Saturday, 04 May 2013 14:10

Responsibility in the web of life

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Humans have been running rampant over the planet for centuries, but really, it wasn't until about 100 years ago that our impact really began to be felt. It was right around the time of the industrial revolution that humans were able to poison the land, sea, and air in such a widespread way.  It wasn't until our technology enabled us to have such widespread power that we were able to enact such widespread destruction.

I consider environmental consciousness to be one of the core virtues of my spiritual path. The earth is my Mother, the earth is my home, and all of the earth's children - whether they are stone, leaf, bone, fur, scale, shell, or root - they are all my brothers and sisters.  My spiritual path demands that I understand that I am connected to these things; and if one suffers, everything on the planet suffers.

Because the dodo bird went extinct 300 years ago, the tambalacoque tree is now on the verge of extinction.  The tambalacoque's seeds need to pass through the digestive tract of the dodo in order to properly germinate. No dodos, no new tambalacoque trees.  No new tambalacoques, no new life forms - bugs and birds and lichens that will live there. No more wood or medicine from that tree.  Three hundred years later do we finally understand the further implications of the dodo's extinction.

So, what of all of these species that disappear in record numbers now?  Though the numbers are hard to pinpoint, the World Wildlife Federation estimates between 200 and 100,000 species go extinct every year.  While species go extinct on their own due to natural causes, the rate that the WWF estimates is 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. Humankind is directly responsible for the loss of most of the biodiversity on this planet.

If this happens, what will precipitate is a desertification of our planet, a collapse of biodiversity, because it's all linked together. Life feeds on itself, and when the body is poisoned, life is poisoned. Humanity has that power to make it happen. We are making this nightmare come true, but will we listen to the sages and the seers, the scientists and the activists who are ringing the warning bells, or will we ignore them as we blunder into self-destruction?

The problem is that while we humans are short sighted, our intelligence has allowed us to have a large reach.  This is a dangerous combination. I often look at humanity's stewardship of the environment as one might look at a five year old child carrying a chainsaw.  We have got to evolve a consciousness of awareness to the earth, and our impact upon it. It has to happen for humanity, as a whole.

Things are seriously out of balance. I feel it all over the energy currents as a whole. And it's going to take a change in ourselves as a whole, our whole species, all of humanity, to fix it and prevent our own extinction. Our cleverness is going to kill us, but our wisdom can save us.

I call the earth "Goddess." She is family and home to me, and I have pledged my allegiance to her, that I may protect and honor her. It's important for me to take care of her, because it is important for me to take care of myself. Awareness of the Goddess has brought me to an understanding that She is me, and I am her, that I am humanity and humanity is me, that I am life, and life is me.  I am one thread in the web, and I am the whole web; I am one drop in the ocean and I am all of the oceans on all of the planets in all of the universe. 

Every day, may we realize that we are connected to everything in the web of life, and act with responsibility as a result.

Only after the last tree has been cut down.
Only after the last river has been poisoned.
Only after the last fish has been caught.
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

 - Cree prophesy