The pressure is rising on us as a society, a race and even a civilisation to make really fundamental changes in the way we are living. This week David Attenborough described the human race as a plague on the earth. This might be a little strong but speaks of his wish to wake us up to our situation. Many of us seem to think we can continue as we have been with just a few minor changes. But ‘business as usual’ will not be enough; we believe we are being asked to change much more than we have been willing to do so far.
As a child growing up on a farm in Kenya I witnessed a number of plagues, mostly locusts, and they were always an amazing experience. We were living in this green paradise with the most abundant and beautiful foliage and then the sky would darken and darken like a full eclipse but with a noise of billions of wings flapping. Then everywhere you looked or stood would be covered in feeding locusts and within a short time it would be over; the cloud would move on as suddenly as it had appeared. The trees would still be there, and the hills and even the stream but everything green would be gone. The destruction was total with just stalks of crops left. Maybe we are doing it a little more slowly, but I think David Attenborough is right.
Susie and I discuss with each other where we can change and, while there are some no brainers, we also recognise we need to go further than that now. We are certainly moving to a more plant-based diet, growing as much as we can here and then buying in local organic fruit and veg. Susie has committed to buying no new clothes for a year and we aim to plant a number of trees and hedges this autumn. We have also designated some of our land for “wilding”. Naturally our work with Microbz helps to restore biology to our environment, and with VisionWorks we hope to raise people’s consciousness for without growing our consciousness we will never escape this predicament. That is the key, for the destructive power of governments that are not conscious, that are not aware and barely rise above consummate self-interest, is obvious to us all now.
We see the major issue around contributing to this situation is our competition. If we could address this and this alone we would make major strides in saving the planet from the plague that we are. The first thing we need to understand is that most of our competition is hidden so it takes a little awareness and accountability to really face it. Competition grows from a feeling of scarcity and fear and so this is what it creates, in our minds and therefore in the world around us. This fear and scarcity then sets up a win – lose attitude which is the essence of competition and this is where we are: many are winning and many are also losing, including the planet, for we have now developed an appetite that far exceeds the available resources. It will not be long before the cupboard is empty for both the winners and the losers.
Also we need to get past our consumer based financial models. Many of us have traded out creativity for consumerism and while we all need to consume to survive the balance has swung almost off the scale. It is a good practice to commit to do something creative every day. Whether we sing or dance or write does not matter; it turns our taking into giving and really it will only be through our giving that we find happiness.
In the future we will look to how we need to behave too. Already we see signs of companies and corporations being called to account for their methods and behaviour and this will only increase and maybe spread to individuals. Certain aspirations we might have today could be considered crimes by the next generation and while there are a few the big one that jumps to my mind is dying wealthy. One day that might be considered a crime against humanity. We know that suggestion could create a reaction of fear but for civilisation to survive we need to get beyond competition. Dying wealthy means we have taken more than we need and won the competition but others have lost, individually and collectively. So we have made the commitment to share what we have in the best way we can and to be and think inclusively and mutually, to reach for co-operation and kindness in all things and all ways. To learn and practice generosity, as it is the antidote to scarcity and opens us up to endless possibilities and even miracles.