I recently spent a week around the desert and red rocks of Central and Northern Arizona, and ended up at the Grand Canyon, an incredible example of what stone and water can do if given enough time. From the lip of compressed rocks, high above a river that’s carved dirt for millennia, my decades are a blip.
We can’t reclaim life as it was when the Canyon was wet and forested. We can imagine what it might become if we don’t get industrial emissions under control, and the National Park Service has begun warning visitors about the impacts of climate change on sites like the Grand Canyon. But not all of those impacts have arrived yet. That’s a good thing.
Where we actually live our lives is in the present. Here is where we get to choose how we interact with each other and how we manage the resources we’ve found around us and have developed to suit our needs, wants, and dreams.
One of the reasons that deeply transformative change seems so distant sometimes is because we projected it out into the future. We know we’ve never achieved the balance we want, and we rightly recognize that manifesting it now is a huge task, so it seems safer and a lot less drastic to say, “The next generation will change the world. Not ours.”
“When the next President is elected, we’ll be able to get more done.”
“Can’t wait for heaven; there’ll be no injustice there.”
“We can only hope.”
These are all statements that function as an escape valve: they release the tension of living in a world that doesn’t work for all. If we’re not on the frontlines of impacts, we can call for moderation and patience. And we can defer our own responsibility to act today because someone, somewhere, at some other time, will take care of it.
Concentrate your energy, attentiveness, and creativity on today.
Be here now. Our greatest power is in the here and now.