Faith, Hope, and Love in the Make or Break Century

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The world-renowned entomologist E. O. Wilson tells us that if extinction rates continue at their current pace, over 50% of currently existing species will be gone forever by the end of the 21st Century. Wilson believes that human activity is leading to the sixth mass extinction on our planet, and the next few years and decades are crucial for the future of current life on earth. Couple this forecast of a massive loss of biodiversity with an increase in human population to between 9 and 10 billion people by the end of this century, and the future of human civilization and the future of many other forms of life looks quite bleak. We find ourselves in the make or break part of the make or break century for a sustainable human civilization.

As I have thought about the realities facing our planet, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenges facing us. The track record of humans acting en masse to live more sustainably and take care of our planet does not lead one to have much hope that we will have the collective will to turn things around. It is easy to give up or simply to get in a mindset of doing that which will sustain myself, my family, or my country in the midst of the global crises that we will face in the years ahead. But if we all move to that mindset, the future ahead will be one of unspeakable suffering and death.

As I think about my daughters and what the future will hold for them and for the billions of other children on our planet, I cannot allow myself to give up on humans being able to make the changes necessary to bring about healing to our planet. I have to have faith that we will somehow find a way to cut through the greed, shortsightedness, and lack of awareness that woos us into complacency and inaction. I have to have hope that somehow the 21st Century will be the time that humans will look back upon centuries from now as being the turning point in our relationship with the rest of nature, and I have to believe that we will all find ways to love each other enough to not to destroy each other and this magnificent ball of life that is our only home.
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About Mark Y. A. Davies

Mark Davies is The Wimberly Professor of Social and Ecological Ethics and Director of the World House Institute for Social and Ecological Responsibility at Oklahoma City University. From 2009 to 2015, Mark was dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences and Wimberly Professor of Social Ethics at Oklahoma City University. Previously, Mark was dean of the Wimberly School of Religion at Oklahoma City University and Founding Director of the Vivian Wimberly Center for Ethics and Servant Leadership. Prior to becoming dean of the Wimberly School of Religion in 2002, he was associate dean of the Petree College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma City University and chair of the department of philosophy. Mark has published in the areas of Boston personalism, process philosophy and ethics, and ecological ethics. Dr. Davies serves on the United Methodist University Senate, which is “an elected body of professionals in higher education created by the General Conference to determine which schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools meet the criteria for listing as institutions affiliated with The United Methodist Church.” He and his wife Kristin live in Edmond, OK in the United States, and they have two daughters. The views expressed by the author in this blog do not necessarily represent the views of Oklahoma City University.
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