As the world drowns, development continues apace in South Florida. Developers continue to build up the coastal areas, in utter disregard for the future of their projects. Why would they do this when conservative estimates put much of the currently urban areas underwater within the next century? I think this quote from the New Yorker sums up better than I ever could the state of mind of average people, and why the political will to address problems is still largely absent. An interviewer was speaking with the chair of the University of Miami’s geological studies department,
“As he stepped out of the car, a woman rushed over. She asked if he worked for the city. He said he did not, an answer that seemed to disappoint but not deter her. She gestured at a palm tree that was sticking out of the drowned grass.
‘Look at our yard, at the landscaping,’ she said. ‘That palm tree was super-expensive.’ She went on, ‘It’s crazy—this is saltwater.’
‘Welcome to rising sea levels.’”
I think it’s safe to say that the majority of people are in total denial about what’s going on here. And this says nothing for what’s happening in counties further north, like my own Palm Beach County, where the effects have been present but much more subtle. Working in a newsroom, I see that the big stories, the extended coverage is based not around our changing climate. It’s not on the state’s nonexistent response (our governor is among the most notorious climate change deniers) but laser focused on the very development that spins the yarn that everything is fine, everything will be okay, just take part in the large scale fabrication. Even those who are somewhat willing to acknowledge the problem, like Miami mayor Philip Levine, are still just hoping a new generation of innovative thinkers will bail everyone out. “Thirty or forty years from now, he said, ‘We’re going to have innovative solutions to fight back against sea-level rise that we cannot even imagine today.’” Levine gave the iPhone as an example of something that humans would have thought ridiculous a generation ago.
And you know, maybe he’s right. Maybe the optimist will win and somehow a solution or half measure will come about that we never would have anticipated. It would have to be among the greatest discoveries of human history and it would likely shift the way life on this planet existed for millennia. The most likely scenario, under our current economic system is that any solution would happen as a steep sliding scale. Those who could afford it would have the best while the rest of us get access in degrees. To the victor go the spoils, and all that. And in capitalism, the only victors in the system are the wealthy.
So what does all this mean to people like us, witches, magick users, hedgewalkers? What does a world look like where humanity is allowed to continue apace without reflection on its mistakes? Or one where we’re too busy reacting to be able to ground?
I don’t believe that humans or any other creature inherently deserves punishment, I’d be in a different faith if I did. But I also don’t believe that we should be given a pass for our mistakes, blunders or rapacious greed. Whatever comes in the next century, it will mean monumental shifts for a majority of humanity. It could end up being a population bottleneck, it could lead to our extinction. It’s common knowledge now that the impacts on other species will likely be catastrophic.
As a witch, and an animist, my motivation is to continue to work with the land spirits, as they change, as they die, as they are reborn. I feel like my role as a member of the larger spiritual community that includes the animals, insects, oceans, trees and plants, rivers, rock and more is to honor what was, to mourn for those who are lost but also to rejoice in those who endure or are reborn.
The Age of Endless Expansion is over. The Age of Rebalancing is upon us. For many of us, it’s Tower Time.