Good morning…This update has to be a quickie. I’m getting ready to leave the Age of Limits Conference and return to Boulder, Colorado. For four days we have been gathering and conversing on land that greatly resembles that described in Jim Kunstler’s novels, but rather than being set in upstate New York, this land lies in Southeastern Pennsylvania near the Maryland state line.
From my perspective, the most powerful presentation in this conference was the one yesterday by Guy McPherson who shared the truly hard science about climate change and Near-Term Extinction (NTE). The science is more than substantial, to which some conference participants who ARE scientists could attest. The presentation was sobering and, indeed, sad as we all recognized that the only thing that can slow down irreversible climate change is the collapse of industrial civilization. For those in doubt, I encourage you to follow Guy’s other presentations on You Tube and at his blog Nature Bats Last.
Again, from my perspective, most of the presentations at the conference, as with last year’s conference, kept us in our heads with little attention if any to the heart and body. Thus, the grief observance I offered on Saturday night was attended by about 1/3 of the conference attendees and desperately needed, according to them, so that we could do something with the painful emotions that get stirred at this kind of event. In a conversation with Orren Whiddon following the conference, we agreed that I would return next year to not only present a workshop and facilitate a grief observance, but also facilitate process groups every day at the conference where participants can discuss and work through their feelings about what comes up for them in hearing some truly disturbing information. (If you’re not disturbed about the realities of collapse, you are truly not paying attention.) The most sane response to all of this is first, deep grief, and then taking action by discovering our life purpose in the face of NTE and numerous other catastrophes and offering every last gift we possess to the world for the well being (however short-lived) of the earth community
While I cherish the information which we are privileged to receive in conferences of this nature, I am adamant that if we are left with it in the absence of processing our feelings about it, we will be less likely to cultivate our own resilience in the wake of collapse and beyond.
Nevertheless, I invite you to consider attending the conference next year when a few new presenters are likely to appear. Who knows what will unfold between now and then, but if current patterns prevail, there is little reason to expect good news in the world around us. The beauty and blessing of the Age of Limits Conference, however, are the myriad opportunities it offers for connection, validation, and community building while being embraced by some of the most luscious land in the country. I would love it if you could join me there in 2014.
Today is Memorial Day, created many years ago with the intention of honoring the fallen in battle. While we hold them in our hearts alongside the horrors of war, what must also be remembered and cherished on this day is the earth community in which we are innately and organically embedded. Whatever you believe about NTE, which is really of little importance in the larger scheme of things, we are losing this planet by way of the actions of our very immature, uninitiated, unwizened species. If you can, go out in nature today and reconnect with some aspect of it. Hold it close to your heart as you would your child or a beloved. These are the good ole days, and this is as good as it is likely to get.