EARTHFUTURE.COM by Guy Dauncey
In Cervantes' classic book Don Quixote, published
400 years ago, Don Quixote is a retired country gentleman obsessed
with the ideal of courteous chivalry. He lives out the fantasy of
becoming a noble knight, rescuing damsels in distress and tilting
at windmills, for which he is mocked by his neighbours.
In 1965, his book became a Broadway play, which included
the song The Impossible Dream; you can hear on You Tube if
you search Impossible Dream and ignore the Honda ad.
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
And to run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star...
Why has the song become so popular? Because it speaks
of great dreams and action motivated by nobility of spirit. Our
history is full of injustice and cruelty. There have always been
those who revel in their self-importance as they beat, humiliate
or kill their victims. History is also full of people falling prey
to collective madness: people who empty the ocean of fish and people
who profit from fossil fuels even though global warming will cause
untold misery for future generations.
Why, however, is our world not completely dominated
by injustice, cruelty and folly? Why have so many good things been
achieved in spite of these tendencies? The answer lies in the song:
that throughout history, individuals have been stirred by injustice
and folly to right the unrightable wrong, to fight the unbeatable
What motivates Paul Watson to take on the Japanese
whaling fleet, or pianist Daniel Barenboim to bring young Israeli
and Arab musicians together to perform concerts in Israel, Palestine
and around the world? What motivates Jane Goodall to work so hard
to protect the chimpanzees and other wildlife around the world?
The same deep-rooted urge the impossible dream.
Where would we be without it? No democracy, no social
justice, no end to slavery; no socialized health care, no ecological
protection. To this, we can add the achievements of scientists,
doctors, engineers and explorers who pushed the boundaries to open
new worlds of possibility. The list includes those who took up arms
to stop the Nazis, inspired by their determination "to fight the
unbeatable foe." Far from being crazy, "to dream the impossible
dream" might be the sanest of all responses to the challenges
we face which brings us to the present.
On May 4, two young Vancouverites, Stephanie Tait and
Matt Hill, are embarking on their impossible dream the
Run for One Planet. They asked themselves what the world will look
like for those who will inherit it and they didn't like what they
saw. They believe in the power of the individual, but they realized
that most people don't know how they can make a difference.
So they developed the idea to run a marathon a day
for a whole year, covering 11,000 miles from Vancouver to Newfoundland,
down the East Coast to Florida, across the south to Los Angeles
and up the West Coast to home. Along the way, they will stop in
cities and towns to motivate people to make new choices for our
planet, asking them to become "Environmental Ambassadors" and
make up to 10 personal actions that will make a difference. They
want to inspire a million actions and raise $1 million to enable
others to organize more One Planet Marathons. My heart swells for
what they are undertaking. To follow their dream, see www.runforoneplanet.com
We live at a time of great crisis, which calls for
great dreams. If we all reach deep inside and ask, "What is my
impossible dream?" we will be able to achieve the "Great Transformation"
that is so urgently needed to create a just, sustainable world without
homelessness, poverty, pollution, food shortages and the many other
perils that confront us.
Guy Dauncey is president of the BC Sustainable Energy Association
(www.bcsea.org) and author of Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions
to Global Climate Change. www.earthfuture.com