January 22

Reflection

All of us know our beautiful green planet is in danger. We act as if our daily lives have nothing to do with the condition of the world. We are like sleepwalkers not knowing what we are doing or where we are heading. We need a kind of collective awakening. There are men and women who have awakened but it is not enough. Most people are still sleeping. We have created a society… in which we are so caught up in our own immediate problems that we cannot afford to be aware of what’s going on with the rest of the human family and with our planet earth. We have to have another dream, the dream of brotherhood and sisterhood, of loving kindness and compassion. We have enough wisdom to be able to live the dream. Mindfulness is at the heart of awakening and of enlightenment. We don’t have to sink into despair about global warming. We can act. Urgent action must be taken at the individual and collective levels. It is time for each of us to wake up and take action in our own lives. We have the power to decide the destiny of our planet. If we awaken to our true situation there will be a change in our collective consciousness. We have to do something to wake people up.
Adapted from The Bells of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

Prayer

May the human community awaken and act for the good of life on earth.

Action

How aware am I of the state of this planet and its implications for all life? Has this been part of my discussions and thinking? Do I feel any responsibility? What changes am I willing to make? How can I “awaken” others?

Suggested Reading

Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you of much more value then they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are you anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say to you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God clothes the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall God not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Matthew 6:25-28

The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers; the heavens languish together with the earth. The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth dwindled, and few people are left.
Isaiah 24:3-6

Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish; together with the wild animals and the birds of the air, even the fish of the sea are perishing.
Hosea 4:3

Probably the most visible example of unintended consequences, is what happens every time humans try to change the natural ecology of a place.
Margaret J. Wheatley

The first law of ecology is that everything is related to everything else.
Barry Commoner

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.
Ansel Adams

The American reading his Sunday paper in a state of lazy collapse is perhaps the most perfect symbol of the triumph of quantity over quality…. Whole forests are being ground into pulp daily to minister to our triviality.
Irving Babbitt

The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human. To damage this community is to diminish our own existence.
Thomas Berry

To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.
Wendell Berry

We’re never going to have respectful and reverential relationships with the planet- and sensible policies about what we put in the air, the soil, the water – if very young children don’t begin learning about these things literally in their houses, backyards, streets and schools. We need to have human beings who are oriented that way from their earliest memories.
Elise Boulding

This is the only planet we have.
Barack Obama

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