Earth Day, 2012
This planet and life will long outlast us. If the greed of the Kochs and EXXON and the blindess and venality of their paid lackies, political and intellectual, triumphs the earth may become very inhospitable to us, sending billions to where it sent the dinosaurs. But life will continue. We are not "Life's Saviors." That fantasy is just another human ego trip. Life is tougher than we are. But we can assist or destroy the communities of life that brought us forth, and surround us with beauty and meaning.
We can accomplish this if we realize, as Aldo Leopold put it in his Almanac, that we are just "plain citizens" of life on earth, and it is time we began acting like such. Far from being anti-human, we need only enlarge that part of us which may be most unique, our hearts, to embrace what he terms a "land ethic."
Such an ethic...
"...simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.
"This sounds simple: do we not already sing our love for and obligation to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, but just what and whom do we love? Certainly not the soil, which we are sending helter-skelter downriver. Certainly not the waters, which we assume have no function except to turn turbines, float barges, and carry off sewage. Certainly not the plants, of which we exterminate whole communities without batting an eye. Certainly not the animals, of which we have already extirpated many of the largest and most beautiful species. A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these 'resources,' but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state."
Can we live our lives as if this ethic mattered? That may be a crucial test of the ability of our path to shape our steps.
Gus diZerega is a Gardnerian Elder with over 25 years practice, including six years close study with a Brazilian shaman. He has been active in interfaith work off and on for most of those 25 years as well. He has conducted workshops and given presentations on healing, shamanism, ecology and politics at Pagan gatherings in the United States and Canada. Follow Gus on Facebook.
Gus blogs at Pointedly Pagan.