“It has rained steadily through the night, a gentle hushing sound in the thick tree canopy. In the morning light, crickets thrill and every leaf trembles and gleams. Soft mist gently rises as the creek gushes along its deep habitual groove in Rose Valley, a place as beautiful as it sounds: my home.
“Amid such grace, one might forget the planet is in chaos. Wars rage… and the trees grow slowly. And yet, if one pays attention, the very poignancy of the Earth’s beauty is the reminder of her woundedness.
“Often, we don’t pay attention. Climate change, war, and extreme poverty are somewhere else. We have bills to pay and problems of our own. Yet anyone living a ‘modern life’ has contributed to the conditions on Earth that cause suffering. How and what we consume, the policies of our leaders, our forgetfulness, have a direct impact on other beings—human and non-human. Denial, greed, and fear are not limited to big corporations and banks.
“What then must we do? Can we live in such a way that we begin to reverse the damage? Can we reduce unnecessary suffering in the world and still take care of ourselves and our families?
“Ecology, a branch of science, examines relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Part biology, part Earth science, ecology looks at the vital connections between plants, animals, and the world. Ecology calls to mind the Buddhist principle of Interbeing. As Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh, (also called Thay), explains: you can hold an orange in your hand, but it does not really exist as an orange. That is, it does not exist apart from the tree, the sun, and rain, the soil and its organisms, the farmer, the truck driver, and so on. One could say the orange is actually made up of ‘non-orange elements’—a set of conditions that allow the orange to be here. If you really look at the orange, says my teacher, you can see the entire cosmos at play.
“Neither ecology nor Buddhist doctrine alone, however, tell us how to really take care of this fruit—to protect the soil where it grows from depletion, conserve the water it needs, or ensure the rights of the farm workers who tend it. We need something else.”
Red the full story by Rhonda Fabian….