One of the Best Ways to Help The Environment Is to Remedy Ourselves

| 7/17/2015 1:38:00 PM


Humanity stands at an interesting juncture at the start of the 21st Century. We overflow with knowledge and have a global middle class with unrestricted access to it. People across the world enjoy the political freedom to conduct their lives relatively unhindered. But neither this available knowledge, nor the freedom to act upon it has helped us collectively reverse a globally destructive course we have cumulatively embarked upon.

We are losing species from human disrupted environments at rates that have many leading biologists considering this age a period of mass extinction—one of only five the world has seen in 3.5 billion years of life.

None of this is happening quietly. Across the globe are tens of thousands of advocates working to set a more sustainable course. But combined, all the solutions have amounted to paltry patches, which, while inspiring on their own scale, are like mites trying to move a mountain. We know we have a big problem. But it's one that we are collectively unable to do anything about.

On paper how to help the environment seems easy. But in the current state of our individual realities, they are not achievable because our environmental woes are symptoms of us. How can you ask a population struggling to take care of itself to look after their environment? "People are crippled by a cycle of suffering," says Kobi, the found of The Vagabond Temple, a yoga retreat center in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Kobi is part of a global movement of introspection emerging in Western contexts as  recoil to our current state of existential affairs. Religious historian Karen Armstrong thinks that today, "We are finding that the traditional ways of experiencing the sacred and discovering and ultimate meaning in our lives are either difficult or impossible" (Buddha, 2004).

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