Here are two lists of changes that can and should be made, restoring this Earth home more fully to a habitable, life-diversified, and evolving planet.
Outward behaviors everyone can practice and contribute to:
Reduce and eliminate uses of fossil fuels. Support and participate in clean energy alternatives.
Reduce and eliminate non-biodegradable plastics. Support and participate in oceanic and fresh water clean ups.
Plant trees and support largescale tree planting projects. Reverse deforestation, promote reforestation.
The two main sources of oxygen on this planet come from forests and algae blooms along coral reefs. Both forests and reefs are in danger of becoming dead zones.
Plant gardens, no matter how small, and grow edible produce. Eat the food you grow. Be attentive to the growing process and life cycles of plants.
Support only political, spiritual, and economic leaders who are green to the core and crisis sensitive and committed, who do not serve their own egos and do not do biding-for-profit of special (Earth traumatizing) interests of wealth and power.
Minimize overall energy consumption and unplug yourself from extension technologies used to contain and define your identity, most to the point, the energy reduction and unplugging needed from computer, cell phone and television.
Help to create and maintain neighborhood Ecozoic Culture and Ecozophic Education Centers. Such centers can become primary places for reeducation in appropriateness and response-ability and for developing a participatory culture of ritual belonging and community recognition.
Set times for solitude in nature as vital practice. Whether this is along a seashore, at a hiking spot, in wilderness areas, or even a neighborhood park or back yard, allow your senses to fully participate in becoming acquainted with the immediate eco-system and local biotic diversity. Actualize creative, non-invasive ways to connect and express reality-grounded appreciate. This could take the form of writing a poem and reciting aloud, telling a story to the environment (and yourself) about what your senses are discovering, playing music, drumming, dancing a dance to nature and the elements, singing a song to context and its other than human inhabitants, whether the song is learned from tradition, or original and spontaneous.
Reduce consuming on all levels, from eating to gadgets, clothes and accessories.
Make it part of everyday to slow down, detox, find the way to your “grounding dimension” of breathing, heartbeat, bare feet on the ground and embracing the human gift of vision-dreaming. Let these be times for tears (sorrow and suffering are realities not to be blocked by drugs), time for laughter, not mockery or humorous cruelty, but wonderment and spontaneous delight; times for appropriate movement (the conscientiousness of carbon footprint), and times for stillness, when human porousness is most open to the euphoria and ecstasy of embracing existence-within-creation.
Invite others to practice these and related behaviors, especially those others who are not likely to do any of this without being invited. There are vast numbers who are dominated by false (unauthentic) values, who are going through life with false (unauthentic) self-images. There are many who are traumatized and go through their years in recurrent patterns, if not in permanent states of shock and numbness.
Contribute to making sustainability and stability, without exploitation, oppression, genocide or forced extinction, foundational to a global new normal.
Inward transformations toward eco-self and species maturation:
Cultivate and practice the Ecosophy (Earth Wisdom) and disciplines of letting be, letting go, appropriate and noble intention, silence and reverence for life in all of life’s Earthly aspects. Become intimate with delight, nest it in your heart and soul, practice acts of beauty, be playfully subversive before shallowness and passionately spontaneous within a culture of relationships and with education in instinct, moral character, and response-ability.
There are traits and characteristics common to human life which must be overcome or transformed (and likely more than once) for our Earth-evolved instincts and soul to be free to unite and guide life in appropriateness and visions to abiding within the realties and necessities of homecoming to this Living Earth. These negative traits include aggression, greed, disappointment, bitterness, resentment, fear, rage, boredom, violence, and the denials of betrayal.
We are all thrown into the dark abyss of history—drawn into complicity with crimes against humanity, crimes against creation. Repentance is in order. Center in your spirituality and with your identity-signature, have your repentance made tangible, visible, palpable through acts of beauty (doing what a right because it is right to do so; resisting what is wrong because it degrades and destroys). Be expressive in the delight of life, in being a conscious presence, awakened in the wonderment of creation, appropriate in affirmation and participation.
Mark out in your interior a sacred learning space attendant with quality time for education in moral character. Moral character is not reducible to adapting and adhering to any external set of principles or specific moral system. The essence of moral character is twofold. It consists of developing an integral capacity for reflection, even critical reflection, to consider the honesty of what is experienced and to examine beforehand the consequences of actions, of opinions, convictions, ideational positions, and adherences. Reflection cultivates responsibility as an ability to respond to what is true in what is given, what is necessary, and what is appropriate as a human response. Along with reflection, moral character develops a discipline of restraint to resist and counter negative impulses and reactions in one’s person and with others, which unchecked can, and too frequently do, lead to violence and injustice.
Moral character is strength of person and inner resource, not excusing and not denying. It will not diminish the spontaneities of delight but provide a defense to that which is most human and universal.
Consider: If one of us with a gun can kill a huge bear or even a bigger elephant (if a few of us with guns on trains could have decimated enormous herds of buffalo for no purpose other than a cruel sport of species removal), if a small crew on a ship can kill a whale, why not accept that billions of us constantly and selfishly exploiting and devouring via our technologies can kill a planet? Systems disruptions are prelude to chaos and collapse. Mass extinctions are prelude to our self-made species suicide.
Moral character, rising against human hubris, instills in life dignity, respect, reverence, and freedom of conscience. Moral character is a keystone process in human spiritual evolution, to mature and be worthy, to be appropriately participatory members within the Living Earth.
Make appreciation the center of your prosperity. Learning to sing the world, as light aware of darkness, as a manifestation of sentient presence, wealthy from inclusiveness and with passionate/compassionate embrace.
Above all, in the inward journey, work at this: the justice of inclusiveness, peace of commensality and emergence along the way of everyday lives, through openness and acts of beauty, into avatars of relationships.
Friend, you have read the list, add to it and share with others. The life of the planet is being decided. Procrastination is a choice for destruction.
*Ecozoic Era, a developing age when the destructive history of humanity is reversed and replaced by human responsibility. This begins by changing the content of the day, and by each and everyday being an Earth day.
David Sparenberg is a world citizen, environmental & peace advocate & activist, actor, poet-playwright, storyteller, teacher and author.