|Detail from Plate 76 of John James Audubon's Birds of America|
"In order to see the way forward, we have to understand how we got to this turbulent moment.
We appeared on Earth about a 150,000 years ago in
There was little in the early appearance of those humans to suggest the explosive change we would undergo as we left our African birthplace to populate every part of the planet in only a hundred and fifty millenia.
Of course, the secret of our success was that 2 kilogram organ buried deep in our skulls. It was the human brain. It conferred a massive memory. No other animal has the memory capacity of the human brain. It conferred insatiable curiosity and very impressive creativity; qualities that more than compensated for our lack of physical and sensory abilities.
And that brain became aware of itself. It was conscious of our presence in space and time. That brain was capable of imagination and dreams. And drawing in our experience and our knowledge, we dreamed of our place in the world and imagined the future into being.
Foresight gave us a leg up, gave us a huge advantage. And foresight, I believe, brought us to this position of dominance today. And now, foresight, that great evolutionary strategy that has been such a critical part of our success as a species, is warning us that we are undermining the very life support systems that have enabled us and the rest of life to flourish and survive."
"...Now I am uplifted by the amazing story that is emerging from modern science. It tells us from the moment after the Big Bang, as matter spewed forth in an expanding universe, every particle exerted a tiny pull on every other particle.
The universe is not mostly empty space. It is filled with evanescent tendrils of attraction that some people call Love. And that attraction is built into the very fabric of the cosmos. Science informs us that far, far away, way out in the boondocks, is a very undistinguished galaxy: The Milky Way. And among the billions of stars in that galaxy, our sun is a very ordinary one. And on its third planet, Earth, a mere speck in the heavens, life arose in the last quarter of the cosmos' existence. And in the very last moment, something astonishing happened. A creature emerged from nature endowed with self-awareness, dazzling creativity and a capacity for love and wonder, gazing out at a chaotic world, that animal imposed order and meaning in myriad forms and brought humanity to prominence in a cosmic instant.
We are the planet's most recent iteration of life's forms. An infant species, but with a precocity to see our place in the cosmos and dream of worlds yet to come. I believe we are capable of even greater things: to rediscover our home, to find ways to live in balance with the sacred elements, and to create a future rich in joy, happiness and meaning that are our real wealth. I will die before my grandchildren become mature adults and have their own children, but I am filled with hope and I imagine their future rich in opportunity, beauty and companionship with the rest of creation.
All it takes is the imagination to dream it, and the will to make the dream reality. So let's get on with making it happen and show what our species is really capable of."
- David Suzuki
from "Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie"