the chosen generation
Memorial Day weekend is a good time to think about causes and values that transcend our quotidian lives and that pull us, or compel us, or drag us to engage in Life writ large.
The people we honor and remember today - as we go off to celebrate our group playtime and the beginning of summertime (despite what the calendar and weatherfolks say) - gave their lives both to create and preserve a society that gives us the opportunities and blessings we enjoy today.
We, too, in this interstitial generation, are being called to do remarkable things.
If humankind is lucky, if we do the right thing, the 20th century will go down in history as the one and only era of non-sustainability. It will be studied as a time of great discovery; blind innocence; gaping, gasping degradation; and delayed awakening. Historians and plain folk alike will marvel at our ignorance and impudence, building as if we lived in a one-way, dead-end system, as if we could extract precious resources from the earth, fiddle with them, use them, and throw them away. And that we could, with impunity, casually and blamelessly toss into the ocean, the land, and the air all the gunk and detritus that we spew out when making the marvels of our civilization.
If we are lucky, and do the right thing, all the centuries before us, and all the centuries after us, will model the one true way of being: living well today while enabling our children, and their children, and their children, to live well after us.
We occupy that rare and historic moment in time; we are the chosen generation which has to make this change in vision, value and style. We are in the midst of creating the second industrial revolution, where our energy, our production design, and our waste all are part of the sustainability equation, where the process is as critical as the product.
We - as consumers, scientists, inventors, policy makers, investors - are called to carry our civilization over the revolutionary hump. We must prod and push and celebrate our advances, and we must tend well to those who are displaced, disoriented and otherwise harmed by both society's inactions and actions.
This is grand and unsettling time. But no revolution is easy. We are the founders of the next great society. It is not easy, but it is invigorating, it is necessary and at the end of the day, it is right.