It's amazing; the amazon rainforest is burning to a cinder and more Press attention was given to the Notre Dame aflame.
This is a state of planetary sleepiness.
This is a state.
Yoga tells us that everything affects all else.
Surely we don't need a scientist to tell us that one-fifth of the Earth's 'lungs' aflame is a bad thing. That the carbon released is going to increase the dramatic effects of climate change. That nature's medicines (herbs, trees, foliage and flowers) will forever be lost. That animals are dying as a result of these fires and extinctions of maybe yet-to-be-discovered life systems may occur.
Small shifts make seismic transformation.
Waking up is not easy. It's deeply painful to feel helpless and powerless to make a positive difference.
Ignorance is bliss.
And it's easy to turn a blind eye and get caught up in all the distraction. To sink into ignorance and not notice our collective impact on the planet.
Mass extinctions are occurring, huge destruction of natural ecosystems, fossil fuels continue to be burned and release harmful CO2 into out atmosphere, animals are farmed for human consumption creating huge problems for our environment (clearing of natural habitats to provide land, release of methane gases which contribute to climate change to name a few), toxins are sprayed onto expanses of field with no real education or idea of what effect they have on the soils and rivers, rain and therefore our foods.
Commercialism and consumerism continue to destroy our planet. And the devastation we are witnessing now is only the beginning.
And yet the powers-that-be (the Press, journalists, TV, radio) all focus on celebrity, on sales and on 'current affairs'. The Amazon is burning and the headlines revolve around everything but this fact.
And one can feel helpless. Like we can't make a difference. How can one individual's actions change things for the better?
Simple steps can, and will help.
Yoga isn't about achieving anything quickly. It's a slow journey. There is no end in sight; there's always further to go, deeper to dive, a new angle or bind, or mantra to practice. The edges ever-shifting. The results ever-changing.
We can't change all the above quickly. We can take baby steps. With real intention.
Simple ways to make a difference (and there are far better articles on this than ours check out WWF, Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace and alike) include:
- Reduce waste. Recycle; compost; refuse extra packaging, re-use plastic over and over.
- Feed scraps of food to wild birds, or foxes.
- Be conscious and use your consumer power to make a difference. You don't have to be rich to make a difference.
- Rather than buy chemical products, choose those that are natural; cleansers, house cleaning products, essential oils instead of perfumes or house deodorisers, personal cosmetics (make them yourself or support brands like Lush, Jason, Sukin, Neal's Yard Remedies etc.)
- Buy locally rather than get items shipped from abroad.
- Buy second hand to avoid landfill and oceans being saturated with unwanted goods.
- Buy recycled; books, loo paper etc.
- Holiday in your home country and avoid flights where possible.
- Car share; if you have a 5-seater car and you're the only one travelling, choose the bus, rail or walk if possible.
- Plant trees and encourage wildlife into your garden with wild flowers, nettles and let weeds grow.
- Support the local ecosystem by avoiding 'pet repellents' and insecticides.
- Choose organic if possible. (We know this costs more and may not be possible)
- Don't smoke/vape; bad for your body and for the environment.
- Don't make unnecessary car journeys; walk or minimise trips as much as possible.
- Join a co-operative if possible and bulk buy ingredients that are package free and environmentally friendly.
- Cook meals from fresh rather than buy pre-packaged processed foods.
- Reduce your consumption of meat.
- Go veggie or vegan.
- Donate secondhand clothes, books, toys, household goods to charity shops, homeless centres or friends/family who are in need.
- Reject and refuse palm oils (linked to deforestation and the demise of orang-utans).
- Don't buy perfume or chemical deodorants; choose natural or make your own.
- Don't litter; throw items in the bin rather than on the street or nature.
- Reduce your plastics; chewing gum is a form of plastic too (chew mint or lemon instead of gum).
- Fundraise or donate to charities that support the earth and its inhabitants.
- Buy a bicycle and use it for all short journeys, rather than driving.
- Turn off lights in rooms you aren't using at night.
- Reduce the temperature on your washing machine when washing clothes.
- Save water; don't leave the tap running while brushing your teeth or washing up.
- Be mindful when heating your house; can you put an extra jumper on, rather than heating and using valuable fuels.
There are loads more ways to make a positive difference. These are so simple and will hardly make any difference to your habitual way of living.
But this process of awakening means we realise that our actions have effects.
Never stop questioning; do I really need this item? Have I got too much? What impact is this having on my immediate environment? And beyond?
Don't seek perfection. Just do your best. The best that you can, with the tools you've been given.
This is it; we only have one home and even if you are childless, we need to consider the future generations and how we can positively change the state we are in. Before it's too late.
Most importantly, educate yourself about what and how we impact the planet. Read up, learn and get passionate about local groups who are seeking to change the situation for local wildlife, saving land from being built on, reducing pollution, recycle schemes, charity shops etc.
Together, small changes will make a difference.