As the Spirit of the Land conference opens, I feel such joy to be involved with this project. Lately I have been thinking more and more of the our personal responsibility for this land as individuals. Many of us have become so disconnected from the earth and even our own feelings that we feel alone in the mass populace; a generation raised on man-made technology cannot possibly understand the importance of the environment.
Most people spend the majority of their lives in a synthetic environment; they have no idea what it is to watch the subtle changes of their land over the years. City people are used to the constant roar of machinery, of progress, they are not used to the sound of a meadowlark floating on the breeze, or to the soft whisper of a spring bubbling out of the ground.
The connection I feel to the land is something I have always taken for granted, I did not realize until recently that most people do not have the same feeling, my mother Fiona Lauridsen, had to remind me that being born and raised on a farm makes me a minority among my peers and gives me a unique perspective. Most people do not see the difference when their filtered water comes out of their sparkly faucet though the city maintained pipes.
We are trapped into a system of capitalism, consumerism, advert industry… one might even go so far as to say specifically by the oil industry, which revolutionized and shaped the world as we know it. The human species has bought into it hook, line and sinker, and are patting ourselves on the back for a job well done. Recent advances in technology have simultaneously strengthened and crippled us; as Einstein feared, the day that technology has surpassed our human interaction has come, and the world has a generation of idiots.
Exactly when that day came, or which particular generation gets the blame, is debatable, but the point remains the same. Whenever I talk to people about fracking, climate change, or the oil industry, I am nearly always met with the same response; it is the next generations problem to worry about. That is certainly true for my mother’s generation, but now I hear this from people younger than myself.
In only the last 20 years, I have seen this world change in unimaginable ways. One of my earliest memories is looking off our deck feeling as though I lived on the top of the world; it seemed an endless universe, the entire countryside dark and billions of stars casting their light down upon us. Somewhere between then and now, the glow of Calgary on the western horizon stayed long after the sun had faded.. and the stars soon had to compete with the glare of lights speckling the countryside, beacons of progress marking well sites.
The only conclusion I have come to is that it is absolutely pointless trying to beat the opposition with logic. They have the money to buy science and lack the morals to demand truth. I have been giving this matter a great deal of thought, you could say ever since it started happening to my family back in 2005, when I was only 15. I hardly knew anything then, cloaked in youthful ignorance and shielded from the brunt of the by my mother, all the while trying to navigate high-school and the transition into adulthood. These are the most difficult years for nearly every human-being on this planet, and for so many, it is the choices they make in these years that will set the stage for their entire future.
Most people have a vague idea of what they would like to do; go to school, get a good job, settle down and start a family. This is why education is so important, it becomes our life’s work; however, education has largely become more about industry and less about thinking, as Noam Chomsky acutely observed, the education system, like all of our systems, is a disciplinary technique.
I grew up constantly questioning my environment, and never accepting an answer just because someone “said so”. I have found that so many people go though the “why?” phase around age two, then though years of conditioning the question changes from “why?” to “how?” and we become buried in our self doubt and inadequacies.
How do we survive, have enough money, compete with the other 9 billion people, find happiness, find love? How do we make our lives fulfilling and worth while?
These are questions every one asks themselves; the system tells us that you go to school, you get a job, you work hard, you have your 2 children and a white picket fence and a dog and that’s happiness. The problem with our systems is they are designed to maintain control, not promote progress. What I have recently come to realize is that now, more than ever before, we truly have hope for a global consciousness. We need to empower the people to believe that what they do CAN make a difference, and that they can think for themselves, make their own choices, and they do not have to fit into the box society has set for them.
The only way to do this comes back to education. Conscious awareness is what supposedly separates us from the beasts, we need to create a consciousness in our young people. Raise the generation that is ready to say:
We will be the ones to change the world.
We will try to fix our broken systems.
We will be the change because
WE REFUSE TO STAND IDLY BY!
We must remember, there is always a choice. We must realize that to choose to stand together for something greater than ourselves, is to find satisfaction in our souls.
Together we can build a global consciousness.
We must empower individuals believe in the power of their choices.
The change starts within; be the change you wish to see in the world.