“What greater unifying challenge than saving the planet for future generations, addressing climate change, restoring the ecological health of the earth, building sustainable economies, and modeling meaning-based prosperity?” (Nelson-Pallmeyer, Authentic Hope, 79)
You know those times when you feel more alive? Like a flash of self-actualization? Maybe you just spent a week with classmates, or camped under the stars in the BWCA, poured yourself into a campaign, worked a day on a friend’s farm, took a trip to a ‘poorer’ country where things felt different. You were committed. You were part of a shared purpose. You let go a little bit. You were exhausted, yet never felt fresher. I love that feeling. I’d like to have it more.
I was reading in the Star Tribune here recently that there are fewer walleye in Minnesota’s flagship walleye lake, Mille Lacs, than at any time in 40 years. I had that familiar reaction I get when reading just about anything these days (including this brutal story on MPR). Alarmed? Quite. Surprised? Not enough. What an odd and awful thing, experiencing tedium in the tragic. I think we understand something about these stories that is not well reflected in our response and that without action, this understanding is soul-deadening. It’s like trying to enjoy a movie when you know you have to leave for the airport in two hours.
There’s a lot of speculation among the prattling class these days as to whether we’re willing to accept fewer creature comforts in order to embrace needed change. Personally, I find that question offensive. I wonder if a better question would be — if we were to really have at it, would we feel more alive?