We Must Change our Relationship with the Earth
By Jean Hudon
Jean Hudon has been Coordinator of the Earth Rainbow Network (ERN) since February 1997 and distribute by email 3 compilations every week on a wide range of subjects. Subscription is free. Simply ask him at email@example.com to put you on the ERN list.
For centuries, man has been developing what is now called modern civilization. From the situation known by our ancestors when Nature was perceived as a Mighty Force that could break a human life as easily as one breaks a twig of wood to today's situation where breaking the seemingly tamed force of Nature is as easy as flipping on the motor of a bulldozer and pushing down trees, much has changed.
We are no longer under the yoke of unforeseeable circumstances brought upon us by Nature and we basically seem to control much of our environment and the circumstances of our lives. Yet, this is merely an illusion. The reality is that we still rely on the vast, magnificent and intricate web of Life for much of our survival, but act as if we are now totally independent from Nature. Thanks to our much vaunted technology and science, we think we can affect whatever situation to our advantage and avoid almost totally the dire consequences of the uncontrollable forces of Nature that our ancestors had to cope with.
But this is indeed an illusion, a very dangerous Illusion. The only thing that has really changed is our own perception of ourselves and of our relationship with Nature and its myriad life-forms. We think we can do whatever we want, cut down whole forests, strip-mine the land and sea and burn as much stuff as we need to increase our economic output without ever facing the consequences of our deeds. Or so it seemed until recently when, first, some leading scientists, and then the media, the government and the rest of us discovered that it wasn't such. In fact, as we are now used to hear, see and read, the whole world is under constant threat of increased environmental destruction and utter pollution from noxious fumes, toxic chemicals and radioactive material leaching out and seeping in every corner of our planet. Now the threat to our survival does not come from some outside menacing forces but from man-made pollution and environmental disruption.
So what is there to conquer now. What mighty enemy should we fight to save our world. Well, this time it seems that the enemy is within us or, in fact, within the very thought processes and reference values on which is based and from which is derived the complete spectrum of activities of human civilization. This is the most dangerous enemy we ever had for to be able to just glance a look at it, we must step out of our usual, day-to-day activities and thinking, and give a thorough and critical look at who we are and what we think we are. We must look at what we do and re-evaluate our whole set of premises and cultural bias which determines how we relate to each other and with the world in general.
We can no longer assume that what we have thought and done so far is still the right thing to think and do, for thus we will head on as blindly and unconsciously as the lemmings toward our collective mass-suicide. The Earth cannot withstand any more our selfish behavior. Something MUST change. And to make the change possible, we each have to do our own personal revolution of thinking and habits. We must learn to respect the natural processes of Life. We must listen to the signs that we hear and change according to our most inner feelings and intuitions what has to be changed in our individual lives. We must Recycle, Reuse and Reduce. We must cling to these changes in awareness, perception and action until it becomes a matter-of-fact, usual thing to do, not only for us but for the whole world. For we are all in the same boat. There is obviously only one Earth and the time to stop destroying it is very short.
How do we make the changes that are necessary
an absolute priority for all people on Earth?
As we have seen in the last few decades, a growing number of organizations have been campaigning non-stop to make us and our governments aware of the impending threats. Some are carrying their message in a very provocative way; others are acting in a more discreet manner. Globally, we can say we all heard the Call and know the time is short to act. Still, those who monitor the vital Life signs of our planet can tell us with great accuracy that, in reality, the global situation is increasingly worsening, even if there are now signs of hope. All is not desperate but the hardest, most important steps to stop and reverse the destruction of our environment have yet to be taken.
So what can be done to alleviate the suffering and hardship our beloved planet is experiencing at our hands?... How can we become part of the solution instead of part of the problem?... This is what we urgently have to think about and discover as ticks away the doomsday clock of man-made despoiling of this planet's environment.
One of the first things that may come to mind is to mobilize people around the world, draw attention to this urgent situation and require some immediate actions from our governments and industries, just as happened during Earth Day 2000. But where do we begin with? What exact problem should be ask must be solved now? Again the most obvious thing to ask is to put an end to any further destruction of our environment. Knowing that before we could tackle the huge problem of planetary regeneration and repair we must first cease to tolerate the present state of all-out assault on the forests, oceans and all living beings on whose health depends our common survival, we will therefore strive to face the real culprits and demand an immediate ceasing of all activities detrimental to our global common heritage.
Let's think a bit now on how this could be implemented. A first observation we can make is that we somehow all share a part of the blame for the on-going destruction of the environment. Every act we pose as a consumer or even as a simple human being has consequences on the delicate balance of Life on Earth. For billions of years Life has been able to establish a stronghold everywhere on Earth thanks to unceasing adjustments and adaptation to an evolving environment. But now, as we know too well, this equilibrium is perilously thrown out of balance because of too rapid and too many changes have been brought about to the global environment by our collective human activities.
The consequences of this imbalance is the fast disappearance of genetic diversity on Earth as millions of species pass the threshold of extinction. This is the one single most dangerous and disturbing result of our so-called modern civilization, for as we lose genetic diversity, it is the result of billions of years of evolution as well as the ability to adapt to future environmental changes that disappear.
According to the National Geographic Magazine, August 1990, "Half of Earth's rain forests have already been cleared, and experts predict that most of what's left will be gone in 50 years. "Think of it", says Peter Raven, Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden, USA. "All this deforestation is destroying each year an area roughly the size of Illinois (or Switzerland). About one-quarter of all biological diversity in the world - more than a million species - will likely vanish in the next quarter century. No extinction episode of this magnitude has occurred during the past 65 million years. The great majority of these species - and their potential for humanity - will disappear unknown." Unfortunately, this trend has only accelerated since this was published 10 years ago as millions of acres of rainforest are clearcut or slashed and burned every year.
This is like taking away one by one the organs and cells that allow our body to function and hoping that it will continue to live without showing any sign of weakening. This attitude of shortsightedness is bordering on suicidal madness. The only reason for this to be is our too great emphasis on short term economic gains as we are driven by the mad mechanisms of obscure market forces that compete to attract and possess as much wealth as possible for as few individuals as possible. This is really like a cancer eating away our whole environmental body for totally selfish and destructive purposes.
As in an alerted body where the immune system is mobilizing its vital forces and defenses to prevent such a cancer to destroy the whole body, we, the alerted world public opinion, must also mobilize the best of ourselves to fight the accelerated destruction of our planetary body and avert in time the deadly consequences we can easily foresee. This mobilization has already begun but not on a big enough scale yet to really affect the tragic outcome we all face. A better concertation of all forces must take place before any successful strategy of planetary healing may occur.
This is possible for it has been done once with great success in the 80s and 90s to stop the war machines and start dismantling the legacy of hate and mistrust left over by centuries of wars and vicious barbary. At last, we can breathe a little bit easier. But we should not be mislead by the relaxed atmosphere of global cooperation that gradually emerges. This was an essential first step in correcting the worst effects of solidly ingrained human tendencies and misconceptions. Many more steps are still needed for this to succeed in the responsible partnership with the Forces of Life that must bloom now for our species, and countless others, to survive and strive. A future of unbounded discoveries and joys is awaiting us a few more steps away on our collective path of evolution. But we must first make *together* and *responsibly* these next few steps before the miracle of Life may open to us new unsuspected vistas on our future Destiny.
Now is the time for concerted action to save our world and ourselves, to save our children and the promise of a mighty future awaiting in the Life Path of their own children's children. Now is the time to rally all our forces to fan the Flame of Life, Love and individual Responsibility. Now is the time to step together on the Path of a bright future, leaving behind centuries of hatred, egoism and death.
To achieve this momentous change, a certain number of simple steps are proposed hereafter for each individual and group. Please take enough time now to consider how you could become involved in co-creating with others around the world what will assuredly become a major turning point in the fight to save our planet. Feel free to let your imagination work to find more ideas as to how you may contribute. But at least do not throw away this invitation that comes to your hands. Make copies of it and pass it on to as many of your friends as possible around you, in your city or country, in your organization or company and make sure they also take time to read it and pass it on to others as well. This way, countless people will also be alerted and share the same concern to act quickly to save our world while it is still time.
So much lip-service is paid to the public concern for the environment by the governments and industries in general that we can hardly rely on their current level of involvement to trust the real solutions and changes will be implemented soon. This is why we have to get personally involved in the Fight for Life, for this concerns us all. This way, "they" won't be able to let this concern fade away through subtle media manipulation and fake public relation efforts. The heat will be on "their" back and "they" will respond or face elimination by consumer boycott or political misfortune.
So please, again, do respond to this appeal and thank you, on behalf of all Life, for becoming part of the Solution.