(Image from Here)
Hello again folks! Happy Earth Day!
It is with great sadness that I announce that this is my last is my last post on this platform. Pagan Bloggers has been good to me, and I want you all to understand that I do not make this decision lightly. The primary reason I am stepping away is the growing number of projects on my plate. I just can’t continue to juggle all of them, so I have to make cuts somewhere. This platform was on that list.
But do not despair, because I will still writing on other platforms! I will still be writing on my personal blog here. There you can find my writings on animism and other topics. You can also find links to all my publish novels. I am working away on a “animism” manuscript, and working on other projects as well.
As such, I hope that you forgive the plug, but I am also in the last week of crowdfunding my most recent work, called Liminal Worlds. You can find the campaign here. It’s one part cyberpunk, one part solarpunk, with a dash of shamanism thrown in. Consider helping me out, if you feel pulled to do so.
With that all out of the way, I wanted to bring you one last post, a special for Earth Day.
“In addition, there is a deeper and more profound change that is needed. Fundamentally, we believe that a change in spirit is required, one that fosters a new relationship between humanity and other species and Earth as a whole. As Pagans, we believe we are well situated to help imagine and create a future in which humanity lives in greater harmony with the rest of our planet.” A Pagan Statement on the Environment
The quote above was published on Earth Day in 2015, so it is only fitting that we revisit it now, and use it as a jumping point for this discussion. When we as pagans look towards the future, what do we see? How do our beliefs and ideologies inform what world we might create for the future?
I have been thinking about this question lately, as both an animist and a pagan. What kind of world would I build, if given the chance? What flows from my beliefs towards the future, and what are the implications of this?
I touched on a little of this before in my post here but this time I want to go in a bit of different direction. As I have said many times in the past, my animism is a worldview. It is the idea that the world is full of persons, and that life is lived in relation to others. The idea of persons in this worldview is wide, and includes the non-human environment as well as the bulk of what we call humanity and civilization.
We are all living in relationship to each other and to the Earth, and we must think of this in a systemic way. The nations and ecosystems of the planet are intertwined and integrated in such a way that neither is independent of the other. Which means, we must seriously consider our relationships and their consequences.
Which leads me to my first point, that animism implies to me the need for a strong commitment to environmentalism.
If we accept for a second that the world is full of non-human persons, such as trees, animals, plants, rocks, and trees, and that those person live in relation to ourselves and each other. Then it follows that we generally accept that how we relate to those beings matters. When we consider the state of our current civilization, our dependence on fossil fuels, and our relation to the environment, there is a lot to be reevaluated.
A small number of fossil fuel industries are responsible for a majority of the greenhouse gases in the environment. Our entire civilization and its current energy systems are mostly dependent on coal, oil, and natural gas. Our cars, trucks, and trains are powered by refined oil in the form of gasoline and diesel. The same is true of our airplanes and ships, and so there is a lot of room for improvement. In addition, the rate at which we are polluting water ways, cutting down forests, and destroying habitats is unsustainable, and we need to actively work to change these relationships.
You might be wondering how we might do that? Well, there are a lot of ideas and methods out there, I for one am a big proponent of Drawdown, and The Solutions Project. I also think there is a lot of ways to combine renewable energy and sustainable cities with ideas from the UN, the EU, and especially Nordic style social democracy. I personally would even take things a step farther, but I think it also important to consider what is working right now in a pragmatic sort of way.
The technology is there, but what we desperately need now is investment and political will. More than this, if the quote at the beginning is any indication, I also think we need to reframe how we relate to our current civilization. We need a change in spirit, a change in culture, that helps to create a truly sustainable civilization at a planetary scale. I also think that animism, and pagans in general, were tailor made for this kind of work.
A truly sustainable world is in many ways part of our spiritual calling and duty. A world were life is respected and dignified, and environmental rights are just as important as human rights. This is a great segway to the next section.
With persons at the center of an animistic worldview, this comes too with a deep commitment to human persons. Humanitarianism in this way is just as central to my understanding of animism as environmentalism. I think it would be prudent of us as pagans and animists to be on the front lines of creating a world where ALL persons are respected and have basic dignity. A place where people don’t have to go hungry, don’t have to live in poverty, have a quality education , and overall good health and well being.
I stand against all forms of bigotry, whether racism, sexism, Islamaphobia, and discrimination against LGBTQ+ and indigenous people. This is a rising trend in our world today, but especially in America. It seems we have emboldened this kind of thinking, and even gave it a seat in the Oval Office. You may be thinking I am getting too political now, but that is also part of my animism, an engagement with the politics of the day. Even with my small singular voice, I can fight against those that wish to deny respect and dignity to others.
I sympathize deeply with the plights of minority, oppressed, and displaced people across the globe. It is a deep tragedy, and we need to answer the call for a more just and equal world. A world full of bigotry is simply not a world I want, and I for one will stand up for something better.
What kind of world would that be? Well, the short answer would be that it would be a world that is more equitable, more just, and more sustainable. That much should be obvious at this point. In many ways, I believe as Michio Kaku does, that we are in the birth pangs of a planetary civilization. A transition to a much more global world.
We are on the doorstep of being a Type 1 (on the Kardashev Scale) civilization, a truly planetary civilization. According to Carl Sagan, we are about a type 0.7 on this scale right now. According to Kaku, a Type 1 civilization will have access to all the energy that reaches our planet from the Sun. To me, that almost implies a solar (and wind, and water) type civilization. The future as I see it, is truly renewable and sustainable. It is as much a radical change in infrastructure, as it is in spirit, culture, and our economic systems.
But getting there will not be a clean process, it will be messy. It is already messy, full of wars, terrorism, poverty, bigotry, environmental crises and climate change. Getting there will involve dealing with mass migrations, rising risk of fascism, nuclear proliferation, and environmental degradation. We will have to face Climate Change head on, as well as wars throughout the world. There is a very real chance that we might fail, and our survival is in no way guaranteed.
I think we have to try, and the future depends on it. As Kaku points out, we can already see the signs of the first awkward breaths of the world to come. The EU represents a pan-national organization, and holds a lot of ideas for an more integrated and interconnected world. The internet is a Type 1 style communication system. A type 1 civilization would be scientific, multicultural, pluralistic, and tolerant.
The fact is that not everyone wants that type of world. These are the reactionaries, the people that do not want a global civilization, a tolerant civilization. There are people and groups that do not want to respect the basic dignity of others, and do not want to protect the environment. Those like ISIS, white nationalists, even the GOP, do not want to see that kind of world. Some of them seem to prefer the days when women stayed at home, or that we could openly pollute the environment. Anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-environmental; some people simply do not want the world I would.
I could go on an on, because there is a lot I could say about the future I would like to see. But the fact is, realistic expectations will likely carry the day. I am only one person, in a world full of persons. I cannot openly tell you what the future will look like, a dream or a nightmare. The reality is, it will probably be a little bit of both. But if we are honest with ourselves, and what we really want, I see a role for animism and paganism in shaping that future world in a way that is sustainable for all persons.
As always, thank you for reading!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnmmnpj_pX8 – Michio Kaku
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wICF-IEsneo – Planetary Civilization