In a world where the repercussions of progress reverberate through our cities and countryside, we find ourselves at a crossroads, questioning the state of our environment and our future. Maser’s poignant words resonate powerfully: “What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.” The question of why we need to reforest our souls becomes increasingly crucial. As beings created in the image of God, tasked with the stewardship of a harmonious coexistence with nature, how did we stray so far?
The consequences of our actions manifest worldwide in droughts, degradation of land, and displaced communities struggling for sustenance. Pollution from mines, industrial waste, and chemical runoff poison our land and water. The very fabric of ecosystems, meticulously designed by our Creator and diligently woven over centuries, unravels in the face of overgrazing and deforestation. Our negligence results in eroded topsoil, polluted rivers, and oceans choked with plastics.
The apathy with which we discard our waste and take more from the earth than can be replaced reflects the profound poverty of our souls. Droughts and extreme weather further exacerbate the situation, leading to forest fires that consume not only centuries-old trees but also the quality of air we breathe. The destruction unfolds globally, from California to Australia, leaving a trail of devastation that cannot be easily rectified.
It is much faster to tear something down than to build it up. Have you ever attempted to construct a Lego Castle? Constructing a castle block by block requires patience and precision, much like nurturing a forest and its intricate ecosystems. However, the ease with which destruction occurs is akin to knocking down that carefully built castle— We must be careful thinking about what we’re tearing down because it is going to take so much more effort and resources to rebuild. The forest ecosystem and undergrowth, with roots and the mycelium fungus system that connects it all, take a very long time to grow. This network functions akin to human brains, sending electrical signals. These electrical signals can be used to convey information or warn about incoming danger. Destruction of it prevents the ancient knowledge of the trees from being passed on to newly planted seedlings in the open. It takes so much longer to build than to tear down. We must be very careful thinking about what we’re tearing down because it is going to take so much more effort and resources to rebuild. The analogy of building a Lego castle offers a poignant perspective on our environmental predicament.
Lands marred by deforestation reveal a cycle of degradation. Once industrial farmlands replace lush forests, they require excessive fertilizers, perpetuating a dependency on external inputs. The land’s vulnerability to erosion and weather extremes reflects the exhaustion we experience in our daily lives because of overcommitment to demanding jobs. It weakens our immune systems, making us more vulnerable to viruses and disease.
Our souls, like the depleted land, yearn for rejuvenation. Our daily lives reflect the ongoing struggle—long work hours, resource-consuming commutes, and the relentless pursuit of sustenance and things to deaden the pain. Addictions and endless scrolling through social media. The gap between our efforts and the ability to care for our families widens, creating a vicious cycle of exhaustion and depletion. The external landscape mirrors the state of our souls, drained and yearning for nourishment.
How do we address this deeply rooted issue? How can city dwellers embrace a sustainable lifestyle? How can we contribute to a more sustainable economy? It requires introspection and collective action. These questions demand individual responses, prompting us to set boundaries on our time and energy. Evaluating our needs, distinguishing between necessities and luxuries. Embracing contentment with what we have and cutting down on luxury and overconsumption become a crucial step in fostering a sustainable future. Reconnecting with nature and our families, becoming part of the community ecosystem again.
As we contemplate these decisions, the principle of loving our neighbor as ourselves becomes a guiding light. Our neighbors extend beyond physical boundaries; they include other nations sharing this planet. Will we, in our pursuit of resources, act ruthlessly, taking resources from others or will we share them, understanding the interconnectedness of our fates?
In pursuing sustainability, let us curtail waste, refrain from unnecessary consumption, and allow the environment to regenerate. Determining what is “enough” is a personal journey, but the responsibility lies with each of us to secure a future for our children and grandchildren. The Native American wisdom resonates: “The decisions we make today must be with seven generations ahead in mind.” What decisions will shape the legacy we leave behind?
Explore more about environmental rejuvenation, spiritual harmony, and sustainable living in our journey towards a brighter, greener future. In the months ahead, I will share a poem, featuring a specific tree or plant, and a painting with you. Please subscribe to my monthly newsletter as I will feature the poem in it. Additionally, I can offer you a coloring poster to help you identify your needs, boundaries, weeds, and future seeds. This is a meditative exercise, giving you time to slow down and think about these things. Get this here.