I have solar on my roof, just bought an electric car, and do much of my shopping at the local farmer’s market.
But my home is a new development, which was forest less than a decade ago. Amongst those who lost their homes for mine would have been sugar gliders and powerful owls.
I rely on transnational shipping for lots of other stuff. I could live without it, but i don’t have to. Yet.
No matter what we do, short of going completely off grid and supplying everything we need within a small bioregion, we are enmeshed in the system that is destroying the earth. Meanwhile, shamefully, it is doing so at an increasing rate.
All hope is lost, in terms of climate action that could have come in time to avert disaster. We act as if we are free of limit, while living on a planet of limited ‘resources’ – the fresh air and water, the trees and soil and animals that we used to treat as kin, before ruthless extractive cultures built systems based on what we could get out of them instead.
We’ve lost the war to stop them. But we can’t let this stop us; from continuing to activate against ecocide, applying pressure to fossil fuel companies, to big pharma and the pincers of the military industrial complex, no matter where we live … but the time has come to admit that we cannot win the victory for the earth that may have been possible in years and decades past.
That still leaves us with time, though. Time to deepen connections with the community of souls that is preparing itself for the darkness to come, by kindling the light of compassion in the heart, and by extending care beyond human kin, to the natural world that is suffering a death by a thousand cuts at our collective hand. We’re out of time to beat anthropogenic climate disaster, but right on time for a spiritual awakening.
One way to wake up to this possibility is to realise that we are not responsible, no matter how enmeshed we are, for being born into this oppressive regime. Again, this counts whether you live west or east, north or south of anywhere. We are all living at the behest of some form of oppression right now.
You can believe you chose your parents, if that helps you to live with a strong sense of being responsible for your life, its circumstances and outcomes. I don’t necessarily make that choice, loving rather the great mystery at the fount of all incarnation. Regardless, again; we are not responsible for the infamy we were born into, any more than a slave in ancient Egypt was responsible for being born into their misfortune.
What we are responsible for is the decisions we make, as consciously as we make them, to the best abilities we have to exercise free will or reflective conscious awareness of our lives and what they are worth.
Beyond this, there is another place we live, at the same time.
We are born out of the earth, as a body – no matter who your parents are, or where their people came from – we are all born of the earth and share its body.
Like the amoeba who began to float in the shallow waters, due to some magical combination of saline solution and solar radiance, the multicellular creatures who evolved out of these floating lifeforms, and the animals that began to crawl on land and make a life on soil and in terrestrial air, through our ancestors in Africa and beyond, we were born of earth matter. This planet is your womb, your nest and your life support system.
Celebrate life in the primate body. Especially, give thanks to the ancestors who got you here, from your recent human ones, all the way through the world of other animals, our kin, as well as the plants we co-evolved with. Give thanks to the elements of the earth, out of which your body arose. Send your blessings to the earth, send them upon the heavens, send them in every direction around you and to the skies and to the myriad creatures and facets of manifest life.
Find the deepest satisfaction you can, while you can, because you can.
You are enmeshed in earth systems anyway. Might as well choose the best you can, to serve and honour. And make your peace with your maker – or rather, the material universe your body emerged out of and the consciousness you are blessed with, no matter what you have done (or not done) to earn it.
Time is running short. Because of this, it is best to sink into presence as often and deeply as possible. In this way, both your life and your death will be more deeply steeped in conscious awareness. How can this be bad? It can only lead to good. Contemplate what you have been given, this unrepeatable opportunity to be you as only you can be.
While you feel gratitude for this life, ask more of those who represent our race. They’re doing a very poor job. It’s OK to admit this. We deserve to be disappointed.
But we cannot let that stop us from feeling free, either. Free to celebrate life, to seek community, to work together, to resist the oppressive ecocide we are witnessing; to evolve. That freedom we have, each and every day we choose it. Choose it every day, every time you think of it, with everyone you meet. And bless the earth, your home, the stars, your consciousness, this mystery and the opportunity for awakening, right here, right now.
Dr Geoffrey Berry is the Australian Representative to the International Ecopsychology Society, an Extinction Rebellion leader, and CEO of the South Coast NSW Aboriginal Elders Association. His day job is in building a trauma-informed caring community.