Personal Sustainability = Global Sustainability
Last weekend I attended an “Awakening the Dreamer” Symposium. To say I walked out of there feeling hopeful and inspired is an understatement. I was deeply and profoundly moved and re-motivated to keep on talking and writing whenever and where ever I get a chance. The symposium focused around the ideas and information available on the subject of life sustainability on this planet.The question was posed, obviously, “what are you going to do about it?”
There are fortunately great people with great minds doing great things in our world, looking after us all, trying to shift mountains to re-create a sustainable world. People are asking me plaintively “but what can I do?” Well you can recycle, reduce, reuse, in fact we must all do these things, but we already know this and do this on some level. To truly create a sustainable world we must feel the personal value for it. Most of us live reasonably comfortable lives but then again we are not one of the 55% of plants and animals species currently facing extinction. In the past 30 years, 1/3 of the total number of mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians living in the world have been lost primarily to loss of habitat and changes in their eco-environments. It is a very human trait to not see any problems until they start to happen within the walls of your own home. Unfortunately we can’t wait for that to happen. We have to make different choices now. It is time to grasp that if we want a sustainable future for our earth we must create one within our own psyche. We must come into an understanding that a sustainable future lies with an attitude of personal sustainability.
The accepted definition for environmental sustainability is that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The definition implies an attitude of stewardship for our earth for future generations. In order for this to become a feasible reality we need to shift our own attitudes for personal sustainability. We need to become more aware of the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical legacy we are endowing to our children. What habits are we teaching, what are they learning from us? Do they have faith, hope, joy, confidence in their future?
It all comes down to our own attitude in life. Every day I see people feeling hurt, undermined and disrespected. They speak in negative terms, without hope and without vision. They conduct their lives in a negligent, derisive and irresponsible manner. They hoard, withhold and lock away their stuff, reluctant to share and be generous. Consumerism, gluttony and indulgence of every description are leading to the erosion of life as we know it, on a physical level as well as on a spiritual level.
So how do you cultivate an attitude of sustainability?
i) be grateful: expressing and feeling gratitude allows one to become open to new opportunities for happiness.
ii) express yourself in positive terms: avoid negative words, slants, criticisms, judgments, and excuses. Before very long you will find yourself focusing on all that you can do instead of all you can’t do.
iii) realize that you are enough just as you are: excessive consumerism, gluttony and indulgence are signs that you think there isn’t enough in this world for you and that you aren’t enough. Assess your needs and wants. What do you really desire in life – is it really more stuff? Do what makes you happy, whatever it is, but be aware of your excessive consumption for things that mean nothing to you and just suck up your resources, ie. money, energy, health, time etc. As you deplete yourself you deplete the world around you.
iv) become fully accountable for yourself and come to realize that you are not alone: all of your actions, words, thoughts have consequences, nothing goes unnoticed. Everything you do matters to the whole – always. Separation is an illusion. There is no us and them. There is only us. We are all joined in consciousness, all connected in our holiness. We have one future; we either survive together or we perish together. My children’s lives and future depend on your actions as do your children on mine.
v) respect one another regardless of race, creed or culture. Diversity is the key to survival. We will never survive as clones of each other. Our diversity will ensure our growth, development and ever budding potential.
It is our collective ignorance that allows the raping of the earth to continue. Eventually we won’t be able to move away from the devastation, we won’t be able to ignore what is happening all around us as it encroaches ever closer to our own homes and into our lifestyles by then however it will be too late to create a change that will allow us to survive. Sustainable living begins with a sustainable attitude; and that begins with you.