Are you a Good Ancestor?


I hadn’t heard this expression till earlier this week when I was cleaning up and came across the Consciousness Rising copy of Dumbo Feather, a magazine with a tagline Conversations with extraordinary people. One of the articles was about being a good ancestor. The term came about in the 1970’s from Jonas Salk, who also developed the polio vaccine.

It didn’t take off much since then due to neoliberal hyper-individualism, but is receiving more interest these days. A Good Ancestor tries as best they can, to think as far as they can beyond their own life span, to the time when their children’s children will be living.

Roman Krznaric, author of The Good Ancestor comes up with six conversation starters to have a Good Ancestor chat:

  1. Deep-Time Humility: What have been your most profound experiences of deep time, and how do they affect you?
  2. Intergenerational Justice: What, for you, are the most powerful reasons for caring about future generations.
  3. Legacy Mindset: What legacy do you want to leave your family, your community and for the living world?
  4. Transcendent Goal: What do you think should be the ultimate goal of the human species?
  5. Holistic Forecasting: Do you anticipate a future of civilisational breakdown, radical transformation or a different pathway?
  6. Cathedral Thinking: What long term projects could you purse others that extend beyond your own lifetime.

As the COVID pandemic keeps growing and growing, I think it is time we all become good ancestors and realize the planet is not just here for us to survive the years we are on it, what does society say about being good ancestors, lets have a look:

1.David Ross Brower was a prominent environmentalist and the founder of many environmental organizations, including the John Muir Institute for Environmental Studies, Friends of the Earth (1969), Earth Island Institute(1982), North Cascades Conservation Council, and Fate of the Earth Conferences.

2. Sustainability vs. Economics, which will save the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBEGxqJKup8

3. In Australia we are slowly learning that 60,000 years of warden-ship mean that we should listen to the indigenous people of our land.

4. Thomas Berry,was a cultural historian and scholar of the world’s religions, especially Asian traditions. Later as he studied Earth history and evolution, he called himself a “geologian.”  He rejected the label “theologian” or “ecotheologian” as too narrow and not descriptive of his cultural studies in history of religions. He was drawn early on to respond to the growing ecological and climate crisis and proposed the need for a “New Story” of evolution in 1978. In this essay he suggested that a deep understanding of the history and functioning of the evolving universe is a necessary inspiration and guide for our own effective functioning as individuals and as a species: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4_lUpnIoTo

5. I still have the stone my youngest nephew gave me, he is now 29.

6. Essentially to fall in love with nature and defend it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQOaUnSmJr8

7. And remember it will be their world longer than it will be ours!

8. And their kids as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvuN_WvF1to

9. Another indigenous race not listened to in the USA.

10. Can you hear it still, or is all the industry too loud: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH2J81ZjsGk

11. We have forgotten this on most continents!!!

12. Said a long time ago, now we have kids climate strikes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1Lu5udXEZI

13. And we are stupid enough to do this.

14. Penny Lancaster is best known as Rod Stewart’s partner, yet has a personal fortune of 20 million pounds sterling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEAu5TFAUpE&list=PLwoaKzAN8kVmMdMqdlelhS4j2WfpFiWPq

15. Just remember 2020 and how can we not.

The three quotes in the articles are good reason of rus to become good ancestors as soon as we can, here they are:

“We’re using 1.6 Earths every year. We’re using more resources than we can naturally regenerate and create more waste than can be naturally absorbed in a carbon sink.”

“What I see is that my daughter or her great grand-child are not alone. They are in a web of relationships with people, with community, but they are also in the web of the living world. They need air to breathe and food to eat.”

“I don’t think this is going to be easy, and that all our problems will necessarily be solved. But there is the possibility. What we’re seeing in the world now is what transformative change looks like.”

Today’s playlist is from rock and roll royalty and includes some intercultural songs. We start with Sir Paul McCartney and friends, Leanne Rime’s golden voice is next. CSNY take us back to a golden period of rock. Little Dicky and Olena Uutai fill inthe middle. The penultimate song is by Matthew West and we finish with John Legend: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJlQ3F9bKYruwVK7IDiAHKUvlsdM1-dk8

I hold my ethos, Love and Respect for All, Everyone Included as a Cathedral Project – it will continue much past my lifetime. Until next time, my dear friends.