Friday, May 30, 2008

The Hero and Sustainability

It is with rapt fascination I stare at gas station signs at $4.01 / gallon. The words of the Whos in Whoville echo in my ears...we are here...We Are Here...WE ARE HERE. Sooner than anyone could imagine we're tasting the beginning of the next chapter of our lives with this siren call from the gas pumps. (I'm sorry if I abuse all kinds of metaphors but I can't help it.)

A friend over for dinner the other night was discussing the gas prices and how we need a new nationwide 'race to the moon' galvanizing call to action with the goal sustainable survival here on earth rather than a moonshot. As I reflect on the return of Indiana Jones in the summer movie season I remember the attraction and primacy of the hero figure in our cultures. Well, we need new hero's today to help us move towards a better tomorrow. However, we need both epic heroes and everyday heroes.

We need the epic ones to motivate us a nation to do better and make different choices and change our energy usage and other behaviors counter to sustainable values. We need everyday heroes to make difficult choices to change on a daily basis. These unlikely heroes must figure out how to car pool more, turn out the lights, not take car trips to faraway vacation destinations, insulate their homes, grow their own food more often and work together as neighbors, communities and regions to change group behaviors to help us all stabilize the uncertain times ahead.

Our next president and others in the national limelight hopefully can play the role of epic hero inciting us to join together to make the rapid changes our society so badly needs to respond to the continuing unpredicatable energy and economic situation we are facing. My hope is this next President and administration will turn outward to other nations to work together to change behaviors on a giant epic scale. Turning inward only, while initially satisfying and absolutely helpful is myopic and unhealthy. We must both work within our borders and without as the earth knows no such boundaries only inter-relationships and inter-dependencies.