There’s so much going on in the world I need to clear my head. Driving away from town I take a bumpy dirt road down to a beach where not many go. From there I walk through the dunes to the open sea There is nothing but sea and sky between me and Antarctica.
Walking along the beach I collect scraps of plastic thrown up by tide. I find a beer bottle with a Chinese label. The lid is still on and there is still beer inside the bottle. I figure it must have washed off a fishing trawler somewhere out there in the Southern Ocean.
I stand and watch the waves.
Beyond the horizon big trawlers from across the globe ply the waters – who knows how many are out there and if they are fishing sustainably. Three miles off-shore an oil company is doing exploratory drilling for natural gas. I’ve signed a petition against it but right now Big Oil rules the waves. Beyond the rigs the Sea Sheppard vessels will be harassing the Japanese whalers as the whales swim north to calve. Closer to Antarctica the sea will be choked with melting ice bergs that have broken off the continental ice sheet. Recently I read Antarctica is breaking up faster than the scientists anticipated.
I stand watching the waves and am overwhelmed with sadness for the state of the planet. Doom and hopelessness engulf me as I think of the whole sorry mess of species extinction, climate change and seas full of plastic while governments besotted by the dollars handed out by global corporations stand idly by. Dystopian images of death and destruction gleaned from movies, news reports and bleak contemporary fiction flood my mind. Everything seems pointless.
I take deep breaths to calm myself. The Om of the waves as they lap the shore soothes me and my heart opens to the beauty of the moment.
As I watch the sunlight sparkling on the waves I glimpse alternate futures where the ingenuity and resilience of humanity gathers strength – futures where ecological awareness blossoms into understandings of the interconnection of all things. I see futures where harmonious and creative ways of living evolve into cohesive social structures where all people are respected. I see the Earth regenerating and ecological balance being restored.
As I stand and watch the waves it comes to me that this is a pivotal time. No one can possibly know exactly what the future will bring. I, like every one of us, now face a choice. I can let myself be swept up into the mindset where all hope as gone or I can learn to surf the waves.