I know, I know, I know. It’s dark out there. The BP oil spread (not spill) is like an incubus sitting on our souls, reminding us of how dark things are and what we have wrought. Afghanistan. Iraq. Global warming. Corporate greed. And the clock is ticking. What chance do we have to turn this thing around?
And yet….and yet.
Like Dickens wrote “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…a time of great hope, a time of great despair.” When I pay attention, I’m constantly being reminded of the things that are happening that have never happened before. Good things, that show something might change in a way we can barely dream of. Here are three:
Zack Lieberman (son of my friend and fellow storyteller Syd Lieberman) has found a way to use computers to enable disabled folks and others to do things that seem impossible. Zack says he wants to replace DIY (do it yourself) with DIWO (do it with others). Here’s a video of him talking about his work:
My lifelong pal Dave Kidney told me about a young guy from Vermont (now in Troy, NY), Eben Bayer, who has figured out how to create insulation from leftover plant material (soybeanhusks, peanut shells, whatever) and mushrooms – no Styrofoam, just organic substance created on the site. He’s talking to Ford and other corporations about how to use it in their products. Talk about low impact – here he is talking about that.
Finally , in the New York Review of Books, Nicholas Stern reviews Bill McKibben’s new book, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet and says that despite the dire situation, significant movement is being made towards humanity’s addressing global warming. The governments are moving, albeit slowly, and innovation, like that I mention above, will make a difference. We are being asked to do something together in a way humanity never has before. And people are trying – finding new ways to collaborate and develop.
So, today, I’m not wallowing in despair. Oh sure, tomorrow I’ll walk around with a cloud over my head. But hope is just as reasonable as despair.