How can we imagine that ordinary people might be able successfully to challenge the overwhelming internal logic of the global economic system because of concern over environmental health?
There is an Ethiopian proverb that when spider webs unite they can tie up a lion. The lion of the globally destructive patterns of production and consumption may one day be ensnared and ultimately domesticated by the gossamer webs of human consciousness and community action. What will happen when ordinary people, whose lives are often mortally wounded by the destruction of the biosphere, come to understand that their wounds are so often intimately related to the wounds of the earth?
What will happen when a working woman comes to a realization that her own breast cancer, her husband’s lymphoma, her brother’s melanoma, her son’s learning disability, his best’s friend’s attention deficit disorder, her daughter’s endometriosis, her niece’s cleft palate, her cousin’s chronic anxiety and panic disorder, her best friend’s severe chemical sensitivity, her best friend’s daughter’s asthma, her uncle’s infertility, her neighbor’s son’s testicular cancer, and her sister’s daughter’s childhood leukemia, may form a pattern?
What will happen when this working woman begins to understand that these new human pandemics, that affect her family and her community directly, may be profoundly connected to what is happening to the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and the animals of the earth?
I believe this working woman will understand that the cancers and infertility of the fish, the disappearance of the frogs, the cleft palates of the mice, the shifts in gender orientation of the birds, the susceptibility to viruses and infections of the seals, the disappearance of the songbirds, — that all this and much, much more may be telling us a story that is also our story.
The story that the birds and the fish and the mice are telling us is the story of InterBeing — the story that all life on earth is truly, breathtakingly, concretely connected right now, and that what we do to the mice of the field and the birds of the forest, we also ultimately do also to ourselves and our families right now.
I do not believe that we can hide from this story much longer. It is among the great stories of our time.
Michael Lerner, http://www.commonweal.org/pubs/lerner/article_extinction.html
The Age of Extinction and The Emerging Environmental Health Movement