Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Diet for the Earth

Diets don't work for humans and they don't work for the earth. Just as a list of foods to avoid in order to lose weight, become cravings before too long, the lists of things we need to do to save the world soon feel like hardships of the same sort. Hard to give up ice cream, cake, potato chips to save our bodies. Big screen TV's, SUV's, and large houses to save the planet. Especially when the things we are being asked to give up are taken out of context.

When we don't understand the connection between ourselves and our bodies, ourselves and our earth, sacrifices feel like hardships and won't have staying power. Before long, the weight is put back on and in the case of the planet, we purchase another round of consumer goods after trying to show care for the Earth by recycling or using cloth grocery bags.

Making a decision to eat right because you care about the health of your body makes it easier to avoid harmful foods. You decide to not consume processed items in order to avoid GMO's or to not eat soy because the estrogen in soy feeds the growth of cancer cells. You form an understanding as to why you are avoiding those foods and are not doing it just because your diet told you to. Understanding brings a desire for long term change.

The same goes for the environment. If you understand we are all a part of the natural world, understand that whatever we do to the earth, we do to ourselves, you don't just hear those words, but feel those words. Buying a big, resource depleting car becomes near impossible to do because you know the impact those resources make on our world, ourselves. You are in relationship with the planet.

I feel all the lists of things we can do to save the planet become meaningless without a connection to our planet. Without feeling we are the planet. Before we can embrace those lists and ideas, we need to form a relationship with our world by spending time outdoors, learning to love the natural world. Only then will we be willing to do the hard work to protect it.

Arne Naess, a Norwegian philosopher, founder of the term "Deep Ecology" wrote the following quote which sums up what I am trying to say quite nicely:

"What humankind is capable of loving from mere duty or moral exhortation is, unfortunately, very limited… The extensive moralizing within the ecological movement has given the public the false impression that they are primarily asked to sacrifice, to show more responsibility, more concern, and better morals… [But] the requisite care flows naturally if the self is widened and deepened so that protection of free nature is felt and conceived of as protection of our very selves."

1 comment:


Darcy -- good quote and good post. People do need to realize that damaging the world also damages us personally. So many folks are out of touch with nature -- both children and adults. Who cares if you poison crows by the hundreds to save a corn crop, who cares if you shoot a coyote because you are afraid of them, who cares if you dump gasoline in the nearby creek, who cares if you dump your pills down the toilet, who really cares? I do and so do many others. And those of you who do not -- will care when the earth retaliates.