We’re more powerful than we know. Together we can collectively create a miracle to reverse climate change and help provide the conditions for Earth to heal. I’m hopeful, because even though I may be completely wrong, it’s a strategy we have not fully explored. Let’s explore it.
What would it involve?
It would involve us treating Earth as we would a cherished loved one who is ailing, so that the physical care (recycling, carbon drawdown, carbon emissions) has a better chance of having an impact. We are advocating that we provide emotional and spiritual care for Earth, by way of a routine practice of being present when outdoors, noticing and appreciating our natural world, expressing gratitude, celebrating Earth using creative expression, and/or praying or meditating for Earth healing
What would it cost?
How long would it take?
No time at all since you can do it in the course of your usual activities. You just have to be more intentional to cherish Earth when in the natural world.
What’s standing in our way?
I don’t know for sure but I have my guesses:
I feel we may have some cynicism regarding whether we can create a miracle. What I do know is that if we don’t try, this will fail for sure.
I feel we feel powerless and many of us have lost hope. What I do know is that hope is lost if we give up.
I feel we may be scared that we may try and be disappointed. What I do know is we’ll be disappointed in the outcome if we do nothing, or continue to put all our eggs into one strategy that doesn’t seem to be working. I know we’ll be disappointed if the worst case scenario occurs and we look back to see there’s more we could’ve done, but didn’t.
I feel we may be in denial of the magnitude of the situation: that Earth and our own wellbeing and existence are under threaten. What I do know is that either way, connecting with Earth is good for our mental, emotional, and physical health. You can let your self interest motivate you if it’s too scary to face the potential reality.
What are the opportunities available?
There are the benefits to adopting this behavior that we already know about. Environmental psychology tells us that spending quality time in nature, and with nature, is good for our emotional, mental, and physical health. Whether you have ecoanxiety or are just experiencing the stress of our modern world (who isn’t?), then spending quality time in and with nature is good for you. The science is quite clear on this subject.
What is less clear is the benefit to Earth. Many indigenous and Eastern traditions believe that Earth is sacred and that it is humanity’s duty and responsibility to treat her as such. Even if we do not embrace this theology, I am also certain that Earth is our home and our ecosystem. What we do to the ecosystem affects all of us since we are dependent on that ecosystem. Adopting a loving and empathic stance to the ecosystem means we’re more likely to care for it, and for ourselves by extension.
Whether you believe Earth “cares” or not is somewhat irrelevant. For example, I am dependent on my car. I wish that were not true, but it is. My car doesn’t have feelings (or so I believe) but I know that if I don’t care for my car, my car will no longer function for me. If I leave my car dirty and full of trash, she won’t be the beautiful German-engineered car that brings me delight. If I believe my car should continue to provide peak performance even if I drive her hard and put her away wet each day, I’m setting myself up for a disappointment if I’m not stepping up her care accordingly.
I actually do believe Earth cares. I believe Earth is a biological organism, even though we don’t have an easy or reliable way to communicate with her, I believe she senses how we treat her. It’s like trying to prove whether there’s a God; it’s not something we can prove either way, but what if I’m right? What do we lose by adopting this belief, at least for the purposes of discovering climate change solutions?
I also have to put it out there that I think there’s a certain amount of justice that’s missing on behalf of Earth. Earth and our ecosystem are suffering, there’s no doubt there, regardless of what we consider the cause. Earth provides our home, our food, and our inspiration, and I feel it is only right that we assume a sense of responsibility to care for Earth in every way that we can. She has given to us endlessly, oftentimes at our demand, and it’s the right thing to do to provide care and comfort to her now.
We should do it for Earth’s sake, and for our own.