Environmental Sustainability is Self and Community Defense
Art by Rosie
The Earth wants us. She gives her love freely, her abundance, creating and sustaining our ways of life. She is the maker of our stories and the place in which our stories live on. In her loving embrace, I find my home. It is in this home that I find community, purpose, and joy. Earth is family. And I shall protect her as such.
I have come to believe that all relationships compel the behavior necessary for their maintenance. The obligation to sustainably care for Earth is merely the recognition of our nature as members of an ecological system larger than ourselves. It is the importance of this relationship with the life sustaining force that orients our perspective towards environmental preservation, not some moral obligation or a certain system of values.
Action without recognition of the conditions we find ourselves within is simply denial. Yet, we mentally and physically take ourselves away from our place in the ecology and imagine ourselves as captains of our own reality. We imagine ourselves as masters of the present rather than members of a performance of global proportions. Rather than serving to sustain our relationship with the Earth, our behaviors serve to build a world we imagine ourselves master of. This discord denies the opportunity available for harmony between the human and natural worlds, the recognition that these worlds are one and the same. The screams of the earth fall upon deaf ears while we consume her. To sustain ourselves, we eat the flesh of our children, our overconsumption depleting the gifts of the earth and destroying the life force of future generations. We raze the sources of their physical and spiritual health while imagining we are sustaining them. Without mindfulness, our actions poison those whom we hope to save.
On a cold mountain top, a lone flower blooms. To recognize the mountain in the flower and the flower in the mountain is to recognize interbeing. The flower exists only in relation to the mountain and to the rest of the present moment. The conditions which created the flower also created the mountain. To sit with this is to accept the mountain and the flower are one and the same, and so too are you the mountain and the flower. You are the present, in its entirety. The perceiver, and the perceived. To create division between the self and the other is to miss the conditions from which these emerge, the Earth as the prior condition. Killing the flower is to kill the mountain and yourself. So too is killing the forest is not only an affront to the life force of the forest. To kill the forest is to stab a knife through your own chest and the chest of your child, of all present and future generations. Environmental sustainability is self and community defense. Earth is self. Earth is family. And I shall protect her as such.