Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Healing the Living Earth

At the COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen they're getting it wrong. World leaders are talking up the science of climate change. They're preaching fire and brimstone about carbon, greenhouse gases, ravaged rain forests and humanity cooking the earth into poison stew. They're looking at the earth as a mathematical formula that can be rebalanced by pushing the broken pieces of the global ecosystem back into place... News flash: seeing the earth as a machine is what wounded it in the first place. Continuing to treat Gaia's living body as an engine that can be fixed by replacing parts and retuning it will only wound it more.
The intentions are right, the mindset is wrong.

It will take two things to heal the earth: 1) interact with the planet as a living being and 2) design and dwell with cities, buildings, products and other human creations as organs in the body of Gaia. Climate change is nature's response to our attempts to halt her changes. Straining to freeze frame living processes into measurable and controllable quantities, we have blocked the veins and lungs of the earth. If we don't want Gaia's heart to stop beating, we have to stop attacking her with our mechanical mindset.

The moment we relate to Earth as You instead of It the world of fragmented parts becomes a living being. When we respond to Nature as a living being we can see what we share with all living beings: hope and fear, youth and aging, health and sickness, abundance and scarcity, and so much that is elusive and indescribable. We can see that we are interconnected with all beings, that our wellness is intimately related to the wellness of our neighbors. We can see that we share these life processes with earth and she shares them with us.

Certainly we need to reduce our carbon footprints and handprints. We need to recycle, build green, farm organic, power with solar and wind. But the tasks will be easier and the ways will be clearer when we dwell as living beings interacting with the living being of the earth. Then, instead of making futile attempts to heal a lifeless machine, we can heal the vital systems of a living being. Live for an hour seeing your home, your neighborhood and your city as living beings within the living body of the earth and see if that opens some pathways to your role healing the world.


  1. Anthony, a beautiful post and I agree. I think one possibility that can develop as a result of such a shift in thinking is the opening of doorways to possibilities we cannot even see from our present vantage point. Once we start on such a path of transformation, the end point suddenly becomes pleasantly open-ended.

  2. Michael, Thanks for your comment. Change begins with seeing. First, seeing our unexamined assumptions. Then seeing through those assumptions to what is occurring beyond our personal viewpoint. Then being honest enough and courageous enough to response to what we actually see. The same old hammer of fragmented thinking can only produce a fragmented would, even with the best intentions. Healing and unity can only come from unifying and healing consciousness.

  3. What a profound way to see our Earth, Tony. This post is making me think about my interactions with the Earth, and seeing them as interactions rather than just how I treat her. Thanks for helping me create this awareness.

  4. Thanks, Dian. Moving from object oriented action to process engaging relationship is the first step in authentic transformation. Otherwise we are merely rearranging pieces on the chessboard of duality. Seeing Earth as a living being instantly changes everything.