SinCH Chairman Rob gives us his perspective about the spiritual side of Sustainability.
Please send us your thoughts about why we need to take Sustainability seriously.
This page may start in downbeat mode, but hopefully will build to give hope and inspiration that we can meet the challenge of these times. Not sure there is a challenge? Go on, at least give this blog and the wider website the once over. Thank you.
In search of Wisdom and Harmony
Our earth is wounded.
Her oceans and lakes are sick; her rivers are like running sores;
the air is filled with subtle poisons.
And the oily smoke of countless hellish fires blackens the sun.
Men and women, scattered from homeland, family, friends,
wander desolate and uncertain, scorched by a toxic sun. …
In this desert of frightened, blind uncertainty, some take refuge in the pursuit of power.
Some become manipulators of illusion and deceit.
If wisdom and harmony still dwell in this world,
as other than a dream lost in an unopened book,
they are hidden in our heartbeat.
And it is from out hearts that we cry out.
We cry out and our voices are the single voice of this wounded earth.
Our cries are a great wind across the earth.
This reflection of the state of the world and of the planet could have been written yesterday, but is taken from the Himalayan epic poem The Warrior Song of King Gezar, thought to have been written in the 12th century. It is still performed in Central Asia.
A time for reflection
During the first Covid lockdown, many of us came to appreciate nature more, particularly perhaps the clarity of birdsong due to much reduced traffic noise and walking on previously unfrequented paths. The following quotation develops the possibility of a closer connection with nature:
“At last came a morning in June, light, airy and still. I had awakened to find the early morning sun streaming in my open uncurtained window, golden and warm. I tossed away the bedclothes to stand entranced at the sight and sound and perfume of the perfect morning. It sometimes happens, at rare moments in our lives, we are suddenly aware of an altogether new world, different completely from that in which we commonly live. We feel as though we stand at the threshold of an undiscovered kingdom; for brief moments we understand life interpreted, we perceive meaning instead of things.
In those golden moments I understood every word on a single page of the magic book of Life inscribed in language neither written nor spoken. There was a sublime tranquillity in the level white mists of the valley, a symphony like the ascending melodies of Grieg in the sun rays that climbed aslant the hill, a quiet strength in the stillness of the trees, a brotherhood of life in all living things. I was no longer a single life pushing a difficult way amidst material things; I was a part of all creation.”
‘Copsford’, Walter J C Murray
Perhaps we often live at too superficial a level to realise ‘wisdom and harmony’ are ‘hidden in our heartbeat’. From my own experience I know that realising that I am just part of Earth’s overall ecosytem instead of living as if Earth is inanimate and can cope with all I take from and throw at her is a huge change of mindset and can be a bumpy road to adjust life to suit the new outlook. I still have changes to make.
Can we find hope in that journey and from the deeper wisdom and harmony that is still within us? Various groups of people, particularly some indigenous peoples around the world seem to have never lost this. As this wisdom and harmony grow, our voices will more and more be the single voice of this Earth we have wounded. And we will then be helping to restore and regenerate Earth from our plunder of her over past centuries.
We are at a pivotal point and change is needed. It is becoming increasingly obvious that we cannot keep consuming the earth’s resources in the way we have been doing. This is degrading the environment and its biodiversity, and this in turn fuels climate change.
We have reached a tipping point
From the work of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) we know for sure that the climate crisis is caused by human activities (e.g. use of fossil fuels, industrial-scale agriculture) and is already affecting every corner of the planet’s land, air and sea, which we notice as more frequent, extreme and killer storms, floods, heatwaves, droughts and sea level rises.
These effects will get far worse if the slim chance remaining to avert heating above 1.5ºC is not immediately grasped.
The IPCC’s latest report published on 4 April 2022 indicates governments have not (yet) made enough carbon reduction commitments leading to a prediction of between 2.2 and 3.5ºC of warming by 2100. That would mean even more suffering or catastrophe, even apocalypse if we do nothing at all.
Governments, especially democratic ones, tend to follow what their populations want. If you want your grandchildren and great-grandchildren to have a chance of thriving, even surviving, it is time to make radical changes to our carbon emissions as an example to our governments to implement the policies necessary.
What does that mean for us?
The Great Turning website argues that to protect future generations we have to have a fundamental transition to a new society.
“The time has come; the call is clear. We, as humanity, are awakening to a pivotal, evolutionary turning point. We are learning how to transition from a life-destroying society to a life-affirming global family… And you can be a part of ushering in deep change that recognises our interdependence, honours the sacred, respects all life and protects the Earth for future generations.”
Craig Schindler, co-originator of the term The Great Turning lays us down a challenge to rethink our place in the world and how we live our lives by calling for – “a shift from our war-weary adolescence as a human species to our conscious adulthood”.
Or as St Paul put it (Romans, ch 8, v 19, The Bible): “Creation groans with eager longing for the children of God (that’s all of us) to come into our own, to find our true selves.”
The nature and scale of the changes needed at personal, communal, national and global levels in our endeavour to turn round our current life-destroying direction is huge. I find I cannot face the challenge of making changes without my connections to others, to the Earth where I live and reflecting on my place in Earth and Universe. Time to dig deep…
“THERE IS HOPE when we acknowledge the enormity and complexity of possibility way beyond what our human minds have made sense of so far!” Kari Van Tine, Life Coach
SinCH’s aim is to help us make this transition by fostering a community of eco-cooperation, in which we support one another in making changes towards more sustainable living.
Please take look at the pages of the website which gives much information to help us move on and please join us in that journey.
Rob Horton, SinCH Chairman