🌍 Deep Resilience

A guest essay by Dekila Chungyalpa

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Against wind and tide


Welcome back.

We have another excellent guest essay for you this week by previous pod guest and Founder and Director of the Loka Initiative, Dekila Chungyalpa, about deep resilience in a time of crisis.

The weight of the environmental challenges ahead of us is heavy.

We need to understand how we got here and then recognize the interdependence of the systems we are a part of to build a holistic resilience and create a better path forward.

Let’s get started.

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Deep Resilience as the Antidote to the Anthropocene

By Dekila Chungyalpa

Dekila is the Founder and Director of the Loka Initiative, an award-winning capacity-building and outreach platform at the University of Wisconsin - Madison for faith and Indigenous leaders working on environmental and climate issues.

It is easy to lose sight of the fact that the Anthropocene is a blip in the 200,000-year history of modern human existence on this planet. 

Whether we think of the Anthropocene as a 50-year or 500-year period, it adds up to a mere fraction of the time where we have co-existed, mostly peacefully, with other lifeforms on Earth.

What do I mean by “the Anthropocene”? And what do I mean by “peacefully”? 

The Anthropocene is a designation for the current geological period where human activity is transforming the planet in extreme ways.

Despite some disagreement among geologists and other scientists, as recently as this March, about whether the Anthropocene can be called a geological event or a geological epoch and its exact time scale, the term itself is now widely used in academia, science, and popular culture. I use it here to refer to the most recent 500-year timeline that we humans have inhabited.

This period is marked by intensive economic, industrial, and technological growth that has led to profound changes in Earth’s systems, including:

The sheer scale of our assault on Earth’s operating systems, and therefore all life on the planet, eclipses anything that has come before.

After all, we may have waged war on our fellow humans throughout our existence, but we have never attempted to indiscriminately obliterate all life forms until very recently.

The knowledge that this is a recent development gives me great hope and gives us all an opportunity to reflect on how we can reverse ourselves on the 500-year path that has brought us here.

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