forefront of tomorrow while transforming schools and what it means to be ‘educated humanely’.
Tom Murdoch taking whatever soul will follow him into a nearby stream in Washington State to witness the miracle of aquatic macroinvertebrates.
Harold Harbert teaching people how to monitor the quality of water with his Adopt-a-Stream disciples.
And let’s not forget the teachers in EARCOS pushing for meaningful service-learning for their students to somehow make a difference, the Global Issues Network students looking for a new tomorrow and starting their own NGO’s at the age of 12- empowering themselves AND their peers.
Not to mention Mike Johnston and Adam Dodge for their efforts in EduCare in Qatar and beyond!
The Malaysian Nature Society for their hard work and determination to bring Nature alive in Malaysia and protect the last shreds of our virgin rainforests.
Lynda and Stan on The Traidhos Three Generation Barge in Thailand setting sail on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok to show communities the value of clean water and protecting watersheds.
Julian and the good folks at Reef Check Malaysia trying to restore on of Earth’s oldest ecosystems.
Yasmin and Dania at Eco-Knights in Malaysia spreading the word through the Kuala Lumpur Eco-Film Festival and all of their other good work.
Teresa Tung inspiring educators all over South East Asia into Service Learning.
Kerry Dyke and his dedication to elephants, wildlife and his passion for getting kids outdoors in Nature.
GREEN Riders with Jamie Raskin and myself riding from Thailand to Bali on bamboo bicycles to raise awareness for sustainability in Southeast Asia.
GREEN Paddlers with me, Dan Magie, James Forsythe and Kerry Dyke paddling around Phuket, Thailand to raise awareness for marine conservation in Thailand.
Claire Psillides and her unending dedication and endless energy to get students in the field taking action.
Laurence Myers and his undeniable optimism and devotion to all things environmental.
Cindy and Wes at Wells International School in Bangkok and their unending dedication to environment, sustainability and service for students.
Cathy Berger Kaye and her passion and endless energy for students and Service Learning.
And these are just a smattering of the people I know and work with personally. The list goes on.
Think of who you know. Or who you COULD know. What you are doing and what you COULD be doing.
It will astound you.
We are all immersed in the sea of Samsara.
You can learn to swim. And that will do for a short while. But I, for one, am building a raft.
Sailing Samsara is much more sustainable.
Are you gonna join us? I bet you will