What Happens Next?

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to live through a transition of enormous significance?

Would you be aware every day that radical transformation is taking place?


Logic tells me that we would notice changes all around us. Yet, my experience is telling me this is not true. Right now, the earth we inhabit is undergoing rapid climate change and, although, we hear the term everyday, most of us do not notice much of a difference.  But a few people are taking notice and trying to get the rest of us to pay attention.


Roy Scranton is one of these people. Those who scoff at climate change as something that only hippy-dippy tree-huggers care about might be surprised to learn that Scranton is a veteran who served a tour in Iraq during the early years of the Invasion. In his recent opinion piece for The Stone, he tries to wake us up to what is happening right before our eyes.

He does not quote spokespersons for environmental organizations. Instead, he repeats the dire warnings of  military and civilian leaders who are concerned about how national security is compromised by climate change and the resulting extreme weather events.

“This chorus of Jeremiahs predicts a radically transformed global climate forcing widespread upheaval — not possibly, not potentially, but inevitably. We have passed the point of no return. From the point of view of policy experts, climate scientists and national security officials, the question is no longer whether global warming exists or how we might stop it, but how we are going to deal with it.”

In other words, it is happening now. We are already living through a transition of enormous significance whether we choose to pay attention or not. So significant, in fact, that geologists are considering the addition of an new epoch to the Geological Time Scale. It would be called the Anthropocene and it is NOW. As the name suggests, this epoch is characterized by the effect the human species has on the earth’s geology.

So what does all this mean for us right now? Scranton suggests that we have to learn how to die “as a civilization.” In other words, during this epoch, the big philosophical questions about the meaning of individual lives and individual deaths will be overshadowed by the death of our civilization as we know it.


Sounds extreme, doesn’t it? Sounds like something that would pretty hard to ignore, right?

Apparently not, because most of us are pretty good at ignoring what is happening to our only real home, the earth. It is as if we have all agreed upon an unspoken pact of ignorance; believing somehow that if we don’t pay attention to it, it won’t really happen. Sure the climate is getting warmer, droughts are more severe and longer lasting, storms of all types are more extreme, but if we pretend it doesn’t matter, it won’t matter.

Why have so many of us decided to just ignore what is happening?

Maybe it is because noticing it and thinking about it means we have to do something. If we don’t want the world – not just the earth itself, but also civilization- to be radically different within 100 years, then we have to find solutions. Those solutions require extensive shifts in the way we live, the way we grow and produce food, the way we raise animals and crops, the way we travel, the homes we live in, even the clothes we wear.

How can we make those radical shifts if we don’t first have a massive shift of consciousness? A shift that starts with recognizing that we are all now, at this very minute, living through a transition of enormous significance.  Yes, you and I and the little kid down the street and the old lady next door, all of us are living at a time of great consequence. We have been chosen by God, or the universe, the spirit world or random chance to guide ourselves and this planet on which we live through a period of vast change. How we live through that change and what kind of future we pass on to the generations that follow after us depends on how we respond now.

What happens next is up to all of us!                   planet-16673_640

Roy Scranton article


Some books to read on the topic

Tropic of Chaos  by Christian Parenti – a description of the chaos caused by climate change, serious and bleak, but not without hope that humans can change the path we are now on.

Cows Save the Planet  by Judith D. Schwartz – this book is a call to action with actual things we can do to heal the earth. This book gives me hope. I urge everyone to read it.

I Call Myself Earth Girl by Jan Krause Greene – visionary fiction with an   environmental and spiritual message about the times we live in and the future that we create. (Yes, it is my novel.)




About What a Heart Can Hold

I'm Jan Krause Greene - writer, peace activist and lover of the earth. I formed my opinions about life at an early age and they haven't really changed much since then - I believe war does not create lasting solutions, love will be the real revolution, and the human heart can expand until it holds love for the whole world. I have been a teacher, a newspaper columnist, a bank teller, a house cleaner, an executive director of a non-profit dedicated to education advocacy, a diversity trainer, AIDS activist, a group facilitator, and a waitress. Whatever it took to raise 5 kids and remain true to my values. I can't carry a tune, but I love to sing and don't know any steps, but I love to dance!
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31 Responses to What Happens Next?

  1. Jan,
    Evidently industrial hemp has another benefit besides the thousands of products that can be made from it. It grows very rapidly – anywhere – and consumes large amounts of carbon dioxide, the major climate change gas. James Hanson, one of the scientists who first alerted humanity about climate change, strongly suggests a rising carbon fee, paid to the people, as the best immediate step to start the shift away from fossil fuels.
    Thanks for the post.

  2. Jerry,
    I can imagine large scale hemp farms as one step in the elimination of the carbon dioxide. You should read Cows Save the Planet – it is pretty amazing. Lots about restoring soil which helps to remove carbon too.
    A carbon fee – yes, that makes sense too.
    Thanks for your comment.

  3. gita4elamats says:

    It certainly is ‘… something that would pretty hard to ignore’ and we can’t continue to ignore it.

  4. Reblogged this on The Other Side of Ugly and commented:
    “Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the human heart can hold.”

    My beautiful friend Jan has written a very concise and truly eye-opening article here. We are all right NOW at this very moment living through a particular translation. Please read this post so that you discover exactly what that transition is.

    Warmth and Love to you Dear Humans.

    • PapaBear says:

      Thanks for sharing, Sheri. I’ve had thoughts and feelings, much as these, on this topic for a long time – before it was fashionable to be “green”. It seems that people don’t want to acknowledge the need for changes (and some sacrifice) if it interferes with their comfort and conveniences. Too bad…, for all of us.

      • PapaBear,Thank you for your comment. I thank Sheri too. I know more people are seeing this because of her re-blog.
        I wonder if the reason people do not want to acknowledge the need for change is because they can’t figure out what to do, or because they feel powerless to do have an effect. I hope that if more of us write about this and start a “blog-nation” discussion about it, we will learn that we have power and ideas that can help. Maybe, hemp farms (as Jerry mentioned in his comment) are a good start.
        Thanks for caring.

    • Sheri, thank you so much for reblogging this. I know that many more readers will see it because they respect your blog so much. You spread light and love.

      • You are welcome Jan. It is a great post and very convicting. Thank you for writing it. I will always help to spread news that will enlighten, energize, and spread hope in order to protect the love and light I humanity. Heavens, we are really in need of making some big changes simply to protect our existence. Big Hug. Sheri

  5. I love the discovery of this blog space and for you, Jan, the beautiful writer and spirit of this space. Thank you Sheri, from Letters to Humanity, for reblogging this article and guiding me here.

    I would love to share this as well, on my writing space Tryst, and elsewhere. It is such an important matter and I truly care about my Earth and the concern of our home. What will happen next if we do nothing about these realities? What will happen to our home … to humanity … ?

    Thank you for sharing a part of your beautiful mind and heart. ❤
    XoXo -Soulshine always …

    • Jen, thank you so much for your kind words. I am honored that you want to share this.
      I spend a lot of time wondering what will happen if we don’t join together to solve this problem soon. I believe we are at a tipping point and we must act now. As I said in a previous comment, maybe we can start a “blog-nation” of people all over the world who spread the word and discover our power.

      • I’m happy to share! This is such an important issue! I wish there were more people who cared about our earth .. our home. Every little bit helps .. every written word is like a hug to the world! Xoxo-Jen

  6. Reblogged this on ღ Think. Speak. Tryst. ღ and commented:
    “Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the human heart can hold.” – Jan of ‘icallmyselfearthgirl’

    I am so glad I found this blog space. I have been given another little gift of written treasures from a beautiful spirit who is sharing her light with the world.

    In this post, you will be enlightened to an issue of great importance that many of us ignore. But if we continue to turn our heads, what will happen next? What are we doing to love and nurture our Earth? What will we do to change?

    Soulshine always …

  7. D.G.Kaye says:

    Wonderful post and frightfully true I believe. It is sad that many just don’t understand the concept and that we all have a certain power to do something.

  8. Thank you for your comment, D.G. I hope that more and more people will realize that we can and must make a difference before it really is too late.

  9. Brian Cartwright says:

    Thank you! for mentioning Judy Schwartz’s book “Cows Save the Planet”. It’s a great antidote to endlessly depressing media stories about climate change. Many people worldwide are restoring much-needed carbon-based life to the soil to revive this damaged earth.

    • Brian, thanks for the comment. Cows Save the Planet does give me hope. I have bought several copies and given them as gifts. At this point, I feel like we need a balance of depressing stories about what is happening to the climate and hope-giving stories about solutions. My hope is that by spreading the word about the dire consequences, people will be moved towards embracing solutions.

  10. It’s so good to know that there are people like you out there, who don’t only listen to stories, but go the extra mile to figure out what differences can be made.
    Lovely post!

  11. JJBollOX says:

    Hello, once again thanks to Sherri I have read your post and will, when I can read your book. If only I could find the time, the attention span and even afford to read all that there is. If only… yes, you are right I believe, that the majority of inertia across our planet is based on not really knowing exactly what to do. Stopping using plastic bags and plastic foods, reducing our individual carbon foot print; becoming more aware and sharing our vision all helps yet still feels the frustration of too little too late. And yes, again somewhere in all that you have written lies an awful truth that we, myself included to some degree are guilty of hiding. We hide in our ignoring, in our not doing if it is too difficult, demanding or reductive to our habitual way of being. Our comfort zones do appear to have bigger boundaries than the secrets of politicians and other liars.
    I have to look for the relevance and yet another book to afford and too read – the cows can save us? I thought that the methane from their being farmed by us was:is of large negative effect on temperature.
    What really heats us up? Our values? In all that we value most, so title is of actual necessity or true advantage to life. We pay more, meaning that we value more, those who move money, entertain us – divert our minds from real things, assist us with technological gimmickry that lightens our load, makes our lives easier.. Yes this has value, of course. But more value than food, accommodation, social support, health car and support of through healthier living styles and when ill, injured, elderly and less firm.. what small actual importance we show in the value that is attached. Corporations controlling governments through funding and our total misplacing of values in a monetary based world is what is heating us up as we drive (pub intended) onward in search for more.
    Only if we remove our system(s) and re-evaluate by looking at the things that REALLY matter, such as global warming and poverty, starvation and exclusion in the widest sense. If we can genuinely realise, embrace and work for our greatest assets, ourselves and our planet. If we can remove the individualistic self centred self-defensive mindset we can have more, with less. Less effort and no damage.
    OK, I’ll get off of my soap box, apologise for the grammar during my ranting and do as I know I shouldn’t, press send without re-reading. Else the other things that I should be doing will not happen..
    Thank you for the positive that you express so well. I too will re post your post with my little rant and wish that I had those elements mentioned at the beginning that would push me to write the HOW this better world CAN be. I know that I am not alone with ideas. A real parliament would consist of us all, using technology to share our ideas and truly consider each of then for the better of us all.

  12. Pingback: What Happens Next? | JJBollOX

  13. JJBollOX says:

    My apologies. WordsFallFromMyEyes, has responded to my re-post. She liked the post yet it showed me and I responded to her, “This ‘Press This’ was a disaster! I though that I would be placing Jan Krause Greene’s and Sheri, The Other Side of Ugly’s posts and therefore a chain of recognition would be set. But no! What is the point in Press This if it does not automatically give recognition to the origins?
    I hope that you are as great as I think you are 🙂 Ox”
    The message is the same for yourself and Sheri with apologies and thanks OXO

  14. So Ox, and others who wonder about how cows can save the planet I have included a link to a radio interview with Judith Schwartz, the author of the book I recommend. The ideas in the book are not hers. She is more of a reporter. Here is a description of her book:
    In Cows Save the Planet, Judith Schwartz takes us on a fascinating, John McPhee-style journey into the world of soil rehabilitation. The eclectic group of farmers, ranchers, researchers, and environmentalists she visits have one thing in common: they all believe in the importance of organic matter in the soil for solving our most pressing environmental issues. Some of the innovative techniques they use to increase the vitality of their soil include no-tillage, using deep-rooted perennial grasses, cover crops, mulching, and, surprisingly, grazing large herds of animals according to a program called “holistic management.” Imagine, a book about soil that’s a real page turner!”
    —Larry Korn, editor of The One-Straw Revolution and Sowing Seeds in the Desert, by Masanobu Fukuoka

    Here is the link to the radio interview – you can read the transcript there, or listen to it online.

    The more we know the more we can do, right?

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