Reasons For Hope

September 24, 2013

In spite of the technological juggernaut that seems to be rolling over our natural heritage and human heritage, there is a growing army of bright people with good hearts riding to the rescue.

Beginning with the 20th Century, the great age of oil has dramatically changed politics, economics, science and demographics on a global scale. This has been a wild party that has benefitted humanity unevenly. It has also caused great disruption and destruction of the natural world. The deposits of 50 million years during the carboniferous era have been pumped out, burned and significantly depleted in a scant 100 years.

We are now in the “Anthropocene” era. Sea, land and air are all negatively affected by us. We can change our ways or continue towards a catastrophic future. This is why the younger generation is so important. The attachment to nature must be reconnected in the hearts and minds of a critical mass of the future leaders of the planet. This also of course applies to adults and especially leaders.

The hope lays in a little known grassroots movement. Much credit goes to Richard Louv who published Last Child in the Woods: saving our children from nature deficit disorder. He and Cheryl Charles have founded the “Children and Nature Network” (childrenandnature.org) with the Canadian chapter “Child and Nature Alliance”. These are umbrella organizations representing hundreds of groups, some large, some small, that in turn represent thousands of goodhearted adults and children.

There are other groups too numerous to list here that are working toward the same goal … returning our hearts and minds to nature. One example would be Jane Goodall’s “Roots and Shoots” (rootsandshoots.org). She is working especially with rural children in Africa and urban children in the developed world such as North American and parts of China.

The frightening thing in the cacophony of narcissism that our electronic revolution has produced is that the great mass of population is engaged with amusing itself to death. As Aldous Huxley predicted in Brave New World we are being controlled by pleasure, and truth is being drowned in a sea of irrelevance. It is hard to compete for public attention in this cacophony.

I hope that the role of the Robert Bateman Foundation will be to sound a clarion call about the seriousness of this issue and to make known all of the exciting efforts that are actually underway. The hope is that a critical mass of people will become engaged and join the movement to change our ways for the good of humanity and all the other living things.

The Bateman Centre is well positioned to be a beacon. It is located in a heritage building on the inner harbour of Victoria, British Columbia, one of the most visited places in Canada. There is a gallery displaying artwork of the wonderful natural world. More importantly it will be dedicated to spreading the word about all of the activities of hope for the future.

I will close with a quite from that 20th century philosopher John Lennon:
“You may say I’m a dreamer,
But I’m not the only one.”

Robert Bateman
2012