Judgment day awaits, and it all depends on what we do now

The world is changing in unprecedented ways because of human activity – it's exciting, even exhilarating, but it's also extremely dangerous

judgment dayQUATHIASKI COVE, B.C. Nov. 1, 2016/ Troy Media/ – The environmental decisions we make in the next few years will determine the planet’s climate stability and human destiny for centuries.

Anyone at any given moment in the past could have thought they were living at the centre of history. But it’s not quite true. History changes in irregular pulses – retrospect allows to can see that, analyzing the unfolding events over centuries and millennia.

We live in a pulse of extraordinary intensity. The rate of change – demographically, technologically, culturally, environmentally – is so fast that yesterday almost seems historical. Consequently, each moment becomes pivotal, each decision significant and each act of amplified importance.

We are compelled to such a conclusion by reviewing a globalizing culture that has sped up to a frenzied crescendo, as if everything has accelerated to match the blurring speed of the electron.

Human population has been undergoing an unprecedented explosion. Our greenhouse gas emissions are invoking climate alterations that have not occurred for millions of years. Species are dying in the sixth major extinction in our planet’s history. Our oceans are warming, acidifying and rising.

And all this is caused by human activity, the decisions we make and the things we do. It’s exciting, even exhilarating. But it’s also extremely dangerous.

We need to ponder this and confront what it means for each of us.

Perhaps the first conclusion is that each moment is imbued with a significance that makes us culpable in ways we have never been before. And history will judge what we have done or did not do, individually and collectively.

So the critical circumstances in which we find ourselves vest each of us with a responsibility that has escaped most others in history.

While we will each be judged by our acts of commission or omission, those among us who are most obviously responsible will be our political leaders. They will be judged as no others. At such a pivotal point in human history, we have given them the duty to function with the principled and visionary perspectives that will guide us safely through this precarious time.

The prime criteria for judgment will be the way our leaders address our planet’s environment, probably the most critical element in determining whether civilization functions smoothly or fractures into disarray from ecological stresses.

Is this a simplification of our challenges?

Perhaps. But simplifications are the condensations of complexities that enable us to discern a sense of direction and devise meaningful action. Without simplifications, we get lost in a confusing array of conflicting, disparate and distracting details.

When we are able to review history from the perspective of some distant future, our present and past leaders will be noted for whether they led us toward or away from the environmental dangers now unfolding around us.

Our destiny will determine how those leaders are judged. And how each of us is judged.

Ray Grigg is the author of seven internationally published books on Oriental philosophy, specifically Zen and Taoism. Ray is included in Troy Media’s Unlimited Access subscription plan.

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