Sustainable Living: The Challenge of the our generation
Updated: Jan 28, 2021
In recent times, the startling amount of microfibres found in the oceans, inside of marine life, has come up repeatedly in my life. I’ve been hearing about it from people I’d least expect it from, seeing content regarding this phenomenon on the internet, and as this information (and more in the same vein) becomes common knowledge, it becomes glaringly clear that we, as a global community, have made some tremendous mistakes in recent history.
The costs of those mistakes are becoming visible in every part of our health, in every part of our environment. While there are many people out there attempting to course correct, and some trying to create ways to clean up the horrifying mess, it leaves most of us struggling with what to do. Many of us have no scientific training, and minimal aptitude for inventions and ideas to revolutionize the world. We want to be the change we envision, we want to have a positive rather than negative impact, and yet we may often feel limited in our abilities to do so.
As much as many of us wish to step out of this culture of consumerism, we often find we cannot.
We have to participate in the world, as it is now. We have to purchase things like shoes and clothes, and household items. In the western world driving is so often a vital part of life – we have to get to work, we have to buy groceries, and it isn’t feasible for everyone to walk everywhere when people are so spread out, often with no resources nearby. We may look to buy electric cars, but often the infrastructure isn’t yet available to support the travel we require, or the cost of electric vehicles is prohibitive in itself. We can scale back on our consumption, do our best, but to opt out of consumerism completely would be the equivalent of barely surviving for most people.
People in every country around the world are struggling with these issues, some on a much broader scale, and they do so in large part because of choices we as a collective continue to make. How can we, in good conscious, continue this out-dated way of living? Especially as we begin to integrate an Interpersonal Ethic? And yet, a lot of our actions that contribute to the destruction of our natural world we do out of feelings of necessity. We may see that we are trapped within the systems that the people who came before us created, and in some cases, we carry them further, perpetuating the problem.
At this time of transparency and knowledge, we are awakened to the fact that if we continue down this unsustainable path, we will likely ruin the planet for future generations. How many people have already died from diseases created by these issues, poverty, or in wars over the resources that we shouldn’t be using in the first place? How many animals have we lost, entire species gone, because of human greed and negligence?
When is enough enough? What will it take?
Heartbreakingly, if the powers that be haven’t stopped yet, they won’t. This summer, when so much of the world was on fire or under water, it still wasn’t enough. When the latest statistics tell us that one out of every two or three of us will get cancer, because of our lifestyles and environment – for no other reason – it isn’t enough.
But we are enough. This world, this amazingly beautiful, wonder-filled world is enough. If we want change to happen, if we want to do something, we have to take a stand. Not in protest, but in solidarity with making choices that are for us and for the planet, rather than against. We must assemble the Critical Mass.
Individually, we can do a little to overcome the massive challenges facing us; however, we can each play our part. We can spark movements, be examples, share our knowledge. We can operate and support companies engaged in ethical, fair trade business. We can question everything, and vote for the kind of world we want with every purchase and every choice.
Environmental sustainability is one of my greatest passions. It keeps me up at night, it gets me into hours long discussions on the morality of driving fuel vehicles, using plastic water bottles, and wrapping gifts in paper and tape – and I’m aware there are many others out there who feel the same way and are having the same conversations. But as always, our irrevocable freewill ensures we have a choice: we can do nothing and ignore the problems, regardless of the cost, knowing the damage that’s being done, or we can choose the more soulful, enlightened path of living with intention.
There is so much available already in our world, and one of the ways we can engage in living intentionally is to look for items through other means. We can put what we need out to the Universal energy, accept hand-me-downs and re-gifts, stay open to alternatives, buy used, carpool, watch for synchronicity in the people and ethical businesses that are offering what you’re seeking at just the right moment. We can share what we no longer need, bringing ourselves further into alignment with the Third Insight of Giving. And when we must make purchases, we can take the time to research the products, finding out if they are toxic, what kind of values they are made with. After all they will be brought into our lives, not just physically but energetically as well.
Sitting in silence or ignoring what’s happening won’t enable positive change.
There are so many skills that have been forgotten. So many systems for living lightly on the Earth that have been lost, but they can be found again by looking into our Longer Now. As long as there are people standing up and putting their energy into sustainable endeavours, change will come.
We are here, according to some religious and traditional beliefs, as stewards and protectors. Whether we do it to honour God or to honour Mother Earth or just simply because we’d rather not breathe in toxic air and consume prescription filled water, we have to take that role seriously. We have the capacity to do great harm, but we also have the capacity to do great good.
Our spirituality, which is connected to this Earth and every other being on it, cannot thrive when surrounded by archaic systems and industries which exploit the natural resources of the planet – it is out of balance with nature and out of alignment with our souls. Everything we do has energy behind it, and as a train that picks up speed as it travels, so to does this energy. What we put our energy into expands and grows.
There is a quote that has been used many times for many reasons, whether by Rabbi Hillel in its original form or Emma Watson speaking on gender equality, and I feel the need to use it again here: “If not now, when? If not you, who?”
The state of the Earth is one of, if not the, leading concerns of our time: our generation will either choose to remodel the behaviour of our species, or will choose to continue causing damage. We have voices, we have knowledge, and we have opportunities. If we ensure we make considered ethical choices, invest our energy wisely, and stay engaged in the synchronistic flow of life, positive change will come.
Whilst individually we may feel our actions are small, collectively they are hugely significant. It is time to fully embrace and engage in The Emerging Culture, and as we move forward, we must remember we do not face these challenges alone, the weight of the world is not solely on our individual shoulders, but rather it is the joint mission of millions of individuals who are switching into this mindset and following their destinies. As we collaborate peacefully and spiritually to nurture a healthy planet, all the institutions of life will naturally become freed from the corruption surrounding short-sighted profits and move toward a perfect level of functioning.
If we want to ensure the planet remains habitable for all of nature’s species, we must make conscious choices when deciding who we give our time, energy, and money to. When we, the Critical Mass, do this, Capitalism itself, business at every level, food production, the problems of poverty, chemical pollution, and Government regulation will all become enlightened.