Saturday, 25 October 2008

earth pilgrims?

My passion is for a reconnection between people and nature. I feel this connection strongly myself. But half of the world's population now lives in cities and does not notice the phases of the moon, the turning seasons and the migration of birds. The earth suffers because of this.

It is my belief that a special connection is forged between us and the earth when we grow our own food; when we feel the seasons changing and rejoice in that change; and when we prepare and consume the food we have grown. In this sanitised world it may sound strange to assert that it is necessary for us to get cold, or sweaty, or wet, or stung, or dirty for us to feel that connection. But I feel that it is though our senses, through smelling leaves, seeing flowers, hearing birds that our soul is nourished.

If our urbanised daily life consists of us waking in a centrally heated house, getting into an air-conditioned car and driving to a heated place of work, there is little chance of us making that necessary connection. If the food we eat is pre-prepared and heated in a micro-wave, how can we make the connection between nature and us? If we get back into our cars and do the journey in return and then view the world through the unblinking eye of the TV, how can we ever feel what is really real?

It is precisely because urban populations do not sense these things that they often do not understand the powerful link between climate change and the planet we love. This is why global warming is not seen by everyone as the screaming calamity it surely is. If I consume too much food and don't exercise I will become overweight. I can see the link. If I consume too many sweets my teeth may rot. I can see the link. But there is is no physical link between the emissions from my car and the melting of icecaps. It is distant and abstract. Gardeners and farmers will talk at first hand about the effects on their lives of our warming climate because it is relevant to them. For city dwellers there is no obvious relevance.

So, we must find a way of reconnecting. And we must not lose hope. There is much that we can do.....

Eat local and organic when we can't grow our own food.
Consider whether we need to eat meat.
Challenge our own lifestyles and question the environmental impact we are having.
Talk to others and inspire them about our passion.
Join together to build communities who share our beliefs.

To quote Satish Kumar:
'In the face of the world’s environmental ills, how then do we move forward as Earth Pilgrims?

  • The first step is to be true to Gandhi’s wise saying – ‘be the change that you want to see’: no preaching without practising.
  • The second step is to communicate the blessings of this new relationship.
  • And the third is to organise with others to achieve change more effectively.
Take heart – being an Earth Pilgrim requires no training, no university courses and no books, simply the realisation once again of connectedness'.

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