I first contemplated what to call this when I was young. Perhaps I have still not settled on the best name for it. I first conceptualized it as thinking like a tree. When I was taught about the water cycle, I knew that in this one functional element within the biosphere, there was great wisdom and timeless beauty. Honoring the silence, living lightly on the Earth, green living, bioneer all convey a bit of what I’m talking about, but accepting the sanctity of all the gifts that creator has endowed our planet with, understanding the sanctity of nature and behaving in accord with natural processes is something that deserves a name.
The time has come for us to explore the meanings, not only of our thoughtless behaviors, but the considerable number of decision points that we fly past, all in a day’s work. Just as we cannot see around corners, we cannot confront underlying assumptions that we have made about the world we live in until the flawed vision we had previously is seen with clarity and more detail. Learning about the hydrologic cycle did not create it. never were there scientists discovering it. No, it existed long before we could conceive of a substance that would give us life. So too, as we fumble for the keys that we will need to unlock the door to the future, many of the things we need to see and understand have been around forever, just waiting for us to integrate the knowledge that lies within. some like to focus on the great mystery, others like to wonder at the little things. Eco-Ethics demands that we take a radical approach to thinking, acting and be-ing in the world. We tailor our demands on the planet to make the best use of each item that passes through our lives, adding our own energy to both the physical realm and pay attention to spiritual and mental resources even our emotive connections serve as signposts and food for thought as well.
Many point to the fact that there is a natural world and a created world and that seems to justify, in their minds, the oppositional position that we find ourselves in far too often. ECO-Ethics demands an understanding of the fact that all of our activities are part of a new world order and that the principles of ecology and nature apply equally to what we have done, what we are doing now and whatever we choose to do in the future. Humans have become the dominant force on the planet. Our ability to change the choices that we make daily. We have altered the face of the planet in ways that dwarf even the hand of Creator. What we must do now is find ways to change that lend themselves to better outcomes if we are to remain viable as a species.
Two ideas are paramount. The first is the ideas of waste. This is complete fiction in the natural world. Every other species on the planet produces no waste, only resources for another link in the great chain of life. Eco-phreaks have long said that there is no away. This is not only true, but inescapably so. Second, we can develop a deep and abiding understanding of our own energy, as well as that which we borrow from the sun. Getting to the bottom of either of these ideas is not easy. It certainly will not happen in a hectic, work-a-day world that loathes reflection and individualization. The power rests with those who want conformity above all else, perhaps a holdover from industrialization and mass markets of the past.
As many dandelions as I pick and pull, no two are identical. It is the same with us. We must learn, perhaps the hard way, that we too are only able to express ourselves with a series of traps we call words, each containing only part of their intended message. The effort we put into thinking about our process, understanding the limits of growth, the adaptation to our environment all say something about who we are. Even without thinking we are producing heat through metabolism and breathing out “food” for plants, cycling air, water, nutrients and lending our lives to the whole process.