When you work on sustainability, you’ve got to confront extinction. The end of human life. All human lives. Your kids. Your kids’ kids. Your kids’ kids’ kids ad infinitum. You’ve got to be able to visualise it. You’ve got to mourn it. The tremendous loss. The emptiness. The absolute silence. No more laughter, no more tears, no more babies crying. No more mothers and fathers crying, for when a child passes from water- or air- or food- borne diseases and pesticides. You’ll be able to see all the possible paths leading to this day of pure human vacuum. The last leaf of human voice. A futile protest. Fluttering…trailing off… ‘but… but….’ Maybe there is wind. Maybe there is no wind. And you begin to unwind it all back to today. And you think of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and you think of “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. And you just stop, frozen, because the last ice age was just 10,000 years ago. And you mouth a cold breath to yourself: how long more? And your heart starts to pound. And you look at the clock on the postcolonial mantelpiece of your mind. And your hands start to move on their own. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. You stoop and you start to do work. You pick up the litter around you. And you start cleaning house. And you understand that your act of mindful work and every single act of house-keeping you do, goes toward sustaining life. Very specifically, human life. And you understand that by your every act you are sustaining all that is so beautiful about us. The babies, our youngs! The songs, the dances, the twinkle in our twirls with the stars and even the quarrels. Even the quarrels. And all the strife. We can overcome our differences. We can bear the pain. We can, because if we don’t, we lose everything. All of us. EVERYTHING. Including pain. And that end zone, there is no pain. There is nothing. And that deadly silence where we no longer exist – is NOT peace. Peace is a state where you reach when you exist to co-exist with another being – joyfully and fruitfully. At this end zone of degradation, there won’t be peace because it is the result of abandonment and neglect. You can’t claim peace if you’ve discarded it, a long long long time before. 

“Tick-tock,” says the forest mosquito.

Poet-Artist EarthKeeper Ranger PEK


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