Last month I wrote a post that included a reference to a book review about the book “Eaarth: Making a life on a tough new planet” by Bill McKibben. I’ve been working my way through the book, and I must say I can’t imagine how the reviewer did it in one sitting. It is not the easy read they suggested, at least not for me. Not so much that I got bogged down in all the statistics, but more that it’s just hard to process what those statistics really mean for us.
The second half of the book delves into steps we’ll need to take to adjust to our new Eaarth. One of those really caught my attention: we are the first generations to live in a world where our neighbors could die suddenly of a plague and while sad, our way of life would otherwise not be affected. We do NOT depend on our neighbors for anything of substance. Indeed, in too many cases we don’t even know our neighbors name and would barely recognize them if we saw them at the store. We no longer live in community. We occupy a contiguous geographic space, but that’s not the same thing.
My family has stayed in our neighborhood for 15 years because we feel there’s a sense of community, but sadly, even for us McKibben’s alarming statement holds true. We may be a bit sadder because we do know our neighbors better, but the awful truth is we ultimately would continue our way of life as we watched new strangers move into the recently vacated homes.