The beginning of a New Year is traditionally used to reflect on the status of one’s life, what happened in the past year, and what one would like to achieve in the days ahead. Many of us wish more of our friends and neighbors might reflect on these things more often. This is usually accompanied by a few, unrealistic resolutions to tackle some problem or work on a new idea or project.
I was intrigued by this (physics) definition of reflection: “Reflection is the change in direction of a wavefront at an interface between two different media so that the wavefront returns into the medium from which it originated.” Wikipedia
This particular New Year, many of us are wondering what happened in 2016, and what is about to happen now. There is a dark mood in the land as an oppressive political administration is about to begin.
There a three major things that I am reflecting upon:
- Our environment is deteriorating at a much greater rate than the computer models have predicted. Much more frequent and extreme weather disasters will be the focus of rescue/rebuilding efforts, and overwhelm government resources. Increasingly, feedback loops are being triggered that result in even greater, more rapid environmental deterioration. This is a global threat and requires a global response.
- The new Republican administration will accelerate the deterioration of our political and economic systems by policies that favor the rich, and destroy social safety nets. There is also the threat of war. There will be increasing assaults on civil liberties, and increasing police militarization. It is likely this administration will actually get in the way of things we need to do to address the environmental disaster.
- Indigenous peoples will continue to increase their power and influence, as evidenced by the worldwide support of the water protectors in North Dakota. Young people will become increasingly involved in political/environmental issues, and engaged with indigenous peoples. At the root of this power is the focus on the spiritual aspects of life, and prayerful, nonviolent action. This is a global movement.
As I reflect on the coming year then, I believe I should continue to seek opportunities to engage with indigenous and other, global communities that bring a spiritual, nonviolent action approach to address our greatest threat–climate change. Doing so will likely result in confrontations related to the current political establishment and the fossil fuel industry. As demonstrated at Standing Rock, and by the civil rights movement, etc, prayerful, nonviolent direct action is the moral, and effective, way to respond. I will continue to look for opportunities to teach and train others in the theory and practice of nonviolent direct actions. I will continue to look for opportunities to engage with others about spiritual matters.
Future generations are counting on us.