Tag Archives: Trees
Earth is a sacred and magical place. There’s enough natural abundance here for all of us to be fed, clothed and housed many times over. And yet billions of people still go to bed hungry, live in devastating conditions, and are forced to eke out an existence in the most dangerous and toxic of realities. All life, yours, mine, ours, comes from the planet’s freely given elements. But when it comes time to return the favor, to care for the earth as it cares for us, a handful of elites have persuaded us that what we ought to do is treat the earth like an endless storehouse, and put the very life systems that we all depend upon up for sale to the highest bidder. If we’re going to have a future, we’ve got to reverse the equation and start to manage those things that all life depends on in a way that respects life above all else, including profit. […]
The process of transforming nature into commodities opens up an important question: who owns the trees that cover the land, the minerals beneath the soil, or the fish in the oceans? Don’t these things belong to everyone in common? When corporations and states assume the right to destroy essential forests, mine mountains of finite minerals, and strip the seas of life, they are taking something that rightly belongs to everyone, that is needed for all life to exist, and selling it off for their own private advantage. This is called “enclosure” of the commons.
This process of enclosure is gaining pace all over the world, particularly in the global South. As a condition for receiving loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), developing countries are being forced to privatize their commons – to enclose them for private use. This means giving multinational corporations the right to exploit their natural resources and public services for private profit, to the benefit of a tiny elite rather than for the good of the people, and with little consideration for the planet.
The Choice is Ours (2016) Official Full Version
This film series explores many aspects of our society. To rethink what is possible in our world, we need to consider what kind of world we want to live in. Although we refer to it as civilization, it is anything but civilized. Visions of global unity & fellowship have long inspired humanity, yet the social arrangements up to the present have largely failed to produce a peaceful and productive world. While we appear to be technically advanced, our values and behaviors are not. The possibility of an optimistic future is in stark contrast to our current social, economic, and environmental dilemmas. The Choice Is Ours includes interviews with notable scientists, media professionals, authors, and other thinkers exploring the difficulties we face.
We are not here on Earth to be alone but to be a part of a living community, a web of life in which all is sacred. Like the cells of our body, all of life is in constant communication, as science is just beginning to understand. No bird sings in isolation, no bud breaks open alone. And the most central note that is present in life is its sacred nature… Hearing its presence speak to us, we feel this great bond of life that supports and nourishes us all. Today’s world may still at times make us feel lonely, but we can then remember what every animal, every insect, every plant knows — and only we have forgotten: the living sacred whole.
— Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
The beauty of the forest is extraordinary — but ‘beauty’ is too simple a word, for being here is not just an aesthetic experience, but one steeped with mystery, with awe…. My father once told me that the very word ‘paradise’ meant garden…. But gardens, Eden or Kew, are not the right metaphors here, for the primeval has nothing to do with the human, but has to do with the ancient, the aboriginal, the beginning of all things. The primeval, the sublime, are much better words here — for they indicate realms remote from the moral or the human, realms which force us to gaze into immense vistas of space and time, where the beginnings and originations of all things lie hidden. Now, as I wandered in the cycad forest on Rota, it seemed as if my senses were actually enlarging, as if a new sense, a time sense, was opening within me, something which might allow me to appreciate millennia or aeons as directly as I had experienced seconds or minutes…. Standing here in the jungle, I feel part of a larger, calmer identity; I feel a profound sense of being at home, a sort of companionship with the earth.
~ Oliver Sacks, The Island of the Colour-blind and Cycad Island, 1996
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
Poem: “Lost,” by David Wagoner from Collected Poems 1956-1976 © Indiana University Press.
An excerpt from the book Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth read by Geneen Marie Haugen, who was speaking at an Earth Talk at Schumacher College. For more on the book, visit spiritualecology.org.
Geneen Marie Haugen is a wilderness wanderer, writer, scholar and guide to the intertwined mysteries of nature and psyche. Her work has appeared recently in Parabola Journal; Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth; and Thomas Berry: Dreamer of the Earth. She is exploring the awakening of what she calls “planetary imagination,” and the possible emergence of a new mode of the human that she has called Homo imaginans.