This week, on the hottest day ever recorded in France, climate protesters were pepper-sprayed, showing how the irony of life sometimes achieves cinematic levels. Meanwhile in America, protesting pipelines can now land someone in jail for up to a decade. In Montana after a summer solstice snowstorm, our governor considers the Keystone XL pipeline. As a culture habitually avoidant of reality, even we are achieving new unbelievable levels of denial as the environment breaks down before our eyes.

Our economic system rewards pathological individualism and we are indoctrinated to believe this a moral superiority. We praise ourselves for “freedom” while the wealth gap grows and the effects of corporate domination render our planet and our communities’ baron of real life. We decry socialism in health care and education while the government subsidizes fast food, fossil fuels and weapons manufacturing. America, supposedly the greatest country in the world, is the only large, rich nation without a functional universal health care system. Meanwhile, the oil companies stack their trillions.

What is it going to take to wake up to terrible game we play that goes by the name “normal?” Normal has gotten us endemics of disease, insatiable craving for more stuff, isolated and alienated communities, regular school shootings, wealth inequality, entrenched bigotry, permanent global warfare, and now, potentially, apocalyptic climate change. When will we start to question the story we’ve been fed and look for the answers not on the television but within our own humanity?

We have a shrinking window of time to come together as a species. Reality is showing her hand. Business-as-usual beyond the next decade will mean the end of humans. The time has come to make a choice: Wake up and change or go down swinging for the delusions of pride, greed and broken ideology.

Kristopher Drummond