Several years ago, just before I became publisher of Minnesota Women’s Press, I finished writing the first draft of a novel called “Evolve.” Each letter in EVOLVE, according to the main character, stood for a different concept behind human transformation. The last “E” stood for error — the chance encounters that populate our world.
The novel is largely about how we crash and collide into each other, creating new universes every day.
One character in “Evolve” says: “We long for a simpler time, when we can feel safely cocooned by interaction that is predictable, when ‘this’ does ‘that.’ Predictability implies that there is a right answer, a structure that will not change. But science, even in its cause equals effect world, also keeps reminding us that we live in an infinite universe. At our most micro level, and in the stars above, nothing stays the same. Ever. That means it is up to us to become our own center, finding strength in ourselves and each other.”
The world looks scary right now to all of us. It is the same world that has been scary to millions of people well before today — refugees, victims of war, survivors of violence, the invisible and disenfranchised. For once, it seems, we are all fearful at the same time about what might lie around the corner.
Science of Our Evolution: Cliffs Notes Version
The original bang of hydrogen fused into helium and gave birth to carbon and nitrogen. That led to the geological, hydrothermal environment on Earth, which gave rise to the metabolism of microbes, and evolved into the photosynthesis of plants. The transformation of cells led — a few million years ago in Africa — to humankind.
In other words, we started with the smallest of chemicals and organisms and — despite our varied wisdoms — there we remain, a fusion of egg and sperm cells that continues to be the ignition to life.
It is unsettling that a tiny viral mutation in one person halfway across the world can bring down the entirety of human structure. Just as it should be unsettling to more of us that human behavior is bringing 1 million species of plants and animals to extinction. As an NBC News report said on the subject last year, “This could have serious consequences for the stability of ecosystems around the world, which in turn could directly affect human health, experts say. The interactions between animals, plants, humans, and the environment make up a complex web. Disruptions to any part of this biological architecture can have significant, cascading effects.”
Changes in the building blocks of our biologies, our thoughts, and our perspectives are always happening. For good and for painful, we are continually evolving — through our connections — into something new, individually and collectively. COVID-19 reminds us that we are part of an ecosystem that consists of much more than people.
It is not simply the politics of our choices that dictate our future. The microbes our planet consists of have a stronger voice than money can buy.
In this Quaranzine 1.2, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, we begin a deeper exploration of the science and ideas of our ecosystem and the realities of our lives today.
In Quaranzine 1.3, we will focus on the potentials of Transformation.
Tapestry — Annie Hejny: In Nature
Ecosystem — Silent Spring: Ecology and Economics
Health & Healing — Kyoko Katayama: Urgency and Timelessness
Art of Living — Beaudelaine Pierre: La Régle des Trois Unités
Perspective — Siena Iwasaki Milbauer: This is Personal
Action = Change — SeeDo: 50th Anniversary of Earth Day
WomensPress.com — Stories You Might Have Missed
Cover Artwork: “Growing Community,” 48’ x 60’, Alison Price, alisonpricestudios.com