Ruminations on Remembrance Day

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
November 12th, 2015

A piper piped the parade from the Rossland Legion to the cenotaph and the moving ceremonies there, and crowds of solemn Rosslanders  attended, each of us honouring those from our land who have given their lives in wars and those in other lands who have suffered from having wars overwhelm and destroy  their homes and lives;  and each of us carried  our own thoughts about war and  its many causes and purposes.

Can humans ever agree globally to keep to our own territories and refrain from destabilizing governments in other countries to gain resources and tactical footholds?  Can we ever agree to live in a way that does not rely on using more than we need, and more than the biosphere can replace?  Can the human race agree to limit its contributions to the growing  atmospheric  carbon overload  enough, and  in time, to prevent catastrophic climate change?  If not, are we doomed to face widespread and deadly warfare in the near future, over access to arable land and potable water?   These questions will be answered over time, as will the question of how much time we have. 

These ruminations may sound pessimistic, but there is hope.  People are capable of extraordinary efforts and sacrifices when they see the need and know what to do;  those we honour on Remembrance Day are proof of that.  Many well-informed and highly intelligent people have written books pointing the way to a better and more peaceful future,  based on the possibility that individuals and nations may be able to adopt ways of meeting our needs without destroying our own life-support systems.  They have identified better ways of producing food and energy, and of stopping our profligate wastage of those things and other resources as well.  They have pointed out the problems of our economic systems and how they could be altered to serve the common good and better our chances of survival in the long term.  They assert that we are capable of living with what we need, rather than taking all we could possibly want and hoarding it like the dragon of fairy tales squatting on its hoard of treasure.  They say that really, there is enough for all, if we can replace our current state of gross inequity with enough fairness.

So now, for a peaceful future, perhaps what we need to do is identify the necessary and  extraordinary changes in the values we live by, and figure out how to live new and extraordinary lives by those new values.  We need a paradigm shift if we are to have peace, and avoid  mourning ever more casualties of war.

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