I’m not talking about shaking hands with the beast with seven heads or airmailing red calves to Jerusalem or sending Kirk Cameron on a mission to sniff out the Antichrist. When I say we’re living in the end times, I’m referring to what everyone who can stand to watch CNN for more than a few seconds knows all too well. California and Russia burn, New Orleans and Pakistan and Australia flood, summer cruises through what used to be the polar ice caps will soon be bookable through your travel agent. There are too many people living on this planet, and some of us have been living too well.
Remember when Dick Cheney said that the American way of life was not negotiable? I’m pretty sure he meant for the Cheney family. Here and abroad, the rich are bearing down on the poor, to make sure that what’s left stays in the right hands. And the poor are catching on.
When I think about this stuff, the muscles in my neck freeze up. And I’ve been thinking about it for years. Maybe you read James Kunstler’s blog on Monday mornings, too, and every word that Bill McKibben uttereth. Maybe Clive Hamilton is your go-to guy, as he is mine, and Michael Ruppert seems crazy only some of the time. Maybe, like me, you recently reread Albert Camus’ The Plague and sit down every day, as Carolyn Baker advises in Navigating the Coming Chaos, to let your grief wash over you. Maybe, in spite of everything, you can’t accept that your kids’ lives will be hard, that all the inoculations, tuition payments, library books, cupcakes, and musical instruments you provided won’t keep them safe on a used-up planet.
Today I’m holding on to those who are still alive under the rubble in Sendai and environs, or on some half-navigable road trying to get out of the range—whatever that might be—of radioactive fallout. I hope they have some sense of not being alone, of being part of one suffering world. I hope my compassion and yours reaches them. I hope they and their children survive.