We live in an extraordinary moment of Earth. We possess more technical prowess and knowledge than our ancestors could have dreamt of. At the same time we witness destruction of life in dimensions that confronted no previous generation in recorded history. Today entire species are dying—whole cultures as well as ecosystems on a global scale, even to the oxygen-producing plankton of our seas.
Scientists may try to tell us what is at stake when we burn rainforests and fossil fuels, dump toxic wastes in air, soil, sea, and use chemicals that devour our planet's protective ozone shield. But their warnings are hard to heed. For ours is an Industrial Growth Society. Its economy depends on ever-increasing consumption of resources. To maintain its engines of progress, Earth is both supply-house and sewer. The planet's body is not only dug up and turned into goods to sell, it is also a"sink" for the poisonous by-products of our industries.
If we sense that the tempo is accelerating, we are right, for the logic of the Industrial Growth Society is exponential, demanding not only "growth," but rising rates of growth. Like Alice on the chessboard of the mad queen, we must run ever faster to stay in the same place. What is in store for our children's children? What will be left for those who come after? Too busy running to think about that, we try to close our minds to nightmare scenarios of want and wars in a wasted, contaminated world.
This first module, Choosing Life, introduces the premises on which the Work that Reconnects is based. Your exploration of the underlying concepts presented in Module 1 provides the conceptual bases of the work you will do in Module 2. We encourage you not to skip the first lessons, as doing so weakens your grasp of the work to come.