• Dr. Emi Garzitto

Sparks From a Train Track



When systems have been degraded gradually over time, we tend to point the finger at the final action that finally crushes the system. We don't tend to crush the repeated pieces of neglect which over time create the inevitable crush. The sudden heart attack that kills the mother of 3, the infidelity that breaks the marriage, the mortgage bonds that fuel the fall of the global banking system, the spark from a running train on a dry track the starts the crushing fire - they are all the final acts of something which took years of neglect and patching up, to set the stage for the final blow.


Late June brought an unprecedented heat dome in British Columbia. For a few days, temperatures soared into the high 30s and low 40s. This was quickly followed by a slew of forest fires, one which decimated the small town of Lytton. One of the working theories was that a spark from a passing train began the fire. A picture of a train engulfed in flames made its way on the social media circles.


The years of drought, lower rainfall, smaller snowpacks, the alarms sounding for more resources towards forest management and global warming all go unheeded. The problem is far away. We can put it off for another year. Then another. And another.


Our evolutionary brains are wired for immediate danger and threat. We are equipped to handle the threats that happen very soon, today or now. Blaming the final 'cause' of a catastrophe comes naturally to our human brain.


Taking accountability for ignoring the drip by drip warning signs does not come naturally to our human brain. We are poorly equipped to manage long term threats that require steady drips of action to protect 'future self' or even our great great great great grandchildren.


We need to adapt our thinking for the long term. What is in my best interest 10 years from now? 100 years from now? 10,000 years from now? Stewart Brand, writer and founder of the Long Now Movement has been inviting this 10,000 years from now thinking for over 50 years.


Why is this important? Why should we be practicing the skill of making decisions based on a 10,000 year time line?


Our big world issues are not just universal, they are personal.


When systems have been degraded gradually over time, we tend to point the finger at the final action that finally crushes the system. We don't tend to crush the repeated pieces of neglect which over time create the inevitable crush. The sudden heart attack that kills the mother of 3, the infidelity that breaks the marriage, the mortgage bonds that fuel the fall of the global banking system, the spark from a running train on a dry track the starts the crushing fire - they are all the final acts of something which took years of neglect and patching up, to set the stage for the final blow.


Take a look at you, your family or community, your business or your workspace and ask yourself, what are the small steps that I can take today that will help me make me, my family my community, my business, my workplace, a more efficient space, a kinder space?


How can we cool the impending fires that exist in all of our spaces? The most efficient work we do to prevent and solve future crisis, is to make small repeated steps towards future solutions.


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