This is an extraordinary time to be alive.

It is, arguably, the most important period in the history of humanity.

We face the most extraordinary challenges. The twin apocalyptic horseman of climate change and the loss of biological diversity are laying waste to so many of the world’s ecosystems. Global economic systems are failing. War and conflict plague us on nearly every continent.

And now, we see that these three monumental challenges have a common source: borrowing from tomorrow to pay for today. We have failed to respect the natural limits of our life-support systems, and in doing so, have amassed a staggering ecological and economic debt. The scarcity that this had created has lead Dennis C. Blair, the head of US Intelligence — the umbrella organization that overseas the FBI, the CIA and the NSA — to site the global economic crisis as his number one concern for global security.

While the world faces nearly unprecedented threats, I believe we have both the skill and the opportunity to meet them.

And so we have a choice to make:

What do we want to be doing during this most important time in the course of human kind? What do we want to be doing as individuals, and what do we want to do collectively, as a community, as a society, as a species?

The choices that we make now, today, will carry us as individuals and as a species into the next perihelion shift.

The perihelion is the point at which a celestial body, such as a planet or comet, is in its closest orbit to its star. In the case of Earth, the perihelion orbit takes place roughly every 23,500 years. That’s the point at which the Earth’s orbit is closest to the Sun. This perihelion is influenced by all of the other celestial bodies in the solar system. Other planets, moons, comets, and even factors like gasses and dust can influence the perihelion. If none of these other factors were involved, then the earth’s orbit around the Sun, for example, would always be exactly the same. But the gravitational forces of all the other objects spinning through space play a role in determining our trajectory.

People have been observing this for more than a hundred and fifty years. And during that time, they have noted anomalies in their calculations of the parabolic orbits that celestial bodies make around the sun. In short, sometimes planets and other bits of rock and ice, hurtling through space, don’t do what we expect them to: they experience a perihelion shift. Their orbits change unexpectedly. Astronomers guess that these shifts are the result of unforeseen forces: a moon or an asteroid, or even a dust cloud, that they can’t see which influences the gravity of the orbiting body.

We as a species are drawing near to the sun. Who among us will be that gravitational pull that creates the desperately needed perihelion shift that sets us on a new trajectory?

What will your part be in that shift? Your relative gravity need not be immense. Small things can create great change. A meteor can change the parabolic orbit of a planet. But we must choose. Now is not the time to be passive. Decide: what do you want to be doing during this most important time in the history of humanity. And then do it: joyfully, passionately, intelligently, and above all else, with love.

Drawing Closer to the Sun, Varkala, India

Drawing Closer to the Sun, Varkala, India