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— Address from the Haudenosaunee to Non-Governmental Organizations of the United Nations, Geneva Switzerland, September 1977

A friend sent me a message containing the image above, which was supposed to be a about practicing martial arts in a Gaian way, but when I first glimpsed it a much deeper emotion welled up.

I did not see a woman in the front stance, forward leg bent at the knee, rear leg straight, hips and shoulders square forward.

Instead, I saw a young brave, fist raised towards the setting sun. As in, it is a good day to die.

The welling emotion was the sense of what that feels like — to perceive the likelihood of not only your own demise, but the demise of your entire people and the ways of your ancestors. As a young brave, you can go passively, as in the final walk of a million Jews and Roma to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. You can revolt and try to topple an evil government. Or you can pause, stake yourself to the ground, and write a death song. In reality, you have zero agency over the outcome. That is what I saw in that photo.

Rapid onset climate change, buffered only by the vast heat storage of the ocean, and then only for a short while, is coming at us now with speed and power over which we have scant agency. I say “scant” rather than “no” because I still cling to the proposition that we have the tools (albeit not yet the collective willingness) to reverse global warming and rapidly cool the Earth. We humans have done it before, inadvertently, in the years following the Mongol Invasion of Europe and the Columbian Encounter in the Amazon. We know how to quickly make our planet cooler. We know the power of forests and soils.

That we are still cutting down forests and wrecking soils is what makes us the last of our kind. One can only hope enough of us come to that realization while there is still this faintly perceived sliver of time.

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Written by

Emergency Planetary Technician and Climate Science Wonk — using naturopathic remedies to recover the Holocene without geoengineering or ponzinomics.

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