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the call of the earth

by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

At this moment in time we are more and more consciously confronted by the reality of climate change, global pollution, acidification of the oceans, massive destruction of forests and wetlands and other natural habitat. All of it is contributing to the first man-made mass extinction of species that the planet has suffered, caused by industrialization and our addiction to a materialistic lifestyle. And we are all responsible - just by traveling in a car or a plane, we are actively participating in an ecologically destructive culture.


We all need to take responsibility for this pressing predicament. And although many individuals and groups have responded, little has really changed in substance on a collective, governmental level since the 2009 Copenhagen summit showed us putting short-term economic growth before the real and lasting concerns of carbon emissions and climate change.

Moreover, our materialistic culture has co-opted the concept of sustainability to its own ends. Our collective objective now appears to be to sustain our materialistic, energy-intensive way of life, rather than to sustain the ecosystem and its diversity of inhabitants. There are few signs that the world is prepared to give up its materialist pleasures.

And while many people are working to try to counter this imbalance, most are approaching it with the very same mind-set that has created this predicament. Before we can begin to redeem this crisis, we need to go to the root of our present paradigm - our sense of separation from our environment, the lack of awareness that we are all a part of one interdependent living organism that is our planet. This can be traced to the birth of the scientific era in the Age of Enlightenment and the emergence of Newtonian physics, in which humans were seen as separate from the physical world, which in turn was considered as unfeeling matter, a clockwork mechanism whose workings it was our right and duty to understand and control. While this attitude has given us the developments of science and technology, it has severed us from any relationship to the environment as a living whole of whose cycles we are a part. We have lost and entirely forgotten any spiritual relationship to life and the planet, a central reality to other cultures for millennia. Where for indigenous peoples the world was a sacred, interconnected living whole that cares for us and for which we in turn need to care - our Mother the Earth - for our Western culture it became something to exploit.

And as we move into a global age, it is these Western materialistic values that are dominating more and more of our planet. Our increasingly global consumer-driven civilization is amplifying our exploitation and the resulting pollution to an unsustainable level. As the world grows more and more out of balance, we urgently need to regain a relationship with the planet based upon the understanding of the world as a sacred living whole, and to reclaim a consciousness that is centered in that understanding. Only if we redeem the problem at its root can we hope to heal and come back into balance with our environment. Would we rape and pillage the physical world if we understood and respected its sacred nature? 


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