Saturday, January 16, 2010

Career Opportunity: Spaceship crew

Whatever path you took to get here is forever in the past. Your choices and your actions all combine to make you the unique and amazing person you are today.

You had some help though. Take a moment, thank your ancestors. A great biological and ecological heritage has been passed down to you through the ages.

Like your ancestors before you, you are the temporary steward of the only planet in the universe that we know supports life. Remember this, and act accordingly.

Tim Flannery, in his book Now Or Never describes 21st century humanity as the consciousness of the earth. Gaia's brain. Gaia's self-awareness.

Human brains are chemically expensive for us to operate. At 2% of our body weight, it uses 20% of our oxygen and 25% of our glucose. They're worth it though.

Like our brains, and as a fair payment for being the species that is in charge of things around here, we are reasonably entitled to more than our share of the resources. We're steering the ship, and we certainly know how to get the resources.

With that payment of resources comes the responsibility for us to take care of the life support systems on this planet. After all, a brain can't survive without the support of lungs, kidneys or a heart.

Being the brains doesn't make us king around here. Instead we're the custodial staff and the maintenance crew. We have to anticipate and fix the problems. We are paid in clean air, fresh water, and in nourishing food.

This is one of those careers we just slipped into. We made this job for ourselves, in the same way that we traded the relative freedom of a hunting and gathering lifestyle (also known as the Garden of Eden) for the security, prosperity, and hard labour of agriculture about ten thousand years ago.

And now Spaceship Earth has us as the crew. We're all in this together.

The past is over. We can't change what we've done.

In the present, you're reading an article by someone who's both terrified and hopeful for our collective future. You're developing a sense of the scale of the problem we face.

In the future though, someone's going to ask you what you did during the crisis. Make sure you can feel good about your answer.

As a reward for reading this far through the column, you've just been promoted. It's going to take everyone working together on this, and you will be called upon to lead others.

Your instructions are as follows: Listen carefully to your heart. You already know what you need to do. Recruit help. That will make it easier on you and magnify your impact. If you find your heart is speaking too softly, visit for ideas.

You might also like:

Do you fix it?

Crisis of Culture

Don't give away the ending

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