Can We Meet Our Needs Without Destroying the World?

If you haven’t yet explored the deep ecology movement, now is the time. The Earth has never in its history been in such crisis. The industrial revolution of the past 250 years, this mania of economic growth, is rushing forward at breakneck speed. It’s made life more convenient, but it’s out of control now. Everyone agrees on this.

The deep ecology movement, also called the Great Turning, or the ecological revolution, has at its core:

·       The understanding of the inherent value of all conscious life forms
·       The fact that we’ve been using the Earth as if it is a stockpile of resources to be extracted, or a sewer for our waste to be dumped into
·       The fact that there is a finite amount of resources available on Earth, we are culling them at an ever increasing pace, and eventually, resources will run out
·       The understanding that there an immense mystery and beauty in each individual

From microscopic life, to insect life, to animal life, and to human life, deep ecology affirms that everything is connected, hitched to each other everywhere. If you don’t have peace, I don’t have peace. If you’re suffering, I’m suffering. If you’re sick, I’m sick. If you can’t be healed, I can’t be healed.

The Earth, which is a living system, is sick. We belong to Earth, like cells in a living body. The body is sick; we are sick. We suffer with our world. Deep ecologists like Joanna Macy and John Muir have been sending up warning flares for years. The wise ones have been telling us this for centuries. But through the insanity of a political economy - which pits us all against each other in competition for resources, scrambling for the last dollars - we’ve ignored the warnings.

Ask yourself: what have we gained from the society we’ve created? Wisdom? Health? Courage? Creativity? Safety? No. Only one thing has been gained: profits - for a very few people, whose wealth far exceeds their needs. For this, and for them, we are extracting every last raw material from the world, ravaging the body of Mother Earth.

Deep ecologists look at this and ask if we can meet our needs without destroying the world. The answer, for millennia, has been yes. Humans were getting their needs met for a long time prior to the industrial revolution. Deep ecology says that we’ve reached an inevitable impasse and now must change the way we understand the living Earth, and alter our relationship with it accordingly.

We are all starting to realize that we don’t have the luxury of time to work this out. This is something that must be underway within a few years. It will be a hard passage in our journey. It will hammer at our hearts. But running through each conscious living being, like a thread, is the power of the blessedness and holiness of life. We can look straight into the face of it all, and act.

Don’t be afraid of your heart breaking open in the process. A heart broken wide open can hold the whole universe inside it. It’s that powerful, and that big.

Live in peace.

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