It seems to me that there’s a bit of reality emerging through our facade of business as usual. Biodiversity loss. Financial craziness (first banks, now countries). Injustice. Wars. Oil spills. Forest loss. Biodiversity loss. Natural eruptions. Food shortages. Do you sense a fall coming?

Some may argue that we are in for a shift rather than a fall. Some may say that even talking about a fall is overly pessimistic. Whatever happens in the future it would take extraordinary levels of denial not to at least entertain the possibility that our current financial and social structures may not last another 100 years.

Paul Hawken recently said this about the state of the world: “When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”

So, I try and hold both pessimism and optimism together, and not to be swayed too far to either end. And I try to do my part in restoring health to the earth and its people.

As well as taking action, one of the really important things we do need to do is to re-examine the roots of what our society is based on. If the tree of civilization has shallow roots, as I believe it does, then it won’t take much of a wind to topple us.

What are the roots of our civilization? One major root is our reliance on a few forms of energy – oil, coal gas. Millions of years of stored ancient sunlight, mercilessly dragged from the depths of the earth and burned with abandon. As a consequence our societies are not very resilient, rather brittle, and could be subject to dramatic and unpleasant upheavals in our lifetime. Scary stuff.

Perhaps the future will not be an improved version of the present! Rather than believing we are facing technical problems to be solved, I believe we are being called into new ways of doing … everything!

As Arundhati Roy says: “Another world is possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.”

Can we hear the breathing earth calling us? Can we hear message that reality is shouting at us? Can we look plainly at the things that challenge our fundamental understanding of the world?

I hope so.