In The Hunger Games, the ruling leisure class subjugates their starving fellow citizens, who are confined to several districts, each of which provides an essential natural resource for the Capitol. In an annual contest, a male and a female adolescent is taken from each district to fight to the death in “games” that are part gladiatorial entertainment and part brutal reminder that the government can and will crush any semblance of resistance. Adolescents are chosen by lottery, before which the mantra of the games is broadcast: “May the odds be ever in your favor!” I can’t help but wonder if the odds are in our favor. Let’s take a look at the game board. Economic upheaval. 1% vs. 99%. Overpopulation. (Despite claims by the Duggar family, it’s real.) Political and religious extremism. Irreversible environmental degradation. Looming termination of the petroleum era. The odds seem dicey, at best.
In The Great Work, Thomas Berry wrote, “The distorted dream of an industrial technological paradise is being replaced by the more viable dream of a mutually enhancing human presence within an ever-renewing organic-based earth community.” (p. 201) In other words, your odds, my odds and the odds of all life on the planet are linked.
What’s needed is a shift in pronouns: May the odds be ever in our favor, where “our” includes the 99% and the 1%, documented Americans and undocumented immigrants, Christian children in Iowa and Muslim children in Afghanistan, humans, trees, bees, whales, oceans, and air.
Our odds of survival rise when we see ourselves not as Masters of the Universe plundering every district of life for our own temporary satiation, but rather as one expression of a vast evolutionary story that precedes, exceeds and yet includes us. In that story we do not see things, people, or even the Earth itself as belonging to us, but rather everything, including us, belonging to Life. It is in the service of Life that we can consciously choose to write a new chapter in the history of the emerging Universe, an era in which each of us becomes a fierce practitioner of justice, sustainability, and community.
The challenge before us is immense. Eventually, it will require birthing a new way of being human on the planet. We need more than tinkering with policies and developing a few renewable energy resources. We need a new lifestyle that is simpler, less industrial and more organic, less driven by global corporations and more community-driven. One that respects and synchronizes with Life on the planet.
Where do we start? Once this week walk, ride a bike, or use public transportation when you would normally drive. Replace one supermarket trip with a visit to a local farmer's market.
On a more political note, become an unrelenting squeaky wheel for the cause of a more inclusive and sustainable Earth community. For instance:
- Join the fight to get GMO-foods labeled: http://www.labelgmos.org/
- Learn about Germany's new energy economy, which stands in stark contrast to our antiquated "drill, baby, drill" economy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE3LojVWkrQ
- Get to know your neighbors. Political change happens one human connection at a time.
Will we continue to decimate the very ecosystem upon which our survival depends? Or will we become a "mutually enhancing human presence" for humanity and the rest of our Earth community? Our chances of survival depend on the choices we make. May the odds be ever in our favor!
Please take a few moments to post below your thoughts, suggestions and steps you are taking to move us toward a “mutually enhancing human presence”.