Sustainability – in Roland’s words:
You know love, right? You must be familiar with this emotion, because you are here now, soaking these words in, out of attachment and concern, so out of deep care.
It may seem as a banal statement that there is no love without respect. That it is conceivable to respect without love, we would readily nod: “yes, sure”, even though we know that such respect is fear driven, which is the wrong kind of energetic field, something unhealthy and spiritually counterproductive to be in. Not something you want to foster or be part of.
Love, on the other hand, is quite the opposite, that we – in great excess of just wanting – necessitate more, rather than less of. We need love to feel complete and one with the universe. Regardless how subconscious, it is our connection point to a benevolent order.
Now, we all know how much we have disturbed, deranged our relation to this benevolent universal order. While the order itself hasn’t moved out of its dynamic constancy at all, our rapport has disfigured, has corrupted towards it.
What has happened for far too many millennia now, is that we have been withdrawing this all-encompassing “wholesale” love-respect and, for selfish, crazy-abstract and typical-to-our-species-alone reasons, we have been trading it piecemeal for “retail-market” love gains. Of course it was a fallacy to believe that we could ever withdraw from the universal love, yet we have acted as if so – in almost total ignorance.
Here we are, following this status report, you and us arduously wanting to return into the primordial embrace, however return not naively, but with the wisdom that allows not for future self-betrayal.
Because sustainability is a one-way path, at times going with, at others against gravity, yet a path of no return. A comforting rather than squeezy feeling.
The key is to reignite our love and respect toward the earthly embodiment of the universe. It’s our test relationship: if we can accept the Earth’s love and can respect Gaia for what it is, our cradle, our nurturer, our home and constant transformer, then we can realign ourselves with the laws of the Universe.
To spark love or for it to be rekindled, the parties need to be intimately together. And the emphasis is on intimacy. Because it is in intimacy where hearts can touch. Togetherness alone is insufficient. Knowing the other with our minds is not enough either. We have to feel (for) each other.
Have you ever felt like literally falling on your belly on a piece of land in your love for it? If so, revisit those moments and what they felt like – bask in them.
Conjure up more moments of such emotional charge towards land, the Earth. Feel the free-fall before it. Because it is exactly this fall that will make you rise as a spiritual being, like all other non-human creatures in your eyesight and beyond.
Fall to rise! Be humbled by first, to be able to get strong through the same love. As in our human lovelives.
Our commitment to sustainable living is precisely this unconditioned love for the Earth: air, water, rocks, soil and everything moving through them, prey and predator alike.
This is a gentle, non-aggressive, non-domineering love which recognizes that we are all one and inseparable. Very much like seeing the sea in a drop of water and the sea is you in that drop.
Worms and Honey, by Csermely Magyar (age 8)
The birds fly high in the sky,
you never know where
and you never know why.
They search far and wide,
for worms to hide.
To take them home,
while the bears eat the honeycomb.
What it means to live sustainably, in Cheryl’s words:
The year is 2019, and there is plenty of talk about climate change and what we should be doing to prevent the environmental disasters soon to be caused by rising temperatures around the globe. There are even climate change deniers who see what they want to see – that there are more than enough fossil fuels to exploit for years to come.
But for how many years will there be enough? For how many people will there be enough? How much are we willing to waste away in the blind pursuit of a so-called better life – thinking only of the here and now?
Why must we be so greedy – in matters of food, clothing, electricity, transportation, little luxuries that make us feel better about ourselves? More of everything and faster inflow… without a care of saving for the future.
Garbage and clutter, often one and the same, are things that we humans all have, and we all produce. We are like no other species on earth. We create spectacular objects from chemical compositions, only to say that they are not good enough, they can be better, so let’s try and try again, lightly tossing the “old” away.
As it turns out, some of the best materials for building and crafting objects for the home are still the natural ones – wood, stone, clay and glass. For thousands of years we could live perfectly fine without plastic. But now, that we have it, well, we certainly take full advantage. Now, I’m not saying that plastic shouldn’t have been invented, yet at the same time, who gave us the right to mistreat it? We easily toss the “one-time use” into the ditches (as if it was an apple core), waterways and eventually the ocean, mostly not on purpose, though it ends up in strange places all the time.
Think about it, even the plastic soles of our shoes are distancing our connection to nature. Once we put on shoes, to protect our feet from broken glass and scraps of metal, we also take away our ability to ground – or to be connected with the healing and restorative energies of the Earth
How are we to love the land if we are constantly, and in some cases intentionally, separating ourselves from the very soil that provides for us? Even the majority of food comes from the store, arriving there by truck from large farms. It is less and less the case that food is grown in backyards – planted, harvested and touched by human hands.
Our common journey of living a sustainable life, one lived closer to nature, started more than 17 years ago with our marriage. The unshakeable roots of sustainability took hold during our childhoods.
Even though I grew up in a suburb, my sisters and I were outside many days, either swimming or climbing trees, we spent many nights camped out in the backyard, sitting by the campfire and gazing up at the stars. As a family we hiked in state parks and nature reserves, spending quality time in nature, together.
I was a Girl Scout from the ages of 6 till 18, learning essential skills to be in and to protect nature. I’ve spent countless hours and endless miles hiking trails in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The desire to preserve nature is in my bones, and I take it with me wherever I go.
Here, in northern Romania, is the place we call home. It may be far from where I grew up, yet it is on this Earth where I live – and no matter where I am in the world, I am at home.
It goes without saying that sustainability starts at home. Regardless where you live, taking up space on this wonderful planet, it is your responsibility to take care of it for future generations. Many times it is the little things you do everyday, that cultivate the impact of our lives.
We talk about #climateaction, but what do we do about it? Personally, we have chosen to have one child, or rather, she has solely chosen us to be her parents. We have become eco-minimalists together – and at some moments in our journey owning and carrying all what fit into our backpacks. Now that we have settled on a homestead once again, we have acquired what we need for effortless, thriving survival, not one bucket more.
We homeschool, we work from home and we haven’t owned a car for more than 12 years – instead we walk most places, taking public transportation when necessary. We’ve made the pledge to not fly, to help reduce carbon emissions around the world, we also plant native trees to oxygenate the air and stabilize the soil. We eat locally, grow some of our own food in our organic garden amongst the back meadow, and will soon raise our own grass-fed meat again. We forage for wild nutrients to add to our diet, we gave up mass produced gluteny grains more than 6 years ago, we brush our teeth with roots and twigs, carry our groceries in 10000x reusable backpacks – all the while without running water or a fridge in our house.
There are ways around everything if you sit in quiet contemplation and think about them for a while.
We all have sustainable choices to make – and it does matter where, and how, we put our feet down in this world. Our sustainable actions may not be your sustainable actions, yet we all must take action – to be the change that we want to see in the world.
Every straw you refuse does matter, every handsewn cloth bag you take to the market does too. Grow your own squash, bring in your own eggs, sew your own leather shoes or carve a wooden spoon. The world needs eco-artisans now more than ever. Stop buying into the mass-produced-plastic-fast-fashion craze and get back to the basics of materials such as hemp, linen and organic cotton. Now is the time to design your sustainable life!
2019 has just begun. Where will it take you?