The Industrial Revolution could best be described as the adolescence of humanity. It was a time of discovery and endless possibilities for our future, a future built upon choices made at that critical juncture in our development. We had many successes of which we should be proud. However, like most juveniles, it was also a time of rebellion, defiance, chemical experimentation, and our first kiss from industry — the one our mother warned us would betray us... but we were fools in love, living only for the moment.
What would the world be like today had the “Titans of Industry” looked for industrial solutions in natures 3.8 billion years of R & D? What if they had collaborated with those in the sciences to evaluate the long term implications on climate, ecology, and our true anthropological needs before moving products to market? What if European exploration had been for cultural exchange and the study of sustainable practices of peoples which had gained an intimate understanding of their lands over millennia? And what if the answer to the climate crisis lies in reimplementing aspects of those practices and cultures now, in combination with technology developed through biomimicry?
As we enter the Anthropocene we also enter adulthood–ready or not. We are out of time. We, like a child of parents with substance use disorder, must be the adults in the family. Our guardians, unwilling to seek treatment for their fossil fuel addiction, have maxed out the family credit and have put us in ecological debt. To resow the roots of our grass will require a grassroots effort through our collective ability to see the forest for the trees – while there are still collections of trees left in the forest to see.
It’s time we listen to Mother.