I remember being in class during my NYU Master’s program and thinking to myself, almost everything I am learning about environmental policy is relative to where one lives.
That was 5 years ago, and today the Amazon burns and my opinion hasn’t changed. We all like to think that logical theories and practical solutions can be blanketed over the globe’s different populations. We want to believe that what works in the US will work in Europe and might even work in India or a Middle Eastern country. The policies protecting our planet can be global and those feel so good to hear about. Yet, when one looks at their own local government and finds that little is being done, the macro picture stops mattering as much; not because of its reduced effect but on the contrary due to the clear lack of accountability people feel towards the pieces of earth they inhabit.
This post is not about arguing for global warming or about what industrialized countries have contributed and where each country finds itself at fault.
This post is about the human factor in all of this. This is about doing something out of love and not out of fear of extinction and desertification.
Surely, I can understand that people’s lifestyles and relationships to nature differ immensely and sometimes even in unrecognizable ways from one neighborhood to another. Except compassion must find its way back into our lives even if in the smallest incidents.
Then again, sometimes it seems that compassion and kindness towards the earth are really big asks. We work endless years until we annihilate ourselves, and we simultaneously lose consciousness of anything that surrounds us. We self sabotage, and we put so much effort into becoming kinder to ourselves, and still we struggle. Perhaps we must first understand that one big challenge to the environmental problem is not that we don’t care about earth and nature, but it is that we don’t care about ourselves.
The Earth’s lungs are burning, but so are our lungs; so where does that leave us? If nature is a representation of our spirits, then the abandonment of our spirits is the problem.
So reconnection is essential. Rebuilding a relationship with one’s direct environment is important, because if you don’t care about watering the tree in front of your house, then you wont care about the bigger problem; and it is immensely bothersome to force you.
That is where local policies come in place, that is where parents come into action and people with any kind of authority become the little workers for a much bigger cause. It surely requires more than just second thoughts, but it requires some dwelling on the subject, some education and wide awareness about our parts in nature. Logic seems to help in creating solutions, but logic has rarely convinced anyone to do something differently.
We are emotional creatures driven by some loathing a lot of hope, so what can we do with that? How does this mix bring forth something good?
Hope is good, but the loathing needs to end. Eventually, those among us who manage to drop the loathing suddenly find immense power in spirit and a connection to the environment.
I end with the beginning; what kind of loathing exists locally around you, and whom or what is it directed towards? That is the distraction, that is where we begin to care.