pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
Wendell Berry is a poet, essayist, novelist, and farmer. Some people think he’s a prophet, and I'm one of them. For years, he’s been saying what folks are now beginning to listen to – that we need to look squarely at the damage our ways are causing the earth and ourselves, that radical change is called for, and that we have to start with ourselves and our own communities. Here’s an excerpt from an article originally published in Orion magazine:
The danger now is that those who are concerned will believe that the solution to the "environmental crisis" can be merely political — that the problems, being large, can be solved by large solutions generated by a few people to whom we will give our proxies to police the economic proxies that we have already given. The danger, in other words, is that people will think they have made a sufficient change if they have altered their "values", or had a "change of heart", and that such a change in passive consumers will cause appropriate changes in the public experts, politicians, and corporate executives to whom they have granted their proxies.
The trouble with this is that a proper concern for nature and our use of nature must be practised, not by our proxy-holders, but by ourselves. A change of heart or of values without a practice is only another pointless luxury of a passively consumptive way of life. The "environmental crisis", in fact, can be solved only if people, individually and in their communities, recover responsibility for their thoughtlessly given proxies. If people begin the effort to take back into their own power a significant portion of their economic responsibility, then their inevitable first discovery is that the "environmental crisis" is no such thing; it is not a crisis of our environs or surroundings; it is a crisis of our lives as individuals, as family members, as community members, and as citizens. We have an "environmental crisis" because we have consented to an economy in which by eating, drinking, working, resting, travelling and enjoying ourselves we are destroying the natural, the god-given world.