This world will be unmade.

Will it be by the creep of increasing vapors altering the chemistry of our atmosphere and oceans? By the waters and winds of a weather cataclysm? By the scorching inferno of an unstoppable fire? By the armed conflict of desperate peoples battling for the scarce resources that remain? Which demon will unmake this world for us?

Or can we unmake this world by choice?

We have made this world by our choices.

  • Our choice to privilege our immediate comfort over our long-term sustenance.
  • Our choice to prioritize our wealth and safety over the freedom of other peoples.
  • Our choice to strip our land and oceans of resources to manufacture into perishable goods, dump the excess, and ignore the byproducts.
  • Our choice to sacrifice our own lives on the altar of Apple, Instagram, and Adidas, listening to the call of profit, for the benefit of our lord, Perpetual Growth.

Just as we chose to make this world, we can choose to unmake it. It is not too late.

We are scared and it is dark. It feels easier to huddle down and cling to what we know and believe we can hold: our Lexus SUVs, our iced Frappuccinos, our Egyptian cotton sheets that bind us inside the sepulcher of our consumerist lifestyle.

But the end is coming. We can choose to release ourselves and walk forward into the darkness, or we can be prey to the demons that come seeking us in these homes they know only too well. We have bound ourselves so tightly and so long that we no longer know what it looks like to walk free of the burdens of coveting and consuming, junking and judging.

Although we do not know it, we can feel it. We can feel deep inside what it means to build without buying, to live without lying, to try without tying ourselves to a corporate economy that always wants more, takes more, destroys more. Always with a smile on its face.

We must trust not in what we know but in what we can feel — that our lives are about relationship with other people and with the world around us. And we must take small, meaningful steps toward it. This is the key to releasing ourselves, to abandon this consumerist sepulcher and vanquish our self-made demons. We must make one small, meaningful movement each day to unmake our world, and to remake it as the entwining of our individual and collective connections.

This world will be unmade.

The question is by whom.

Jim Schwartz is an Oak Park resident, an educator, and a blogger at

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