When I woke up today, the question that I was guided to answer on the pages of my eco-journal was this: “Why did humanity ignore the dire ecological warning given to us by leading scientists in 1992, and how can we learn to live graciously with our ignorance?”
If you weren’t born yet in 1992, or maybe you simply never heard the warning, I’d like to share it with you right now.
“Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for the human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know.
Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about. No more than a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished. We the undersigned, senior members of the world's scientific community, hereby warn all humanity of what lies ahead. A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it, is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.”
WOW. Those were some strongly spoken words, weren't they?!! So tell me: Have you, yourself, figured out what the “great change” in our stewardship of the earth will be? Or, are you still living the dark, as millions of people are?
One of the questions that I often ask myself, when I consider WHY humanity at large did not heed the warning given to us by the world's top scientists is this: "Is it enough for people to be made aware of a serious ecological problem, if workable solutions to the problem are not offered along with it?”
It’s clear to me when I attempt to answer this question for myself, that the world faces many complex interrelated challenges. Problems, that is to say, ranging from inequality, poverty, and hunger, to ecological degradation, and climate change. It’s also clear to me that most global citizens simply don’t feel equipped to fix the systems that contribute to our problems, which are fundamentally broken. Having said this, it’s evident that we, the people, are consumers of our broken systems. We make choices every day that feed into their dysfunction!
Our industrial agricultural system is but one example of a system that is fundamentally broken. It pollutes the air, the water, and the soil with tons of toxic chemicals. The use of GMOS’ in plant food production INCREASES (vs. decreases) the use of deadly chemicals, and it harms the insects that are part of a food’s production cycle. Likewise, animals that are exposed to GMO’s in the corn and soy products that they're fed are known to make them very sick! Calves, for instance, are often born with enlarged joints and limb deformities that affect their ability to walk. Piglets experience “failure to thrive” and their internal organs self-cannibalize. Dairy cows develop mastitis, which is a painful udder infection. And, beef cattle develop liver abscesses and painful “twisted” guts.
When the systems that produce food for the masses migrate from our factory farms into the rain forests, this practice also creates huge environmental problems. Trees are cut down or smoked out in order to produce grazing land for cattle and this leads to problems such as topsoil erosion, species extinction or displacement, and excess carbon gas in the atmosphere. (1)
Reports coming out of Stanford University in California, it’s interesting to note, have indicated that logging creates an abundance of mosquito-friendly habitats. Unfortunately, for the people who end up settling closer to those mosquito-infested areas, Malaria is a real problem. Forest satellite data that has been collected from the Brazilian Amazon has shown that there are about 10,000 additional new cases of Malaria every year due to a 10 per cent increase in deforestation! (2)
The current Corona virus pandemic, you’ve likely heard, is said to originate from bats. What scientists are telling us about bats is that, they are spreading the corona virus because the disruption of their natural habitats stresses them greatly, and it makes them shed even more virus in their saliva, urine and feces that can then infect other animals. Ugh! (3)
So, tell me: What do we do about the ecological disease threats that I’ve just mentioned? Do we call them our “new normal” and simply live in fear of them? Do we cross our fingers and pray that we won’t get sick and that the earth will get through its own health crisis? Do we let stress and anxiety get the best of us? Do we go on harboring secret feelings of guilt? OR…do we make a personal decision to get more educated, and take action in our lives to be part of the solution?
I believe that EDUCATION is the key to curbing these personal and planetary threats. But, I also believe that we don’t have enough educational programs and trainings available in our communities across the globe, that can provide the kind of awareness we need. And, it’s because of my belief, that I’ve taken it upon myself to develop tools that I believe CAN be helpful to people of different ages and learning styles.
My educational tools represent the outgrowth of my own self-healing journey, a journey in which I’ve learned about the connection between my health problems and the earth’s health problems. My tools represent what I’ve learned about WHY to live in a more eco-conscious way upon the earth, and HOW I've taught myself to do so.
Living in an eco-conscious way, I should clarify for you, is living aware of our earth’s health needs as well as our own. It’s also a way of living that, in a personally meaningful sense, can teach us how to live graciously with our eco-ignorance.
Living graciously with our ignorance begins in my mind, with a desire to let go of any guilt we might be carrying around about our (Our role in creating) our ecological situation, and opening our hearts to the lesson that remorse has to offer.
What’s the difference between guilt and remorse, you might be wondering? Guilt, you might agree with me, tends to torture us with thoughts such as “I’ve been ignorant” or “I haven’t done enough” ….or “I feel that I have to defend my inaction, or get punished.” Remorse, on the other hand, offers to free us from these kinds of thoughts. Its purpose is to bring forth our highest awareness. When we feel remorse, we don’t need to demean or punish ourselves. We simply need to forgive ourselves for not knowing better. We need to acknowledge that we’ve made some mistakes, and we’re willing to do better, as we go forward on our life’s path.
Do you feel that you’ve resonated with any of the ideas that I’ve shared with you today? If so, I’d love to hear from you. But even if you don’t reach out, consider visiting my website at: www.ecointelligenteating.com. This is the place where you can begin to take some bold action steps towards being an eco-conscious, eco-steward!
Candia Lea Cole
Founder, Eco-Learning Legacies