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Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 12:11 am

Planting seeds of what comes next

The Amazon burns, urged on by Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, an elected official who is all-consuming, literally. I do not understand why we continue to elect Neros to positions of power, to lead us into destruction. How many times has our society been at this crossroads and chose to burn it down?

Instead, we can choose to reclaim our personal power, to think harder, and to dream up and design more nurturing ways of structuring our society – more nurturing to the human spirit while also more nurturing to the biological landscape upon which we depend for our existence.

We need to have a national conversation on this reckoning of generations. There is no shame in stepping away from dysfunction. Let us forgive ourselves for what led us to this place. Let’s have a deep conversation about what our species is doing in this world. Is it our ultimate goal to see who can hoard the most dollar bills? That’s not what I’m here for.

I want my active choices to be my legacy. Every tree I plant, every mutually beneficial relationship I forge, I want to be a gift to my grandchildren’s grandchildren, and yours.

While the Amazon and the Arctic burn, we must be careful of where we put our attention and energy. Do we invest ourselves in the confusion, the anger and indignation, the Reality Show that deems itself our national conversation? Do we amplify this ratings-driven performance?

I’m not saying politics is not an answer, because surely, now is a time to listen to what moves us in the political arena, and to vote for what we feel is the best way forward. It’s smart. But it isn’t the only choice at our toolkit.

Actively choosing is a choice. Inactivity is a choice. Passivity is a choice. When we refuse to choose we get artifacts like Bolsanaro. If there ever was a time for social evolution, it is now.

We need to ask ourselves and others what their fundamental values are. Mine are care, equality and abundance. Yours may be different. In our conversation we may find ourselves designing a society, and hopefully one that is not rife with suicide, overdoses, mass shootings, mass incarceration, institutionalized inequality and debilitating poverty. We are so much better than this.

In our collective conversation we may find ourselves evolving, socially. Not growing new appendages, but growing new ways of living, with appreciation and respect of the value of all biological life, including humanity, at its core, with gratitude being our natural rational response to the gift of living in this world.

There is no shame in stepping away from dysfunction. We cannot deny the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. We owe our future selves the gift of dealing with large problems now, before our options become incredibly limited. We owe it to our grandchildren’s grandchildren to put our fabled ingenuity to the task. We must actively choose our focus, and we must focus on what works.

We do not fight against this matrix; we shift it. We evolve past it. Our narrative shifts, new words and concepts emerge, and our social landscape responds. We evolve.

We can’t keep Bolsonaro from burning down the Amazon. But we can actively choose to reforest America. We can reforest Springfield. It is but one small seed in this mighty forest of belonging we plant together. Here we are, planting the seeds of what comes next.  

Carey Smith of Springfield is a writer and a gardener.

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