Where Do We Go From Here?

April 27th, 2015


Contributed by Christine St. Pierre

We arrived at a place where the Pacific spills over the San Juan Islands, creating a Sound worthy of an orca’s song, a place where the foothills of the Cascades roll into the salty blue bay and the lush forests breathe deeply, the moisture on their breath covering the sky with low-lying clouds. The word “green” loses all meaning, as the one color has turned into hundreds of shades, differing not by name but by setting—green like the mossy carpet blanketing the forest floor, or green like the fiery ferns basking in a glimpse of sunlight? When the sky changes, so does green, into warmer, cooler, wetter, bluer shades. The meaning of “green,” conceived as the color between blue and yellow in the spectrum, has hatched into a choice. A green path has been planted where highways and byways once led the people; tiny seeds sprout in the cracked, hot pavement and ivy creeps across intersections like eerie fog before a storm. We have an option—we, the inhabitants of this cosmic sphere, villagers of this dwelling—to choose from Earth’s palette our shade of green, or be left with the blackish brown of an oil spill, the deep crimson of life-blood, the startlingly yellow sign that reads “Warning: Toxic Waste.”

We see it mirrored in cinema and stories: the depletion of our natural resources to the point of vacating the planet, retreating to the stars in search of our next cosmic victim. Children’s movies beg and plead with parents too busy to teach their child the folklore of the Earth. These pictures—with a penguin sent on a great voyage to rescue his species and his artic home, or an ambitious robot determined to bring our overweight, dehumanized race back from space—were created by enlightened adults who have realized something very sad: it is too late for grown-ups. Reach out to the children, teach them young and accidentally; turn the television screen into their subconscious and tell them the truth. And the truth is, we are killing them, our children and theirs. After you, I, we die, they continue to exist. They grow, fall in love, create life, and the cycle continues. Who will grow their food once the land has been stripped of every last nutrient? Who will bring them water when our oceans have acidified? How will they breathe when the skies are thickened with toxic fumes? How many species will be a myth, forests will lay on their side, cancers will surface before we come to a screeching, screaming halt?

Friends, family, we are one. The same sun warms our backs and makes the flowers bloom. The waves crashing against the jutting Pacific coast traveled hundreds of thousands of miles to become a sound bite in your dreams, washing away the ambivalence that plagued generations before us. This existence, your existence, is not accidental. You exist on the brink of history because you are a rainbow warrior, a keeper of the peace, and an artist given the task of painting our future. Choose your colors wisely.

Leave a Reply