Our oceans are on the brink of collapse. Decades of pollution, micro-plastic “islands”, and over-fishing have reduced marine stocks and ecosystem to a fraction of pre-industrial levels. Pacific Salmon is undergoing a veritable genocide conducted by humans, Tuna is being fished at rates thousands of times higher than their natural rate of replenishment, and large marine mammals are at their lowest-ever recorded levels. If this weren’t bad enough, imagine a hidden arsenal of millions of tonnes of toxic chemical weapons laying at the bottom of our oceans, waiting to leech into the waters. A veritable cesspool of poisonous sludge made of Mustard and Chlorine gases, arsenic, and a cocktail of other weapon-grade chemicals. The only thing is: you don’t have to imagine it, it’s actually here!
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up