Climate Change Requires Consciousness Change

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To paraphrase Mark Twain, everyone talks about climate change but no one does anything about it. No one, particularly those in power, wants to make the necessary sacrifices. For example, the US government refuses to comply with international environmental agreements. And the Japanese government recently announced that CO2 emissions there would be increasing rather than decreasing as promised.

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Clearly we need a global reordering of priorities, away from short-term economic gains and towards long-term sustainability. But we’ve known this for decades, and the problem continues to worsen although scientists insist we could solve it if we had the will. Generating the will to make these changes, both in our personal lives and in the economic structures we are caught in, is going to require a change of consciousness.

My new book, Wellsprings: A Fable of Consciousness, approaches ecology from that dimension. The novel is set in 2026 as the earth’s ecosystem has broken down under human abuse. Water supplies are shrinking. Rain is rare, and North America is gripped in the Great Drought with crops withering and forests dying. In the midst of environmental and social collapse, an old woman and a young man set out to heal nature and reactivate the cycle of flow by using techniques of higher consciousness. But the corporations that control the remaining water lash out to stop them.

In the story water is analogous to consciousness. People are out of contact with their own inner wellsprings of consciousness, so their lives are withering. And their ignorant actions have driven the earth’s water deep underground, so nature is withering. Human life and the earth’s life are trapped in suffering. The book shows the two main characters evolving their consciousness to a level where they can sense the water and restore its natural flow for humanity and the earth. A blend of adventure, ecology, and mystic wisdom, Wellsprings: A Fable of Consciousness is a frightening but hopeful look into a future that is looming closer every day.

The book begins with the narrator, Bob, getting ready to leave his hometown in California after graduating from high school:

Long Beach

Pack my rucksack and get out of this place. Like the song says, “I’m leavin’ LA, baby. Don’t you know this smog has got me down.” Taj Mahal, a blues singer. I found his album — one of those old black discs — in a box with a bunch of others in granddad’s garage. Old record player with it, kind that goes around and ’round. Been listening to them ever since — all gramp’s favorites from the sixties and seventies when he was a kid. Great songs … despite the scratches.

He said the smog then was nothing compared to what we got now. They didn’t have alkali smog back then. We’re breathing borax and potash blown in with the dust. Granddad died of emphysema but he never smoked. The doc said some people are more sensitive than others. I got his heredity. Mom and dad coughing, especially when they wake up. Even hear the neighbors coughing. Gotta get outta here. “We gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do.” Another song — The Animals.

Animals now are dying even in the zoos. Birds gone.

Like to take all his old records with me, but no room in the rucksack. They’ll be here when I come back … if I come back. Mom and dad will be pissed I just left them a letter. But if I told them, they’d just pressure me into staying again, like they did last time I told them I wanted to go. No money for college. They want me to get some shit job here. If I’m going to have a shit job, I want it to be at least some place where I can breathe.

Rucksack’s pretty heavy. Outta here.

Little bungalow house like the others. Dust on all the window sills. Sand in the drain spouts. Hasn’t rained this year. Wind patterns have changed so it rains over the ocean but hardly ever over the land. Grass died, then even the weeds died. At least the dirt won’t die. The Great Drought, they call it. I don’t know what’s so great about it.

Strap the pack on the back of the little Honda 250 bike, spark it alive. So long, Long Beach. Miles of bungalows, fourplex apartments, gas stations, strip malls. Sand on the road, sand in the gutters, sky cloudless but gray. Plenty of water for people who can afford it, but there’s fewer and fewer of those. Outta here.

The first three chapters are available at www.peacewriter.org.


William T. Hathaway’s first novel, A World of Hurt, won a Rinehart Foundation Award. He has also published a young-adult novel, CD-Ring, and a nonfiction book, Radical Peace: People Refusing War. Currently he is an adjunct professor of American studies at the University of Oldenburg in Germany.

Wellsprings – A Fable of Consciousness by William T. Hathaway, published by Cosmic Egg (an imprint of John Hunt Publishing, September 2013.

ISBN: 978-1-78099-994-4 Paperback (100PP) $12.95  |  £6.99 September 2013

EISBN: 978-1-78099-993-7 (eBook) £3.99 $6.95

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About Saleena Karim

Saleena is a writer and publisher, best known for authoring the political biography "Secular Jinnah & Pakistan". As well as being the co-brainchild of the Visionary Fiction Alliance, she is the author of the award-winning visionary fiction novel "Systems", which is also part of the curricular reading material and the Marghdeen Learning Center, Karachi.
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2 Responses to Climate Change Requires Consciousness Change

  1. Hi William. From your description in this post, WELLSPRINGS is not only a perfect example of Visionary Fiction (adventure, ecology, and mystic wisdom; frightening, but hopeful), but timely as well. What in your fable takes place in 2026, has already been set in motion today, especially in California. "Water supplies are shrinking. Rain is rare." I read this week about the disappearance of thousands upon thousands of Monarch Butterflies, and we already know about the continued loss of our bee population. I like that your story makes water analogous to consciousness – a great image to put in the reader's mind. I also like your use of the word "will" in your introduction. Yes, we need the "will" to solve our problems and the "will" to make changes, in order for a change of consciousness to take place. Congratulations on the Rinehart Foundation Award for A WORLD OF HURT. I hope this novel gains recognition as well. It's a story that needs to be told – and needs to be read. Welcome to VFA!

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  2. vicsmith0123 says:

    Thanks much, William, for contributing to the VFA site. Wellsprings sounds like a book that everyone should read as we prepare for the dire future that already seems inevitable, at least to some degree. Sounds like a more planet-wide version of Monty Joynes's Dead Water RItes, which I heard is required reading for the Univ. of Arizona Ecological program. Sounds like yours should be in the curriculum also.

    Which reminds me of a powerful example of VF being used to open awareness and spur action when the planet was threatened with extinction from the reckless proliferation of nuclear weapons in the '50s and '60s. Canticle for Liebowitz (Walter M. Miller) and Alas Babylon (Pat Frank) come to mind. We can't even estimate the impact such works had in curtailing nuclear activity, but I know such books gave me nightmares, fully warranted, and made me an activist about a clear and present danger I did not have the science to comprehend. With your book you may be instituting a trend that will finally get the public head out of the sand on this issue before it is too late.

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