V ä v a! V e v e! weaving cloth one thread at a time

Monday, February 18, 2013

An ancient solution to our modern-day global warming?

I am in the middle of reading the book, "Hooked!  Buddhist Writings on Greed, Desire, and the Urge to Consume" as edited by Stephanie Kaza.  It is so nice to read a book that seems to take it's words right from my heart, and by placing them on paper, makes it possible for me to begin to understand and put to rest some of my heart's turmoil about treating our earth with delicate and tender hands.  It has given me some simple direction, since the challenges of living green, and doing what is right, and voicing my opinions, leaving a world in which my children can live healthy lives, and reducing my carbon footprint . . . are all pulling me in so many different directions as to make my well-intentioned efforts fragmented and inconsistent.

I'm told from several different sources that the most important issue is . . .

reducing wasteful use of water reducing herbicides and pesticides in our farming eating only grass-fed beef changing out my lightbulbs RECYCLING MY PAPER developing an alternative energy to fossil fuel saving the whales hybrid vs. electric? hemp forever!

Each of these camps is saying that if we only got this part or that part under control, we would have a huge impact on global warming!  So, not knowing who to believe, but believing that something needs to be done and doing anything is better than doing nothing, I attempt to remember my cloth bags when going to the market (but end up forgetting them in the front seat of my car when I drive to the store located 1/2 mile down the road); buy plastic solar powered yard lights (which are made in China - a half world away, and whose carbon footprint just in the shipping and plastic parts far outreaches any benefits of the solar contribution) to unnecessarily accent my totally inappropriate and water consuming lawn. And in a misinformed altruistic effort to start fresh, I throw out all toxic household hazardous waste in my home (which end up in a land-fill, leaching into the soil there, thereby contaminating the ground water in that area).  Okay, I haven't actually done all of those those things . . . okay, well maybe forgetting my bags in the car, and maybe driving my car when I should have walked . . . and I did buy a couple of those stick lights that are solar powered for the steps going down to the lake at the cabin (which never really worked by the way), BUT my yard is a totally cool environment for wildlife, filled with native grasses, flowers, fruits and vegetables, rocks and trees.   (No mowing!!  No watering!!)  And I have always properly disposed of household hazardous waste with our county treatment facility!!

It seems that we, each of us as individuals, and as part of organizations from corporations on down to small businesses, churches, schools; nay, no one is exempt;  have let things get so far out of hand that at every turn, we accidently, ignorantly, naively, or just plain ignoringly misbehave and step all over our newly acquired, and quickly tarnishing green image.  What are we to do??  No matter which way we turn we are messing up!!  It is completely overwhelming us!!  WE ARE DOOMED!!

But wait!  I was talking about that special book at the beginning of this post.  It is a book that talks about ancient ideas, putting them in modern context. Even in the book's foreword written by Paul Hawken , wisdom shouts from the pages!  "It is tempting to see the problem of consumption as something other people do.  People with SUVs should cut back and buy smaller cars, get more exercise, and use a bicycle.  But this wonderfully edited volume shows us that it is more relevant and poignant to look at our own lives.  A Buddhist perspective on consumption offers understanding of oneself.  The quotidian ways in which we rob the earth are pathways to genuine insight.  And in the awareness of self arises compassion for others, especially those who are weighed down so heavily by material desire.  It is fair to say that people are overwhelmed by this world we share and live in.  Alleviating people's sense of isolation and fear can do more than any recycling program.  As Buddhist teachers so aptly point out, we can reduce our and others' desires by being generous and kind.  It is hard to be grasping when we are reaching out."