Reflections on Earth Stewardship
In Resonance with the Living Earth
The relation of the human family to the divine scheme, as it exists, is that of bringing into close rapport the three higher kingdoms upon our planet and the three lower kingdoms of nature, thus acting as a clearing house for divine energy. The service humanity is to render is that of producing unity, harmony, and beauty in nature, through blending into one functioning, related unity the soul in all forms. This is achieved individually at first, then it takes place in group formation, and finally it demonstrates through an entire kingdom in nature.
Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.
The Dalai Lama
If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.
Since all living beings, including humans, emerge out of this single community there must have been a bio-spiritual component of the universe from the beginning. Indeed we must say that the universe is a communion of subjects rather than a collection of objects. This has been recognized from an early period by the indigenous peoples of the world.
A modern naturalist, then, is no longer someone who goes no further than a stamp collector, mastering nomenclature and field marks. She or he knows a local flora and fauna as pieces of an inscrutable mystery, increasingly deep, a unity of organisms Western culture has been trying to elevate itself above since at least Mesopotamian times. The modern naturalist, in fact, has now become a kind of emissary in this, working to reestablish good relations with all the biological components humanity has excluded from its moral universe.… How is a naturalist today supposed to imagine the place between nature and culture? How is he or she to act, believing as many do that Western civilization is compromising its own biology by investing so heavily in material progress? And knowing that many in positions of corporate and political power regard nature as inconvenient, an inefficiency in their plans for a smoothly running future?
The future of life on earth depends on our ability to take action. Many individuals are doing what they can, but real success can only come if there’s a change in our societies and our economics and in our politics. I’ve been lucky in my lifetime to see some of the greatest spectacles that the natural world has to offer. Surely we have a responsibility to leave for future generations a planet that is healthy, inhabitable by all species.
Sir David Attenborough
Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.
There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.
There is necessarily a subtle indirect appeal going forth continuously from the three subhuman kingdoms in nature, but that appeal focuses itself in the human kingdom, for that kingdom is the receiving and the transmitting agent for these kingdoms, just as the Hierarchy has been and is the receiving and the transmitting agent for every human appeal. Note here the beautiful interlocking and the fine interrelation which has been established by our planetary Logos.
The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.
.… we will recover our sense of wonder and our sense of the sacred only if we appreciate the universe beyond ourselves as a revelatory experience of that numinous presence whence all things came into being. Indeed, the universe is the primary sacred reality. We become sacred by our participation in this more sublime dimension of the world about us.
But the most astonishing thing about trees is how social they are. The trees in a forest care for each other, sometimes even going to the extent of nourishing the stump of a felled tree for centuries after it was cut down, by feeding it sugars and other nutrients, and so keeping it alive. Only some stumps are thus nourished. Perhaps they are the parents of the trees that make up the forest of today. A tree’s most important means of staying connected is the existence of a “wood wide web” of soil fungi that connects vegetation in an intimate network that allows the sharing of an enormous amount of information and goods. Scientific research aimed a understanding the astonishing abilities of this partnership between fungi and plant has only just begun.
The external deserts in the world are growing because the internal deserts have become so vast.
When I first began recording wild soundscapes 45 years ago, I had no idea that ants, insect larvae, sea anemones and viruses created a sound signature. But they do. And so does every wild habitat on the planet.… In fact, temperate and tropical rainforests each produce a vibrant animal orchestra, that instantaneous and organized expression of insects, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. And every soundscape that springs from a wild habitat generates its own unique signature, one that contains incredible amounts of information.…
The insights of the great religions are not always comfortable. How can we sell self-sacrifice – limiting our consumption – when a vast advertising industry is dedicated to making consumption attractive, when economic systems depend on ever increasing consumption? It does not make economic sense to value every human being, to support the less able and the elderly who are no longer economically active. One could make greater profits
by quietly getting rid of people who hinder economic growth. But we do not do that. Why? Because human beings know that such actions are wrong. We need to develop similar sensitivity towards the environment, recognising that some things, no matter how profitable and attractive in the short term, are simply wrong.
The Hebrew word for human – adam – is intimately related to the term adamah, which in Hebrew means “ground” or “earth.” For the ancient Hebrews, to be human was to be an earthling (as in Genesis, where the first human – Adam – is a creature fashioned from the soil who will ultimately return to the soil). In a similar fashion, the English word human is cognate with the English humus (or soil). Both are derived from the proto-Indo- European root that signifies “earth” or “ground,” which suggests that in English, as in Hebrew, that which most deeply defines the human is our own derivation from (and kinship with) the ground underfoot.
Whether you call it animal liberation, animal rights, animal welfare, or the animal movement, the decades since 1975 in Western culture have seen a growing intolerance of violence towards animals.
.… the form building aspects of energy and the Law of Attraction.… shows itself in the working of the various groups of the Army of the Voice. It is this Army which is responsible for the attraction which is the medium of bringing together the material required by the free Spirits in order to construct their bodies of manifestation. The vibration initiated by the Sound, which is the expression of the Law of Synthesis, is succeeded by the Voice or Word, and that Word as it progresses outward from the centre to the periphery (for, occultly understood, the Word is “spoken from the Heart”) becomes a. A phrase.
c. Sentences. d. Speech.
e. The myriad sounds of nature.
Each of these terms can be explained in terms of attractive energy, and this attractive energy is likewise the demonstration of the life of an Existence of some grade or other.
“God speaks and the forms are made.”
Within the safety and privacy of my garden I am exploring my growing understanding of nature’s interconnected web.… My love and appreciation of the natural world opens my heart, so that in the giving I am also open to receive. I extend each of my senses a little further and become more conscious of the previously unnoticed subtle levels of communication and interactive relationships I am engaged in with the plants, trees, birds and insect life around me. Yes, my garden has become a sanctuary: a place of safety for all that lives within its four hedges, including me.
The physical body of the Earth has a spiritual energy structure, just as the human body has within it a spiritual energy structure. As is known by almost all spiritual traditions, the human being is the macrocosm of the whole. As we make this transition from a focus on individual spiritual practice into a global dimension of spiritual awareness – away from the individual back to Oneness – there is a whole dimension of spiritual esoteric science that will be unveiled.… There has been, in the spiritual body of knowledge that belongs to humanity, an understanding of the energy structure of the earth, which is very real, just as your own spiritual energy structures are real.
Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves. All we need is to imagine our ability to love developing until it embraces the totality of men and the earth.
Teilhard de Chardin
God does not die on that day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die when our lives cease to be illuminated by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reasoning.… When the sense of the earth unites with the sense of one’s body, one becomes earth of the earth, a plant among plants, an animal born from the soil and fertilizing it.
Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts; and if people in general could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish.
I, the fiery life of divine essence, am aflame beyond the beauty of the meadows, I gleam in the waters, and I burn in the sun, moon, and stars.… I awaken everything to life.
Hildegard of Bingen
It can also happen, if will and grace are joined, that as I contemplate the tree I am drawn into a relation, and the tree ceases to be an It.… Does the tree then have consciousness, similar to our own? I have no experience of that. But thinking that you have brought this off in your own case, must you again divide the indivisible? What I encounter is neither the soul of a tree nor a dryad, but the tree itself.
Ecology has two departments: biological and cultural, or moral. The failure to comply with the laws of biological ecology may kill a person biologically, whereas the failure to comply with cultural ecology may kill a person morally. And there is no gap between these, as there is no clearly marked border between nature and culture.
A Prayer for Our Earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.
It’s been proven by quite a few studies that plants are good for our psychological development. If you green an area, the rate of crime goes down. Torture victims begin to recover when they spend time outside in a garden with flowers. So we need them, in some deep psychological sense, which I don’t suppose anybody really understands yet.
Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.
Look again at that dot. [a photo of the earth taken from the outer solar system] That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The affection and ecstasy that we experience when we contemplate nature is a memory of the time when we were animals, trees, flowers, earth. More precisely: it is the consciousness of oneness with everything, hidden from us by time.
We are looking forward to signals from outer space from distant civilisations. But somehow we do not listen to the signals which sound on our earth, the call of birds and animals.… Listen to the voices of the living!
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
The human body resonates at the same frequency as Mother Earth. So instead of only focusing on trying to save the earth, which operates in congruence to our vibrations, I think it is more important to be one with each other. If you really want to remedy the earth, we have to mend mankind. And to unite mankind, we heal the Earth. That is the only way. Mother Earth will exist with or without us. Yet if she is sick, it is because mankind is sick and separated. And if our vibrations are bad, she reacts to it, as do all living creatures.
We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet, and never before have we had the power to do something about that. Surely we all have a responsibility to care for our Blue Planet. The future of humanity and indeed, all life on earth, now depends on us.
Sir David Attenborough
I do have hope. Nature is enormously resilient, humans are vastly intelligent, the energy and enthusiasm that can be kindled among young people seems without limit, and the human spirit is indomitable. But if we want life, we will have to stop depending on someone else to save the world. It is up to us – you and me, all of us. Myself, I have placed my faith in the children.
The whole order of nature evinces a progressive march towards a higher life.
This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation.
Now we, if not in the spirit, have been caught up to see our earth, our mother, Gaia Mater, set like a jewel in space. We have no excuse now for supposing her riches inexhaustible nor the area we have to live on limitless because unbounded. We are the children of that great blue white jewel. Through our mother we are part of the solar system and part through that of the whole universe. In the blazing poetry of the fact we are children of the stars.
The question is.… whether we shall, by whatever means, succeed in reconstituting the natural world as the true terrain of politics, rehabilitating the personal experience of human beings as the initial measure of things, placing morality above politics and responsibility above our desires, in making human community meaningful, in returning content to human speech, in reconstituting, as the focus of all social action, the autonomous, integral, and dignified human “I,”…
There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self. So you have to begin there, not outside, not on other people. That comes afterward, when you’ve worked on your own corner.
Well done is better than well said.