04/03/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Time for Adaptation

I must start this with two quotes. Both from the same man, Charles Darwin.

"In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed."

And of course, the classic:

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. "

We are at a crossroads where adaptation will become the key to survival in this century. What a time to be alive.


(Photo courtesy of Banksy)

In the past, massive changes in the natural environment put many species in stressful situations. Many would perish, some would adapt and survive to then reproduce. Whatever animal could adapt best would continue on. Natural selection in a nutshell.

For 10,000 years, humans have believed that they had a pretty good hold on things. Food was usually accessible, predators were minimal, and reproduction was all too common. Because of our advancement in technology and our overall stagnation in sensibility, we have continued to destroy the natural world for the sake of the one true religion: Monetary wealth.

How shortsighted most of us have become. In this pursuit, we have put our planet's health at risk, as well as its ability to sustain life for all of its creatures, including ourselves.

What is strange is that despite all we have sacrificed of the ecosystem, so many of us are now faced with a financial crisis not seen for almost 100 years. I am prone to think that this is just the beginning. Times are not the same as in the 1920's. There are many more dynamics involved, and now we have an environmental crisis as well as an economic one.

What is needed now for survival and happiness in the 21st century are humans that can adapt. Humans that can face the problems troubling our planet and our species, and then create real and lasting solutions, whether they are aimed locally for their families and friends, or globally for the entire planet.

Those humans that build rainwater collection systems will likely never have to worry about getting drinking water from the municipal supply or from the grocery store.

Those that plant fruit trees and build greenhouses and gardens can provide food for themselves and their family for decades to come, whether the economy is healthy or not. Whether trucks are transporting food across the country or not.

Those that will invest in a personal energy source such as wind or solar, will be free from electric bills and dependency on the electric companies.

Those that can learn to be happy with less material wealth will learn that there is more to life than mere things...that life is really about creating, living, and interacting with nature and our loved ones. Not cars, clothes, or electronics.

We (citizens of the developed nations) are soft. Most of us couldn't last a week without municipal utilities and a grocery store. I still include myself in this group. We have made it too easy for ourselves, and by doing so have weakened the human species. There are many poor slobs out there that never would have reproduced in the natural world. Think about that one long and hard.

Those of us who are willing to make the adaptations will continue on and live richer lives than any millionaires. I honestly think a deep depression is what we need as a collective whole. We have grown far too lazy and have forgotten how to exist without the help of big brother. Maybe all this stuff is actually good for us.

The talking heads on TV make it all sound really bad, and for them it probably is. They need the hierarchies and the paychecks and the cheap oil. They won't be able to eat their money after hyper inflation though. Perhaps they will be living on canned meat and powdered milk. We can be eating from our organic orchards and gardens while the unadaptive will have to wait in line for bread and milk.

Recession? Depression? Adaptation. Go green for your survival in the 21st Century. Darwin would be impressed at your foresight.