Everyday Gaian – Earth Day – April 22, 2017
Do you have a reverence, respect, and love for nature? How are you living in harmony with it – not just on April 22, but each and every day? As instructors, have you a learning plan in your courses for responsible and active deep ecology? “The expansion of human power has hardly begun, and what we are going to do with our power may either save or destroy our planet. The earth may be of small significance within the infinite universe. But if it is of some significance, we hold the key to it. In our own age we have been forced into the realization that there will be either one world, or no world.” –Abraham Joshua Heschel. Are we moving in the direction of a wrenching and sorrowful demise of our planet? Or are we moving in the direction of a universal, collective consciousness that it is now or never?
Resources abound ecologically on sane and practical practices as we sense a mounting urgency to act conscientiously and skillfully so that our children will inherit an Earth healthy world. One wonders if we have generations, or do we have but years to save our planet? The Planet Survival Kit offers a modest number of strategies that can make a difference in healing the earth: 1. Plant trees around your homes and in your community; 2. Drive less – do not use your RUV to get your mail; 3. Recycle paper, glass, and aluminum cans; 4. Eat below the food chain; 5. Become more energy efficient at home; 6. Invest in the environment – “Defenders of the Wildlife” or “American Defenders” to name a few – support local groups united by a common concern, such as recycling, tree planting, hazardous-waste disposal, or energy conservation; 6. Live more simply so others may simply live. Gandhi writes: “We have enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.”
George Sessions, an environmental philosopher offers a seven-point platform of deep ecology:
- The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves
- Richness and diversity of life forms are necessary and fundamental to life
- Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except for their vital needs
- Human life and cultures are to live in harmony with the Earth
- Human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive and rapidly worsening
- Policies must be changed that affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures
- We must focus on the inherent quality of life and less on the increasing higher standard of living – more is better or bigger is better.
Gaian means that we are to live in harmony with the natural world, experiencing it as the life-giving source of our physical, intellectual, emotional, aesthetic, moral, and spiritual nourishment. When we weaken this intimate bond and exploit the bounty and beauty of the Earth, we fall prey to alienation and a possible irreversible destruction of the Earth. “Look about you. The environment is burning up in a hundred, a thousand places, worldwide. But there is no fire escape here, no ‘out,’ no other solution than a shift in knowing who we are.” – Jim Nollman