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Culture Change print magazine issues: 20  19  18  17  16  15  14  13  12  11  10  9  8  index

Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

Fact Sheets
Press Releases

Long Distance


Wake up to Gaia!

by Susan Meeker-Lowry

A couple of days ago the local radio station reported on a recent study on the impacts of global warming in New England. It was so disturbing I havenít been able to get it out of my mind. What stood out in the very brief news report were three statements: A hundred years from now Bostonís climate could be like Atlantaís is today. Snow could be a thing of the past. The white pines and maples could die out.

I live in Fryeburg, a small town in Maine just over the New Hampshire border in the White Mountains. White pines and maples are everywhere, along with oak, birch, beech, and numerous species of fir. I grew up not far from here, in North Conway, New Hampshire. I love these mountains and the crystal clear streams and rivers that abound here. The view from my back yard is drop-dead gorgeous: fields and a few stands of young birch and white pine, then more fields and then, rising in the distance to the west is Kearsarge Mountain, a rounded triangle topped with a fire tower that is easily seen on clear days. If I wake up early enough, Iím treated to what is called alpine glow - an otherworldly red/orange/pink light that seems to emanate from the very heart of the mountains. I am blessed to live here in what must be one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

The thought that in a mere hundred years all this could be so changed as to be unrecognizable except for the shape of the mountains, that my great grandchildren may not have the opportunity to frolic in snow or jump in piles of fallen red, orange, yellow, and burnt orange leaves fills me with a sadness I canít shake. I ask myself how anyone could hear that news report and then simply go back to whatever they were doing as if it was just another piece of information that wonít impact them. In fact, when the announcer read the report he paused for a moment afterwards and then said, as though to make himself feel better, "Well, none of us will be around then." I feel as though Iím in mourning and time, that healer of wounds, can only make it worse.

Global warming isnít a new concept for me. Neither are deforestation, pollution, biotechnology, genocide, corporate dominance, or any of the other very real issues that face those of us living in these times. Iíve been an activist for many years and have, at one time or another tried to make a difference in each of those areas. Pointing out the problems is important, and Iíve done that, but Iíve also focused on alternatives to the status quo, specifically economic alternatives - small-scale, ecological models for land ownership, business creation, money and financing such as land trusts, co-ops, revolving loan funds, co-housing, community currency, and community supported agriculture (CSA). What is missing from most of these models, however, is a conscious awareness of our relationship with Gaia: the Whole Earth Community - the land, trees, mountains, rivers, all species who share the Earth us. Most of the projects were created to correct social and economic injustices -lack of affordable housing, banks that red-lined poor communities and neighborhoods where people of color live, and lack of financing for small businesses. (The exception is CSA which has an incredible potential to bring diverse people together on the land: farmers, consumers, children, teachers, and artists all working together to nourish themselves and the land and the cultural dynamic of the local community through seasonal celebrations, fairs, participation in farmersí markets, and so much more.)

The idea that human beings are impacting the Earth to such a great extent that whole landscapes will be altered beyond recognition is untenable to me. And while I know that any changes I make as an individual will have little impact, I cannot accept that things are as hopeless as they seem. Or rather, I cannot accept that thereís little I can do about it so I might as well give up. Instead, I put my trust in Gaia. Knowing that the life force that flows through trees, insects, fungi, birds, and Kearsarge Mountain is the same life force that flows through me provides comfort and hope. Thereís power in our connection with Gaia, with all of life. Power that is stronger than the politicos in Washington, DC, stronger even than that of the corporate Goliaths that seem to rule the world. I have to believe this.

The fact is, all the well-meaning projects in the world will have little long-term impact until and unless we change our understanding of what it means to be human, alive in a living world of which we are just one part, one tiny part in a vast, intricate web of life that sings in beauty and vibrates with love if only we would open our hearts to what is real. "We are one" may be a trite phrase and overused, but itís true nonetheless. I believe that the most important act we can undertake in these times is to open ourselves to the relationship we have with the Earth, with Gaia. This will cause a shift in how we see the world and influence our actions in ways we can only begin to imagine. We need to do this as individuals, certainly, and we need to come together in groups to join our energy, our thoughts, our prayers, and our work in the world in conscious integration with Gaia. I trust that we will be given the strength we need to change how we live and to reach out to others, like-minded or not, with love and compassion for our strengths and as well as our weaknesses (for we are not perfect). And I further trust that somehow our conscious participation in the Gaian process of life will have a positive impact on the ecology of the Earth. Remember: we are not alone doing this work, we have the wisdom and power inherent in Gaia - not just on our side but in our hearts and minds, in the very cells of our bodies. We have only to wake up and listen - and act. Will we? I donít know. I just know it is possible.

Susan Meeker-Lowry is the author of

Economics as if the Earth Really Mattered and Invested in the Common Good (both published by New Society Publishers). Sheís a free-lance writer and studying to become an herbalist. Her garden and the White Mountains keep her sane.


Articles of interest:
Measuring and controlling the actions of governments 

Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results. 
WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius 

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.


Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California. Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)

Culture Change mailing address: P.O. Box 3387 , Santa Cruz , California 95063 USA
  Telephone 1-215-243-3144 (and fax)

Culture Change was founded by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit torganization.