Long time ago there was a connection between the human family and the planet. As the Hopi Nation says there was respect for everything around us, we could feel the planet underneath our feet, we could sense the trees under the touch of our hands, we could listen to the birds and how they sang each day a different tune, we could sleep under a clear bright sky and count the stars above us, we could even feel the gentle kiss of the wind in our faces, and we could hold hands with each other in a universal embrace where there was no need for words.
But then all that changed. We become hungry and in our hunger we are deploying our planet and our chances for survival. We no longer connect to the earth, and we are reducing our connection with each other. More words are needed, more gadgets are required as if it was the only way we could embrace each other.
In 2013, the world population was already over 7 billion, which means the ecological footprint of the human population exceeds the biocapacity of its environment, not only the growth of the human population but its demands exceeds the capacity of the environment to sustain its population. Recent studies have shown that Earth’s resources are enough to sustain only about 2 billion people at a european standard of living.
Other studies have shown that if the world’s 7 billion people consumed as much as an average american, it would take the resources of five planet Earths to sustainably support all of them. They concluded, as well, that even the poorest countries are deploying their biocapacity by over 10%.
What becomes of the surplus of human life? It is either, 1st. destroyed by infanticide, as among the Chinese and Lacedemonians; or 2d. it is stifled or starved, as among other nations whose population is commensurate to its food; or 3d. it is consumed by wars and endemic diseases; or 4th. it overflows, by emigration, to places where a surplus of food is attainable.
-James Madison, 1791, U.S. President
Pressures resulting from unrestrained population growth put demands on the natural world that can overwhelm any efforts to achieve a sustainable future. If we are to halt the destruction of our environment, we must accept limits to that growth.
-World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, signed by 1600 senior scientists from 70 countries, including 102 Nobel Prize laureates
If we don’t halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity- and will leave a ravaged world.
-Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry W. Kendall
It isn’t only the growth of the global human population, it is also its growing needs and demands that overcomes our natural resources, and jeopardizes the balance that exists in the world.
When I think of the conclusions of these studies, the image that comes to my mind is that we, the human population, have become a plague of grasshoppers to the planet and it will eventually succumb or fight back.
The only solution is to be more mindful of the resources and of our buying options. Do we really need so many technological gadgets made of compounds that harm our planet? Do we need to consume so much energy and water? Do our children need so many toys? Are we grateful for what we have? When we buy something, do we think how it was made and of the conditions of the people who produced it?
I for instance want to change. I want to help my children to be more connected with the earth around them. I want them be able to play with little and to be grateful for what they have. I want them to learn how to respect what the planet gives us, and as the story foretold by the Hopis, I want them to be rainbow warriors, to care about the earth and its beings. I want them to know how to connect with other people without having to go to Facebook. I want them to have compassion for everything around us.
The other day, I faced a dilema. Somewhere inside my house there must be a hive of bees. Every other day a bee comes to my children’s room causing panic. I called a company to see if they could find the hive and take it to a safe place for them and for us. Unfortunately the experts couldn’t find it, so the only solution they gave me was to kill one and to take it to them for them to analyse.
Honey bees are responsible for the pollination which continues the life cycle of a plant or tree. If there weren’t any honey bees left, there would be no food on our planet to produce. Mindfully I chose to take one by one the honey bee out of the children’s bedroom, and eventually we will live in another house.
I decided to change. I want to be more mindful of the planet and what it gives me. And although I have no knowledge of gardening, I’m even willing to give it a try. What about you? What will you do to help our planet survive? What will you do to be in touch again with the sacredness that exist around us?