Gaian Connection: Our Relationship With The Living Biological Planet We Call Home (PART 3)
Bright Minds Agree
Global Warming acts on the planet like a cigarrete does to the human body. Each cigarette poisons the body a bit more, slowly and gradually destroying our system. Global warming is a cancer to the body of the planet whose effects are gradual and cumulative, slowly spreading like an infection until some system starts to fail.
At the end of the day you can listen and believe to whoever or whatever you want. You can believe, like some do, that this is all a big hoax or a natural cycle that the planet is going through, but this isn’t the most intelligent of decisions. I think it’s wiser to listen to science and rationality instead. Listen to the words of the wisest and brightest minds of our time, listen to the words of the world’s best scientists. They all agree; on our current path, global warming is irreversible–and getting worse. In 1994, fifteen hundred of the world’s top scientists, including a majority of living Nobel Prize winners, issued a plea regarding environmental problems: “The earth is finite. Its ability to absorb wastes and destructive effluents is finite. Its ability to provide food and energy is finite. Its ability to provide for growing numbers of people is finite. Moreover, we are fast approaching many of the earth’s limits. current economic practices that damage the environment, in both developed and underdeveloped nations, cannot be continued with the risk that vital global systems will be damaged beyond repair.” That was almost 20 years ago and what has changed? Sadly, almost nothing. We need to see, hear, and listen to the warning calls and signals which are all around us. Record breaking freak storms that are growing in size and strength. Increased flooding in some areas, and periods of extreme droughts and wild fires at others. Tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados, all with increased power and ferocity leading to ever increasing levels of destruction. How far do we want to take this? You want to wait to act until it is your family’s livelihood who is threatened?
Look at all those devastated by Katrina In New Orleans, by Hurricane sandy in the north, by the tsunami in Indonesia. Those left in ashes and ruin due to wild fires in the West Coast of the United States and in Australia. Those devastated by the latest tragedy that was Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. And also the millions across the globe who are suffering the effects of climate change, in myriads of ways, who never make it into the nighttime news and we never hear about them. Feel their suffering and understand that it could be you who’s hit next. If we don’t do something the chaos and devastation caused by global warming ,fueled by modern industrial civilization, will eventually come knocking at our doors. There is nothing natural about what is going on. We pride ourselves on being the consumers but if we are not careful. it will be nature who consumes us. It’s time to Wake Up.
Other’s Suffering And Empathy
We have to use the powerful tool called empathy. We have to put ourselves in the shoes of those who suffer today from climate change and in the shoes of the future generations who are sure to suffer as well. Watch and try to feel the suffering of the millions of Philippino families whose lives have been devastated by the Haiyan Typhoon. But don’t just follow this tragedy on the news and think ‘what a bummer’ and feel sad for the 2 minutes of footage you might watch on TV. I know it might be hard, especially if your watching the chaos and destruction through a T.V screen inside the comfort of your home hundreds of miles away, but try to put yourself in their shoes. Try to realize that it could be you and your family one the other side of the television screen experiencing the suffering. After feeling their pain you might be stirred to do something about it and help in any way you can to fix our world in crisis. In the Mayan language when greeting one another Mayans would say “In laakech,” which means “I am you,” and were answered with the words “A laaken,” which means “You are me.” Realizing that the so called “other” is also “me” and utilizing our power to empathize is crucial for the health and survival of our species.
“Many of our deepest thinkers and many of those most familiar with the scale of the challenges we face have concluded that the transitions required can be achieved only in the context of what I will call the rise of a new consciousness. For some, it is a spiritual awakening–a transformation of the human heart. For others it is a more intellectual process of coming to see the world anew and deeply embracing the emerging ethic of the environment and the old ethic of what it means to love thy neighbor as thyself. But for all it involves major cultural change and a reorientation of what society values and prizes most highly.”
-James Gustave Speth
RE-Discovering our Place in Nature
We have slowly lost our connection to nature, the real thing that lies beyond our human made environments. Due to the technological diversions caused by television, video games, i-pads and i-phones children no longer play outdoors and the current generation of children is one of the most disconnected from nature ever in our history. We need to reverse this trend because it is much easier to disregard, disrespect, and abuse that which we feel separated and isolated from. As technology infiltrates deeper into our lives, building a connection with nature becomes essential, this connection is crucial to the health of our planet and the health of our bodies. Techno gadgets will have an increasingly prevalent role in our lives. Technology is here to stay, there is no denying or avoiding this, and it’s more of a reason why building a relationship with nature is so important. This relationship will give us a chance to step away from the onslaught of our computers, tv’s, and smart phones, and give our over stimulated minds a much needed break, a separation, a chance to relax, take a breath of fresh air if you will. We are slowly starting to realize that connecting with nature is a necessity. So go into the mountain, go on hikes, grow a garden, fish, or find any other way you can think off that will grant you a connection with the wilderness and a allow its simple beauty to captivate your senses. It will make you a happier and fuller person and it will improve the quality of your life. There is a bit of nature inside everyone of us and there is a bit of everyone one of us in nature. Returning to Nature feels a lot like returning home.
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Indigenous tribes, as backwards and “uncivilized” as you want to see them, understand nature far more deeply than we do and they share a special relationship with it. Long ago, they established a symbiotic relationship with the planet understanding that as long as they took care of the land they lived on, the land would take care of them, providing the sustenance they needed to survive. Indigenous tribes from across the globe have been telling us for centuries that the planet is certainly alive and that we need to respect and protect it because after all we are also a part of it. But save your ignorant savage comments for another time, they were truly on to something. Aside from all the spiritual aspects of it, there is enough verifiable scientific evidence to conclude that we hold an intrinsic and intimate relationship with the planet that cannot be ignored.
Traditional societies possess a vast sea of knowledge that would help modern civilization provide direction and management to natural resources. A report in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development entitled Our Common Future called for recognition of and greater respect for the wisdom inherent in traditional societies:
Their very survival has depended upon their ecological awareness and adaptation…. These communities are the repositories of vast accumulations of traditional knowledge and experience than links humanity with its ancient origins. Their disappearance is a loss for the larger society, which could learn a great deal from their traditional skills in sustainably managing very complex ecological systems. It is a terrible irony that as formal development reaches more deeply into the rainforests, deserts, and other isolated environments, it tends to destroy the only cultures that have proved able to thrive in these environments.
Today, modern science is uncovering the intricate and infinite ways in which we are connected with the planet and all other life forms on earth, yet; we remain largely ignorant about the giant matrix of life which surrounds us and which we are a part off. I’m sure that it was easy at first to dismiss and even ridicule the countless Indigenous tribes who prayed to mother nature, claiming the planet was alive and that it had a spirit, and essence, which flowed through the body of the earth. They claimed that this spirit also flowed through the human body and every other living entity, connecting us all. We need to learn from these wise humans who have co-existed with nature for thousands of years, way longer than our modern day civilization. Indigenous people understood how to live within the boundaries of nature and they knew how to survive and sustain their people through long periods of time and this is exactly what we must learn to do. Let’s listen and learn from the wisdom of the indigenous people, combine it with our modern technical minds, mix it with creativity, imagination, and the dynamic human spirit and what we could achieve is unthinkable. Insisting that we protect the earth, our planet, our home, can no longer be dismissed as Indigenous backwardness or as Hippy mumbo jumbo. Our connection and dependance on the planet exists and the threats from environmental destruction are very real. We are the cause of all our problems but we are also the solutions.
Maintaining a planet in good health is essential for the health of the human body. If we hope to live a life of health and well-being we need healthy, clean, fresh waters and foods. We need to breathe clean, pristine air into our lungs and we need a healthy dose of sunshine and exercise. The human body is a self-sustaining organism and it is designed to keep us healthy, but we need to set up a healthy environment not only within, but also outside, to allow our bodies to work correctly. A human being’s natural condition is to be in a state of good health and we should reap all the benefits of such a state by providing our bodies with the simple but essentials things that it needs. We know how to live healthy lives but we need to reach deep into our beings and allow this ancient knowledge to resurface.
“More and more people sense at some level that there’s a great misdirection of life’s energy. We have channeled our desires, our insecurities, our need to demonstrate our worth and our success, our wanting to fit in and to stand out increasingly into material things–into bigger homes, fancier cars, grander appliances, exotic vacations. But in the background we cannot help but know that ‘the best things in life are free’ and that ‘money can’t buy love.’ We know we’re slighting the precious things that no market can provide–that truly make life worthwhile. We sense that we are hollowing out whole areas of life, of individual and social autonomy, and of nature and that, if we don’t wake up, we will soon lose the chance to return, to reclaim ourselves, our neglected society, our battered world, because if we are not more careful soon, there will be nothing left to reclaim, nothing left to return to.”
-James Gustave Speth