Four Mile Canyon Fire on the outskirts of Boulder Co on this morning of the 9th anniversary of 9/11, is now 56% contained. The ecology of this 6427 acres is now destroyed for years to come. Over 170 households have lost their homes. A place of home is sacred and essential form of stability from which people can refuel and nurture their mind, body and spirit. This disaster is gripping its victims similar at the edge of the envelope that swept New York Citizens with the terrorism attack on the World Trade center.
The cause of the 4 Mile Canyon fire remains unknown. It is unlikely it will be equated to an act of terrorism and certainly is not in the realm of impact of a Tsunami, Katrina or the BP Oil Spill. It is a symbol that opened the eyes of many others to the impact of an explosion and fire that followed in San Bruno, California. This incident destroyed 38 homes, injured 50+ people and took 4 lives. This morning's news carried another report from Manhattan of a fire on East 39th at 3rd was responded to by 200 fireman of which 12 were injured along with 2 EMT's.
Groups of people convened on Facebook to report, form conversations for the victims, announce community response activity and to pray for the residents of the town of Gold Hill, which experienced the most harm. This response is by far visible by nature of virtual reality where a group of people bonded by friendship, spiritual practice who have historically combined their voices on FaceBook out of common interests are articulating the real cost of harm like this. This harm is life altering, traumatic and no matter the history of the person or emotional intelligence; it strips anyone of their health, spirit and faith. It leaves the world a very clear message, "How do you respond to stripping experiences like this that good people did not ask for?" What is the format of the Earth Charter Principle in this instance to the idea of 'exericsing precaution."
The outpouring of response from over 90 fire brigades, mental health counselors, clergy is more person to person and integrates a form of comfort that no government agency, rescue instution or political figure of prestige can offer anyone. It is the hidden story that may not have been reported by mainstream press and bloggers who responded to Katrina and 9/11. This hidden story recognizes a value for sustainability and a respect for the extensive loss that is leaving so many speechless. This response is caring and far different than the political responses in years past to the invisible turmoil so many know from the American pattern of economy, real estate foreclosure, corporate downsizing or the criminal impact on ordinary human beings and workers afflicted and victimized with losses of home and retirmenet by Enron, Worldcomm, Digital Equipment Corporation or the rapid belt tightening of the technology and telecommunications sector during economic downturn or the health care institutional response of reducing insurance coverage for catastrophic illnesses or the response of employers to chronically ill workers who can't sustain a 24/7 schedule.
The picture of the falling towers 9 years ago at Ground Zero
portrays a different ecology than the film of the 4 Canyon Fire
Social media in 2010 is bringing a different look, feel and touch to disasters and the impact of the experience on people living local to the disaster. We no longer rely on mainstream media to see the real impact.
Since 9/11, the United States taxpayer dollars of $3 Trillion plus have gone to fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our country now has to heal the harm of our response in 2001 that has resulted in a declining infrastructure, qualty of health care delivery and education. This has resulted in double digit recession and a government focus of attacking harm by authoring laws of fear and corporate response to thsoe laws of lobbying and freezing the use of assets and cash reserves so the layoffs continue. The US real estate market continues to decline and more people are jobless or income less if self-employed and have lost their power to influence change through a consumer market and a consumption pattern of a growth economy that is no longer realistic to sustain.
Perhaps the residents, community members, and good people of Colorado will embark on a journey that is about restoring human spirit and an ecology that can only repair and thrive with a new approach to economic development, health and treatment of trauma that strips any human being of their health and strenght to survive the dying 24/7 pattern of work and consumption that has put Americans at risk to sustain. I am seeing very strong hints of this already on FaceBook through the people in my social web.
There is a lot of work needed to structure a response of repair that grows beyond an emergency response to hardship. It is not business as usual for NGO's, government or commercial ventures. To bring life back to an ecological balance, we have to begin to act like our monetary systems and economic formulas that respect the need for health and well being.
This all implies the necessity for a new human consciousness that embodies - mind, body, spirit and economy. To achieve this kind of consciousness is more than an act of individuals living on spiritual values of forgiveness, letting go, compassion and loving kindness. This consciousness will integrate an ecological platform as a center of practice that draws on resources that are spiritual, scientific and adopt use of technology in support of the new practice. Expertise will not be a dominating factor. Expertise will be a backdrop for building responsive innovation through learning new forms of strategic response that measures value.
Communities of people will build a foundation of practices that will build a sustainable economy. ecological. These communities will learn to assure the resources, knowledge and education access for people who want to live with an advantage to sustain themselves to work wisely to live well; rather than work agressively to accumulate for a rainy day. Rainy days are not the issue any longer. We have to investigate new values and principles that help hard working and good people to recover from disasters they did not cause.
The September 11th attack opened the door to this learning. But the lessons learned have not been sufficient to date. We have not safeguarded our citizens from less destruction by events. The BP oil spill impact on the Gulf Coast and 4 Mile Canyon Fire impact on Colorado make this the case.
The learning that followed 9/11 and Katrian has been choppy at best. The intitial response to terrorism and economic upheaval has added more harm and created more people in strife over this past decade.
September 11, 2010 should be a benchmark in time to #sustainnow. Communities need to be able to call on resources from government, non profits and commercial interests to build sustainable infrastructure that equates protecting human health, the environment and economy with individual or commercial methods of earning. The people of 4 Mile Canyon have opened our eyes to that possibility out the voices of conscious citizens e.g. Joan Borysenko and many others.
Please take a moment to reflect, breathe and find strength to empower the same in your community after you read this editorial.