The 40th anniversary of Earth Day this week falls under a Saturn-Uranus opposition.
One more milestone in the 2012 period, the exactitude on April 26th marks the 4th of five times that Saturn and Uranus reach that magic 180-degree angle in the sky. The first time was November 4th, 2008 — remember that day? — and their last will be July 26th of this year. This transit is about accepted norms (Saturn) shattering (Uranus) like concrete blocks in an earthquake. All over the world, stasis is being confronted by the necessity for radical change.
Most people’s first response to hearing things like this is “Will the changes be good or bad?” But such evaluations aren’t what this is about.
What it’s about is waking up.
Uranus splashes cold water in the face of our complacency. And when we consider that Jupiter, too, will be in the mix from 6/10 to 1/11, we’re talking about an even more dramatic scenario. We’ll get the cold water and, at the same time, an alarm clock going off – the old-fashioned kind with a clanging bell.
Uranus is associated with surprises. But what it is calling for here is more of an acknowledgment, by suddenly aware individuals, of what we already know.
In this epoch the old ignorance defense does not fly. We are drowning in data by the hour; with tweeting, it’s by the minute. We have exponentially greater access to more intelligence than at any other time in history. So why do we need this extraordinary cosmic alarm right now? Because a fatal gap exists between the realities we vaguely know about and those we’re fully awake to.
Let’s talk about one of these realities: consumerism and the fate of the Earth.
One of the visionaries stepping up to the plate during these critical years is Peter Joseph of the Zeitgeist Movement, whose comprehensive video lays out, point by point, the reasons why our current approach to Earth living is unsustainable.
Consider oil, that nasty black goo whose coveted status causes such suffering to humanity and such harm to Gaia. It took Nature 60 million years to create a gallon of oil; and once dug up and used, it can’t be used again. Yet under the current system we neither preserve it nor put anything more than negligible efforts into replacing it with healthy alternatives. Instead we allow those in charge to waste precious time and resources chasing after more soon-to-be extinct dinosaur slime. Almost every country in the world is scurrying around trying to find places to drill. Our own dear Obama has just opened up new coastal and wilderness areas to the oil companies.
This makes no sense. But that’s the way it is with addiction. Our extreme dependency on fossil fuels has kept us in a mindless stupor, which is why the cosmic alarm clock is set at such a high volume. Our goal should be that of the sleeper who wakes up instinctively, just before the alarm clock goes off.
This means recognizing the all-encompassing scope of the change required. We can’t do this piecemeal. If we want to fend off global systems collapse we’re going to have to see these issues not in isolation but systemically.
Substituting a hybrid for a gas-guzzler isn’t enough: it’s about recognizing the role of fossil fuels in every nook and cranny of our lives. Like food. As the locavores have been telling us, there are ten calories of hydro-carbon energy behind every calorie of food.
It will probably take a series of sustained economic blows to shock the populations of industrialized countries into connecting the dots between the specter of ecocide and the monetary system now in use. It is already generally understood that consumerism is not cool any more. But most haven’t thought through the implications of it all. If we did, we would end up with the question: What’s the likely end result of a profit-driven global economy based on continuous, incessant consumption, on a planet that has finite resources?
Rapacious consumerism isn’t just a random lifestyle choice: it’s integral to the global system. Using up resources as fast as possible is the goal of the business model in use worldwide. If people didn’t use things up and then replace them right away, the market economy would fall apart. Buying, not saving; spending, not conserving; consuming, not recycling, all keep the GDP booming and the stock market up. This translates to a way of life that is antithetical to ecological health.
Yet the word “ecology” didn’t even exist for previous generations, and now it does. Over the past few years, here and there across the globe, green consciousness has been making inroads. People have read about Big Oil pulling the plug on the electric car. They realize that this season’s fashions are designed to be discarded a year later. They have figured out that their electronic gadgets are built to break so the manufacturer can preserve market share.
So the challenge here is to acknowledge, in a new way, what we already know. This will be an immense leap for many to make; which is why both Uranus and Pluto are necessary ingredients of the Grand Cross forming above us. That these two titans are squaring Saturn (status quo) simultaneously is a function of how steep the learning curve is. Battering rams (Pluto), buckets of ice water (Uranus), blaring alarm clocks (Jupiter)… the sky is hauling out everything in its arsenal to wake us up.
The world will change very fast over the years ahead, and each of us has the capacity to grow in awareness right along with it. Or, ideally, just ahead of it.
In the end, that’s why all this is happening.