The love expressed by mothers of most, if not all, species is enough of a reason that these sentient beings should be treated as equals, as our peers. Just as we are repulsed by the violence towards each other, shouldn’t we be equally disturbed by the violence committed towards other species? We are all connected, sharing this planet together, and whether it’s realized or whether it goes under the radar, violence towards exotic animals or the farm animals or the bugs does affect us. Before we practice yogaasana, the Yoga Sutras lay out the yamas, 5 ethical guidelines, the first of which is ahimsa, non-harm. As an experiment, notice if you feel different by making choices that prioritize the support and enhance the well being of all.
If Earth was on social media, She also would have long accounts of #meto such as burning forests in order to build monocultures, massive penetrations into Her for strip mining, to the bioaccumulation of plastics in the oceans. All for the sake of making the lives of the ruling class frivolously glamourous, the 99% of humans have stood tolerant, as passive accomplices to crimes against each other and our only Home and sole source of life, Earth. To witness such violence against all of us, humans, animals, water, air, forests, oceans and not do anything is to stand on the side of the abusive, violent ruling class.
“Greetings from the front… Forests, farms, and wetlands are being replaced with a sea of houses, green chemical lawns, blacktop, and roadkill. Farmland is being bought out by land developers because of their inability to compete with cheap corporate, genetically-engineered, pesticide saturated food. The time has come to decide what is more important: the planet and health of its population or the profits of those who destroy it… Big business is the enemy of the people, yet most people remain blind of it due to the massive propaganda and the power they yield… The time for action is upon us. We are watching.”
How can you speak up for those without a voice? What action can you take to protect what is sacred?
Time is running out; we are at the tipping point, in which we either change where we stand and how we act on our ideals or continue to watch everything unravel.
We will realize protecting Mother Earth is self defense.
Yoga, or the realization that the self exists as an inseparable part of the whole and our meaningful existence is found by serving the whole, is the first step to overcoming the obstacles in battling climate chaos and eradicating humanity’s egocentric thinking that Earth and all its creatures and resources exist solely for human use.
Destruction of the environment and our stable climate is a direct result of the mistaken thinking that humans are on top with the rights to use, abuse, manipulate, and destroy as they like.
Malcolm X said, “I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self defense; I call it intelligence.” At what point will standing in the sidelines be more violent than resisting the destruction of the planet and its ability to provide for future generations?
Excerpt is from a highly recommended read titled Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth:
I love fermented hot sauce, you get some probiotics and a delicious condiment! To make your own lactofermented hot sauce: get a bunch of peppers of any variety, like at least a pound of peppers, an onion, some leeks, garlic, or ginger, 2-3 table spoons of sea salt, a glass jar with a wide mouth and another glass jar that fits inside as closely as possible. Blend/food process into small chunks, cover with the smaller jar. Leave to ferment for 1-2 weeks in a dark cabinet or room.
I read a great essay by Terra Greenbrier, titled, “Against Civilization For Reconnection to Life!” This essay confronts our attachments to the norms and why we need to break free from the current status quo in order to realize our true nature, which is connection to nature and each other. Science has started to prove that social relationships are just as crucial to health and longevity as exercise. We don’t need to wait for science to catch up to realize the importance of our connection to all of life and to Earth. Here are the highlights from the essay:
“School, work, media, science, medicine, religious institutions, the nation-state and its military, political systems, economies, concepts like Progress, patriarchy, domestication, reason, morality, and politics are institutions that separate us from directly experiencing the diversity and inter-relatedness of the living world. Living within the circle of life, as an integral part of a whole organism, forms a basis for our relationships with other humans.”
How can we free ourselves from our dependence on civilization and all of its destructive distractions from our True Nature?
1: create or participate in catalyzing situations
2: inspire people to question human-centered, control-oriented culture
3: move towards decentralized, anarcho-communist, worker-controlled, ecologically harmonious, classless, international networks of syndicates/affiliations
4: figure out which seeds to scatter that will sprout from the compost of current society and then scatter those seeds. For example, teach people how to grow their own food, compost, mend clothing, fermentation as food preservation, etc.
5: confront the subtle, psychic logic of Civilization within ourselves and reclaim our Self from the false self that we were taught to create and project into the world
6: share, cooperate
8: DIY, permaculture, edible landscaping
Yoga teaches us that we are either living in yoga, a spiritual connection, or bhoga, enjoyment of the senses. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna warns that the more we indulge in the senses the further entangled we become with maya, or the material. This inevitably always ends in misery because all material enjoyments are temporary and it hurts when we get separated from our attachments. If we find fulfillment in yoga, or this spiritual connection to the Supreme, which is infinite and unchanging, we find eternal contentment. The Srimad Bhagavatam asks us to turn away from all of maya’s distractions such as movies, politics, even friendships that aren’t based on spiritual connection, so that we might find meditation, which is defined in the Srimad Bhagavatam as an unbroken stream of one thought on the Supreme.
To solve our problems we must turn towards the divine, and with realization that all living entities and the Earth are marginal energies of the divine, then each act of preserving, respecting, connecting with life, becomes a devotional act that liberates us from climate chaos, from the binds of society and civilization, and ultimately from the Maya and its inevitable miseries.
My partner and I went around the neighborhood and sowed some seeds into the planters. I’ve always been inspired by guerrilla gardening. Look up Ron Finley’s Gangsta Garden project to feel inspired yourself! He even has a TED talk about it.
As we exist on the tipping point of destruction or saving our planet, each act as small as a seed being planted could make a big difference! How will we survive if things do collapse? By adapting, figuring out ways to DIY, growing edible landscapes and then knowing how to cook what was grown from scratch, networking into smaller communities, prevention of diseases through self care practices, etc. Collapse really could happen any time, a peculiar piece of evidence that I caught was a commercial on TV for 15 year supplies for a family of prepackaged meals in case of an emergency.
To be responsible is to be prepared. To be prepared through the various mentioned ways would undoubtedly soften human’s load on the planet anyways and thereby reduce whatever consequences we would face if we didn’t start preparing now.
This week we move into Spring, so it is time to practice growing some edible plants, especially those of you who think you can’t!!! Herbs are a good place to start. Lay some seeds down, connect to your community, bicycle instead of drive, and know that this is all part of our ahimsa practice towards the Earth and all of its current and future inhabitants. This is our karma yoga, to selflessly serve the earth and al it’s people, plants, animals, and insects, even when it’s not the most convenient for your self.
PS. If you’re in Milwaukee, you can come to Eco Yoga Sunday’s at 10AM and know that 20% of total proceeds from your asana practice is donated to organizations that keep rainforests intact!
The Bhagavad Gita states that when one knows Truth, one sees all living beings as equals with equal vision. One sees oneself, the trees, plants, insects, birds, animals, and all varieties of humans as all children of the same source.
“One who sees Supersoul equally present everywhere, in every living being, does not degrade himself by his mind” (13.29).
If we awaken to this commonality, Earth and all of its waters, forests, wetlands, oceans, creatures, crops, and all humans whether or not we agree with them, deserve equal reverence, protection, rights, and most importantly love.
Because many humans think we’re more important and more deserving than the rest of life is how we got to be in this state of climate catastrophe and social injustice. Like children raised by parents who are more interested in their own selves, nature is beginning to aggressively cry and act out for the attention and love that it had always deserved.
In degrading nature we degrade ourselves. For example, if the water is polluted and we rely on the water to drink, cook, and bathe, we ingest the pollution through our bellies and skin. Same goes with the air, soil, etc.
Yogis: you have the knowledge. You must act on this every moment, embracing all life as your family. It is time to put the rainforests and respect for animals before our taste and diet preferences. It is time to bury consumeristic conveniences in the past by spiritualizing the way you cook, eat, walk, and live. It is time to recognize the sacred in everything, and then turn towards and serve the Supersoul. After all doing so is our True Nature.