It felt like a double punch when I read about the death of ‘Sudan’ the last male northern white rhino and then the collapse of France’s bird population due to pesticides killing the insects, the bird’s food source. I had only read about all the plastics washed up on the Galapagos islands and wondered what would Darwin say of his original study territory if he was alive today. And with all this a backdrop of friends from different countries all talking about the strange weather storms they all have been experiencing.
For me all this is linked. As western civilisation it’s been do, do, do for about 400 years now and the stretch points are now showing in environmental destruction but also in mental health issues, an opioid crisis in America and a level of inequality that is cracking at the seams. Recent research has linked this continual doing to the European protestants who brought this ethos over to America in the 1600’s. To protestants, doing something all the time was linked to self worth, they could rationalise that it was for a common good but in my opinion it was because in essence they did not feel very good about themselves in the first place. They converted a lot of northern Europe to this way of being in the world and then America took it to a new level. The research says, in America it became ‘the American Way’.
Having to do, do, do is fine if it makes you happy but that is not what has happened. Based on the research people are less happy with themselves than they were 50 years ago. And also all this doing has wreaked havoc on the environment, even to the extent that people have brought this ‘doing’ to bear on solutions to the environmental crisis. Obviously the same mindset that got us into this mess is not going to get us out. As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, your best thinking got you here!
And so where is the hope? Two simple things. All this doing is based on not feeling good about ourselves but this is an old religious fable. It doesn’t serve us anymore and it’s also simply not true. All babies in a maternity ward are automatically worthy, no matter what race, what creed, what gender, they just are. And we, each of us, are those babies. Nature gives us all oxygen, it doesn’t give oxygen just to the worthy and feel that some are unworthy, we are all worthy in nature’s eyes. So let us feel worthy, the worthiness that is our birthright on this Earth.
And with that feeling of worthiness let’s also slow down, less doing and give ourselves a well deserved healing breath. If we take a healing breath for ourselves, nature will get one too. After 400 years of doing doesn’t it feel like a good idea!
We could join all the dots of what is currently happening and instead of feeling overwhelmed, we could feel worthy of a beautiful abundant Earth and better about ourselves.
White Rhino Photo via Instagram – @amivitale
Newspaper images via Guardian.co.uk