As 2012 begins, we witness a world in the throes of transformation. There is nothing particularly new about this. The contemporary world, born out of the great revolutions of the modern era (the American, the French, and perhaps most of all the Industrial), exists in a state of perpetual transformation. Very little seems to last very long – ideologies, heroes, empires, fame, businesses, wealth, corporations, biases, and political movements. As inevitable as transformation may be in contemporary culture, its current pace and depth is stunning.
There are no permanent perches. The earth is moving under our feet — similar to those Ohio earthquakes linked by some to fracking, that increasingly suspect method of extracting natural gas. The transformations thundering around and about us are only hinted at by the fracking metaphor. There are other more dramatic transformations shaking the world and its current makers and masters. We are thinking of Canadian Tar Sands and the Keystone pipeline, ever intensifying global warming and climate change, glacier and polar icecap melting, and species extinctions occurring at a 20,000 per year clip. We are thinking of widening income disparities and destructive political gridlock in the United States, the occupy movement, the Arab Spring, the plight of the bees, white-nose disease among bats, the decimation of the world’s fisheries and the desertification of our oceans. Bill McKibben’s prescient recognition of the end of nature over twenty years ago seems ever more sage today. Is it too great a metaphorical stretch to suggest we have fracked the world? We certainly have transformed it.
A FUTURE BUILT ON THE PROBLEMS OF THE PAST
As we look ahead, through the dross and glare of the debris field of the recent past, we see peril and promise. Perhaps the greatest peril is ignoring the promise – or maybe just not recognizing it. We find that too often, well-meaning change-agents focus on peril, the debris field of modernity’s past, frustrating their own precious energies and wasting their capacities to inspire with tired rants of doom and blame. Why not look beyond that worn out style? Why not re-tool, re-focus, re-think. It really is not too late – but it does get later by the minute.
This bears repeating: 2012 is not too late. The promise is as great as our vision, and as near as our next breath. Don’t stop now our breathing says to us. Don’t stop now our mother earth says to us. The promise is a future where the fullness of thought and concentration of labor is directed to new and renewed efforts to restore and reestablish sustainable ecologies — ecologies of nature, ecologies of culture, and ecologies of economics. For us, the focus is on Florida, but our mission includes our nation, and our vision includes the whole world. We are all in this together – whether we know it or not.
MOVING FORWARD WITH A POSITIVE FOCUS
We are convinced that our focus, mission, and vision allow identification with a positive future as imaginable as any of the negative scenarios that some mistake for Truth. Clinging to those negative imaginings all too often leads to inertia. We affirm the vision of a positive future as elemental to inspiring the mental and physical work necessary to reestablishing a sustainable world.
We have been cautioned by some that 2012 brings “the end of the Mayan calendar,” and with it apocalyptic speculations. We will forego those cautions, and reject those speculations. Apocalypticism has been around for millennia. It predates the Mayans by centuries. It is nothing new. What might be new, however, is seeing in the year before us an opportunity to devote our energies to genuine transformation — reestablishing a healthy world and joining in the process of creating, recreating, and co-creating sustainable systems for all that lives, desires to live, and works to keep on living. Ecology Florida welcomes that transformation and encourages all others to welcome it as well.