Healing the Earth
"When you wake up and see that the Earth is not just the environment, the Earth is us, you touch the nature of interbeing. And at that moment you can have real communication with the Earth…We have to wake up together.
And if we wake up together, then we have a chance. Our way of living our life and planning our future has led us into this situation. And now we need to look deeply to find a way out, not only as individuals but as a collective, a species."
(Thich Nhat Hanh from Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet)
In the middle of the hottest summer on record, and another season of rampant wildfires, the impact of the current climate crisis is very present. The litany of impending challenges is a long list from rising sea levels and deforestation to food insecurity and extreme weather events.
Climate change is a multifaceted issue encompassing various sciences, politics, economics, history, psychology, and spirituality. Regardless of the lens used to view the issue, environmental racism and justice are intertwined within all of it. The climate crisis presents a critical global challenge, posing significant obstacles to vulnerable communities worldwide. The impact of greenhouse gas emissions and resulting global warming extends far and wide, disproportionately affecting low-income countries and communities, indigenous populations, and other marginalized groups.
Some very pragmatic conversations are needed about the extent of the problem, both global and local, as well as possible solutions. Recycle/Reuse/Repurpose. Good, and yet we need more, much more, in order to reverse hundreds of years of exploitation and oppression of people, nations, and the Earth.
What will it take to write a new future for a sustainable world, for all?
When we practice mindful living, listen deeply to all that is, and awaken to the understanding that we are part of the Earth, and the Earth is part of us, addressing climate change becomes grounded in a spiritual knowing of the inherent oneness of creation. Then the questions we ask, the actions we take, will emerge from this perspective of connection and compassion.
This approach is fundamentally different than if we see the Earth, and each other, as separate, other, out there…not my problem.
This shift is one step forward in helping to heal the planet.
Activist/Writer/Educator Jordan Sanchez writes:
No one is asking you to plant a billion trees,
Or develop renewable energies,
But we all have to contribute
To this international society.
Big problems are made up of little ones,
And solutions are the same way.
Acceptance is the last stage of grief, but this state is impossible to claim.
The world will never be the same,
Call the crisis by name — climate denial.
All it takes to break those chains is mindful living,
and small steps that still make a difference.
(from her poem On Climate Denial).
What we say, what we do, and where we begin…it all matters as we work for justice.
Mindful living. Small steps make a difference. Hope matters.
Even in the face of these challenges, the future is not yet written.
We are writing it now.
Photo by Daniel Olha, Unsplash
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