Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Writing While the Planet Burns or Floods or Dries Up

I write from the Wild-9 congress on wilderness conservation in Merida, Mexico, a few weeks before the world meets in Copenhagen to continue to negotiate an agreement on limiting greenhouse gases. I sense the urgency of our time as I see global warming modify the lives of residents of vulnerable places, coastlines, communities in desert environments dependent on fresh water coming from melting glaciers.

I remember the dark scenarios I brought to this meeting, that the world has crossed a tipping point, that we are engaged in a rearguard action against a frightening monster, the human being, who sends his plastic into the ocean, who cuts down the mahogany tree while his government inspector looks the other way, who cannot see beyond his own needs for food and water and a house. Yet he can learn to accept his neighbor's need for the same things, that his neighbor may indeed be a butterfly or a snake or an elephant, that he can help his fellow being eke out a dwelling, a landscape where he can flourish.