It’s a new year, with intensified challenges and we are more determined than ever to translate green talk into profound green action. So we propose for the year a 12-step programme for greening our lives. I have much respect for the famous programme whose name we’re borrowing here, and honour all those brave souls who have and are reforming themselves this way.
A green reformation is indeed what we need. Crises always contain incredible opportunities, which bring out the best in people. My daughter in Brisbane is moved by the spirit with which everyone is volunteering their time and helping those in lower-lying areas. The details are horrendous; read her story next time. It’s almost as if the human spirit thrives on such moments of being truly awake and in-the-moment, when we drop all other petty concerns and get stuck in with what’s essential and important.
Global warming is creating such a camaraderie between folk in this work. And the hotter, the nearer the tipping point (some even say we’re there already) the more we’ll join and show what we’re made of. I fully believe in the resilience, and the awesome beauty, of the human spirit. I also believe that we all want to pitch in and ensure, the best we can, that we don’t consciously contribute to droughts and floods, destruction of millions of species and more large scale starvation across the planet.
Straddling both worlds
In SA, we’re in the fortunate position to stand with one leg in both the developing and developed worlds. Straddling the divides, connecting the extremes. Here we work and may live in high carbon areas, but real close-by, our neighbours don’t have energy or water at all. We don’t need to rely on imagination, TV or other images to try and get to grips with the heart rendering differences in the utilisation of these resources. If you’re still unsure, get involved in a local community and understand that the green issue is also a human rights issue. Whilst we clean up our own homes and work acts, we need to be working simultaneously at resolving those around us.
And so the community is growing in leaps and bounds. Slowly others in green work are beginning to understand what we’re trying to do â€“ promoting everything green and assisting with the inside processes which lead to the outside changes. It all starts with thinking green, thinking larger than yourself.
In the previous century paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin spoke about this development of the human soul:
The world in our own souls
‘As though awakening from a dream, we are beginning to realise that our nobility consists in serving, like intelligent atoms, the work proceeding in the Universe. We have discovered that there is a Whole, of which we are the elements. We have found the world in our own souls.’
‘The proof that the growing co-extension of our soul and the world, through the consciousness of our relationship with all things, is not simply a matter of logic and idealisation, but is part of an organic process, the natural outcome of the impulse which caused the germination of life and the growth of the brain ‘the proof is that it expresses itself in a specific evolution of the moral value of our actions.’
So this linking of our souls to include the world is what energetically feeds one on the path of extending yourself for the greater good and for posterity. I often hear people express a fear of what they might lose if they start to consider their footprint on earth. Life is good for them and they don’t want to tamper with what works. Yet slowly the truth is settling in that it is a hollow goodness if it strips those coming after you from a decent life. And the good news is that if you live with an awareness of yourself as a cell in the body of Earth, you’re by no means diminished at all. You don’t lose anything, but you gain the world! You are no longer alone, but part of the community of cells/souls who make up a gorgeous and sacred planet.
How much is enough?
One of the great losses which addictions are built on is a loss of a sense of ‘enoughness.’ Not knowing when to stop, or having lost the inner balance for such a mechanism to operate naturally. And the development über alles mindset the past 100 years promoted this insatiable lust for more. One can perhaps say that in the process we all became fossil addicts. We use it mindlessly.
We have also lost the attitude of gratitude with which I’m sure electricity and fuel was first received on the planet. Do I say thank you each time I’ve sucked some more energy from the earth, like right now while I’m writing this? A prayer beforehand and afterwards? It is after all the Earth sharing her resources with us and carrying the dirty fall out of it afterwards.
I suspect more gratitude could serve as a sure-fire cure for our broken enough-meters. It could help us to eat less, consume less of the earth in our search for inner joy.
Green systems to benefit all
We don’t want to constrain the all important developments, which create economic abundance for all, but simply tweak it into lateral, green mechanisms and systems which would benefit everyone.
We need a ‘moral inventory’ of development for a sustainable future.
So we’re dividing the year 2011 up into 12 steps for crafting this ultimate awareness and transforming our lives. It starts inside our minds and hearts, and spills over into how we manage our energy and water requirements.
Before we set off on a journey, we need to know where we are now. Taking stock needs to happen before we can make the changes. As the energy guys say, you need to have a ‘base-line’ from which to work.
As always, our main areas of concern are:
Step 1 – measure your footprint
We need to assess ourselves to understand how we’re faring to date on the scale of green. Start with awareness of our consumption. We are committed to sourcing and supplying to you in an easily digestible manner all the essential information you’re going to need to easily green up your life. Easy and fun is our motto! So issue 20 will provide information about all the existing footprint measuring tools you could use. If you are in this line of work, join us for this story. We need everyone on the same page to make it easier for our readers.
Step 2 – install a solar water geyser
Then we’re onto our first green domestic change: installing your home’s solar water geyser. We are working on the ultimate story to demystify the industry and make sure that you and I know everything we need to go over into action and just do it. We are trying to find all the answers to the questions we’re still grappling with. The ultimate one is why haven’t you got one in place yet? What’s holding you back?
Before the end of this month I want my footprint properly measured and my solar geyser installed. And I have my heartner, a poet, to convince. So the ultimate benefits to all concerned, not just the planet, will have to be very clear. I am learning from the best in the industry, so watch this space in issue 20 next week on Friday, 28 January. If you’re in this line of business, do join us. Let’s work together and help drop our country’s very high carbon footprint.
By Elma Pollard