HOW DO WE LIVE GRACIOUSLY WITH OUR ECO-IGNORANCE?
World Scientists Warning to Humanity
Does it seem to you, that humanity largely ignored the warning that was issued to it by leading scientists in 1992, which stated that we humans are on a collision course with the natural world, and that our future is at stake if we don’t stop inflicting damage on the environment?
The Dire Warning (Did We Listen?)
If you missed the warning, here it is:
“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.”
Did Awareness of the Problem Invite the Solution?
Whew! Those were some strongly spoken words, weren't they?!! So tell me: have YOU changed your stewardship of the earth since that warning was issued? Have your family members, your friends, and your neighbors changed their stewardship of it? If you have, that’s great news. But if you haven’t, and if you’re concerned, as I am, that our collective efforts need to be stepped up in a major way, before it’s too late to reverse our planetary condition, you wouldn’t be alone. Sometimes, it occurs to me, our awareness of a problem (and even our grave concern about one) isn’t enough to solve it. Sometimes, it’s easy to get totally overwhelmed by a problem and forgo action on dealing with it.
As Consumers, We Drive Health Issues Affecting People & the Planet
Aside from some of the big ecological challenges we face in the world today, such as melting ice caps, warming oceans, land degradation, depleted natural resources, extreme weather events, and climate change, we also have to face human health challenges such as poverty, hunger, and disease. Unfortunately, many of the lifestyle production systems that we, as consumers rely on to create our everyday lifestyles, contribute to these issues. The methods they use to bring goods to our homes are highly toxic, yet they continue to be employed, because the big businesses that produce our lifestyles tend to place a higher value on their profits than on the well-being of people and the planet.
One Severely Broken System: Industrial Ag
Our industrial agricultural system is but one example of a system that is broken and toxic. It pollutes the air, the water, and the land with tons of toxic chemicals each and every year. The use of genetically modified organisms in plant food production increases the use of deadly chemicals in the environment, and they harm the insects that are part of a food’s production cycle. Animals that are fed GM corn and soybeans are known to get sick. For instance, baby claves are often born with enlarged joints and limb deformities that hurt their ability to walk. Piglets often experience self-cannibalization and “failure to thrive.” And, beef cattle develop liver abscesses and painful “twisted” guts. Dairy cows that are given bovine growth hormones also develop health issues.
Robbing the Rainforest, Spreading Disease
When the systems that produce food for the masses migrate from our factory farms into the rain forests, more problems are created. Trees (the lungs of the earth) are cut out (or burned to the ground) in order to create grazing land for cattle. This leads to topsoil erosion, species displacement, and carbon gas build-up in the atmosphere, which fuels global warming. (1) Logging, it’s interesting to note, is reported to create an abundance of mosquito-friendly habitats. Forest satellite data collected from the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has shown that there are about 10,000 additional new cases of Malaria every year due to a 10 percent increase in deforestation! (2) And here’s an interesting side note about deforestation: When a bat’s habitat is disrupted in the rainforest, it stresses them greatly. In fact, it makes them shed a strain of the Corona virus in their saliva, urine, and feces that can then infect other animals. (3)
Guilt is Often A Side-Effect of Harmful Human Actions
How many people walking the face of the earth today, I wonder, feel a sense of GUILT about the role that their unconscious behaviors have played in creating our human undoing and our ecological undoing? I’m guessing the number is in the multiple millions. And I’m also guessing that the guilt they feel is doing nothing to solve the problem. The problem with guilt is that it often invites defensiveness, shame, and self-punishment, and it tends to keep people stuck in a place of inaction.
Remorse Teaches Us to Live Graciously with Our Eco-Ignorance
Is there a healthier emotion than guilt to draw on, you might be wondering, that could support people in getting out of a state of inaction? I think there is, and I think it might be REMORSE. While some people might suggest that remorse is closely allied to guilt, I believe there’s a significant difference between the two. Remorse invites us to acknowledge the mistakes that we’ve made in our lives. Once we acknowledge the mistakes we’ve made, we can forgive ourselves, and commit in our hearts to “doing better” as we go forward.
Education Is ‘Key’ to Our Survival in the 21st Century
Surviving and thriving in the 21st century will take a collective global effort. We can be thankful that many organizations are doing their part to stop corporate behaviors that are harming the planet. We can be thankful that colleges are now offering degree programs that support students in learning about conservation, sustainable building systems, and sustainable energy technologies. Having said this, I think there is a lot of room for growth in the field of education, especially for families who might appreciate the idea of bringing heart and soul into the education process. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why I have devoted the past two decades of my life to creating educational tools for families that support them in awakening their innate eco-intelligence, and creating clean, green lifestyles that nourish wellness in their bodies and the earth.
Candia Lea Cole Founder, Eco-Learning Legacies
2) https://www.newscientist.com/article/2219981-how-deadly-disease-outbreaks-could-worsen-as-the-climate-changes/#ixzz6HQUmGWqW 3) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200210144854.htm