I woke this morning to the sound of aircraft approaching Heathrow airport. As I lay in the guest bed of our friends Dermot and Suzanne who live near the Thames in Old Isleworth, I reflected on my return to America today, my “Carbon Footprint”, and my experience of the past six weeks. Yesterday Claudia and I flew to London after spending five days in France with our ageing parents who are struggling with the challenges of managing health issues while trying to maintain their independence living in the rural countryside of Southwest France. It is humbling to witness two people in the latter years of life knowing that someday (should we live long enough) we will be facing our own set of both challenges and opportunities as we grow old together. It is clear to me maintaining good mental and physical health is key to maintaining quality of life in the latter years as well as cultivating and maintaining a good sense of humor along with kindness and a generous spirit. Thinking back to my time in Findhorn and the four weeks I enjoyed there I remember a community where people lived intentionally with open hearts, kindness to each other and in the spirit of collective generosity. My last week of the EDE program was the World View module where we took a close look at perspectives and belief systems that have shaped humanity and our world since humans walked the Earth. We explored “Spiral Dynamics” as a model for understanding some of the human perspectives and resulting behaviours. We also explored the geological timeline of the universe, the evolution of planet Earth and the dramatic effect humans have had on the ecology of our planet in such a very short time. The World View module is a valuable week of learning and immersion into the current state of affairs on our planet revealing with utmost clarity the critical state we are in with respect to whether or not we survive as a species. It becomes very obvious that major shifts in collective values and how we humans see ourselves in relationship to our planet are required and soon if we are in fact to survive. The last two days of the module were spent on Transition Town Training giving us tools to implement a useful model for facilitating a more graceful transition from our current reliance on fossil fuels to more sustainable and healthy communities. Having an awareness that for all the people currently living on planet Earth toe enjoy the same lifstyle as present day North Americans and Northern Europeans would literally require the resources of 5 planet earths makes it clear to me at this stage in the game we may or may not pull it off (survival that is) and, as far as I am concerned, effective collaboration to find and implement solutions to the challenges that face us is really the only game in town.
Teryl Chapel November 17 2012