We are living in an ever scarcer world, of that there are no doubts. Water is becoming scarcer, as are fuels, as are clean air and nutritious land. We know of the possibilities that climate change will present - flooded coasts, changing weather patterns, hotter summers, and destabilised communities. It should be no surprise to us that in the coming years, not in our grandchildren's lifetimes, not in our children's lifetimes, but in our lifetimes, things are going to get tougher. We cannot fight it.
So what does this mean for our daily lives, particularly of those of us living in the West, full of convenience? Increased expenditures reflective of scarcity? Absolutely. (If you think gasoline is "expensive" now, wait a while. If you think water is "expensive" now, wait a while.) But more importantly, it is now clearer than ever that we have a broken relationship with what sustains and nurtures us. And so we are faced with choices. We are faced with the choice of doing nothing (or continuing to do what we are doing, and continuing to degrade), or grabbing the bull by its horns and doing something. Just as with a broken relationship, we can do nothing, let it worsen, and then feel the emotional effects for longer, or we can mend the relationship, apply bandages where the wounds are open, and care for and nurture to make whole again. For this, we must be able to admit fault and guilt. We cannot fight it.
Of course each one of us individually cannot solve the multitude of crises that are before us. But what we can do is our part. I like to think thermodynamically in these cases. Thermodynamics is a description of large-scale averages. The temperature you are feeling on your skin right now not the temperature that is shared by all of the molecules constituting the air. Rather, it is an averaging of many different individual temperatures - some of the molecules that are hitting your skin have a higher temperature than others, and some have a lower temperature. But if we are to shift the bulk, the whole, the average, things need to shift individually. We cannot fight it.
It is clear to me that the changes in our lives will need to be significant in order to address the array of issues before us - poverty, injustice, climate change, biodiversity loss (all, of course, just different manifestations of the same ethical and moral problems). While "significant" may mean to some as driving less, the significance that I am talking about is a radical reconstruction of our societies, of our daily lives, of our ethics, of our morals. This will be needed, because a factory painted green still pollutes. There must be a peaceableness that we find with this new existence. If this for some of us means driving less, then so be it. But if this means for some of us thinking about how our individual lives affect our neighbours, down the street, and in India, the birds, the rocks, and the river, then so be it. We cannot fight it.