100 trillion cells of hope

This afternoon I listened to a talk given by evolutionary biologist and futurist, Dr Elisabet Sahtouris. The subject of the talk, given at the Schumacher College in England, was ‘How to live better on a hotter planet’. Not surprisingly, it outlined many of the challenges we’re facing and touched on strategies for living better on a planet which will be several degrees hotter by the end of the century. But it was also full of hope.

There is no doubt that we are indeed facing enormous challenges. A ‘hot age’, peak oil, economic collapse. But as other young, competitive and creative species have evolved and survived when faced with a global crisis/opportunity, so too can we.

I was fascinated to learn that our behavior closely mirrors that of the ancient bacteria which dominated the planet during the the first 4 billion years of life on earth. Like us, they were then young, highly competitive and creative. They are the only life form other than humans to have caused global hunger and pollution. And yet they survived by solving those problems through innovative technology. Those tiny little organisms harnessed solar energy, developed a motor system and created a global system of information exchange, a world wide web. They learned to cooperate and they formed colonies.

The nano world, which exists within us and without us, is an extraordinary one. Each one of us is made up of 100 trillion cells. You are the current residence of hundreds of trillions of bacteria, descendants of those ancient micro-organisms which billions of years ago faced many of the global challenges we face now. If they figured out how to survive and thrive, then surely we can too.

Contrary to the belief of some people, competition is not the only modus operandi in Nature. Yes, young species compete like crazy to spread their seed to become established. But what lasts is that which exists harmoniously within its community. Cooperation and collaboration are key strategies for species that survive over the long haul.

I grew up watching David Attenborough docos and the fact that those films may be as close as my goddaughter ever gets to big cats when she grows up, makes me sad in ways I cannot articulate. I clench my teeth when I learn that since 1950, 90% of the big fish stock have been depleted because of industrialized fishing. In these moments, my heart aches and my eyes are downcast. But these moments are increasingly few and far between. They’re being replaced by sparkling eyes and a light heart. Why?…

Because, like those clever little bacteria that used flagella to zip around the planet 4 billion years ago, we’re evolving. And we have a world wide web connecting super smart and very good people who want to collaborate and live together, in nature, in harmony.

So, if occasionally you find yourself overwhelmed by the magnitude of the crisis we’re facing, then let your heart be lightened by the fact that all over the world there are people remembering ancient ways of living and developing new technologies to help our species evolve. And that our world wide web is connecting millions of people, each one of them made up of 100 trillions cells of hope.

If you would like to learn more of what Dr Sahtouris has to to say on how to live better on a hotter planet, go to http://www.schumachercollege.org.uk/community/open-evening-with-elisabet-sahtouris

2 thoughts on “100 trillion cells of hope

  1. Thank you Truth Fairy. Much love, Tink – a fairy who is about to begin her morning with yoga and a fresh smoothie, because it’s the only way she thinks she’ll get through what is looking like it’ll be an even more crazy than expected week… All of my Christmas shopping, a big week for UH, a dentist appointment (which I thought I could put off again until next year but probably shouldn’t) and a vet appointment (which the vet and I thought could wait until next year, but today, I think it can’t). So I’m hoping, and intending, that this week will also be 100 trillion cells of calm! xxxxx

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