Now part of Green Living Sacred Life by Susan M Phillips and Tye Jamie Coxston (Capall Bann) isbn 1-86163-323-8
Astronauts who have been lucky enough to see it from a distance describe it as an unimaginably beautiful blue-green luminous jewel and, according to Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis, the earth is actually a living, sentient being with emotions and feelings. Health problems such as disease are dealt with in the same way as in any other organism – with changes in temperature, fluid levels and so on. The being we call earth seems to control these through atmospheric and climatic changes. The living creatures on and in the earth are like the microorganisms that exist on any animal, but on a larger scale. Think of our own bodies; we have microbes in our digestive tract to enable us to extract the nutrients from food, we have others on our skin and so on, nearly all of which work to our mutual benefit. Scientists have recently noted that we contain so many different organisms that each person is more like a community than an individual.
When poor diet or too many antibiotics cause damage to the natural flora of the bowel, their place may be taken by others that are less beneficial giving rise to such conditions as Candida Albicans. When we catch a virus our temperature will go up to make the body inhospitable to the invader. When mankind clears vast areas of rainforest, the climate changes. Rain ceases and temperatures soar during the day and the land becomes uninhabitable – earth’s attempt to limit the infection known as humanity.
Lovelock based his hypothesis on careful scientific observation and his idea found support in some scientific circles. His work confirmed what had been taught in so many pagan traditions for thousands of years and. Mother Earth, Gaia, Terra, Mother Nature, these are just a few of the names we have given to this being that has nurtured us since time began. Lovelock has had a great influence on the activities of environmentalists around the world and many of us are much more enlightened thanks to the work of people like him. He is, however, very pessimistic for the future of our world because of the damage we are already doing through our use of fossil fuels. He has even gone on record as advocating the building of more nuclear power stations, because he feels that we simply do not have time to create enough energy through renewable resources such as wind and solar power. His contention is that nuclear power has had an unreasonably bad press and that the concerns have been exaggerated, whereas the damage done by stations burning fossil fuels and belching out greenhouse gases have been understated. The real problem, though, lies with us. We demand more and more electricity and it has to come from somewhere. We have to have a major turnaround of attitude and it must start here and now – with you and me.
In 1989, I wrote in Silver Wheel Magazine: Our beautiful mother earth is sick, maybe dying. What are we doing about it? The rainforests in South America and South Africa are still being cut down and cleared in spite of what we know it will do to this planet. We ‘civilized’ beings sit comfortably in judgement, watching television programs about it behind our plastic or hardwood doors, in houses kept clean with bleaches and detergents that are destroying the green and pleasant land in which we live. We keep ourselves warm by burning fossil fuels and export, free of charge, the acid rain we produce to other countries. What charitable creatures we are!
We breed animals just to eat them. How civilised! The methane and carbon dioxide they produce in their often brief, hopefully well cared for lives, we kindly donate to the upper atmosphere to join the other ‘greenhouse gases’ already up there.
When we want to discuss the problem of pollution, how do we travel? How else, but by car, so that we can share our noxious emissions with as many people as possible.
All in all our modern society is pretty generous. When the occasional global disaster occurs, like a famine in Africa or a flood in Bangladesh, we send money to feed the victims we can watch dying on our little TV screens. It is easier than addressing the question of why, and leaves to others the question of how to cope. After all, nature always balances itself in the end – doesn’t it? SMP
There does not seem to have been much change since then; but there could be. That is your gift.
(Excerpt from Green Living, Sacred Life by Susan M. Phillips and Tye Jamie Coxston, a forthcoming book to be published by Capall Bann Publishing, UK)