Environmental Consciousness

If you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend Al Gore’s new speech about the urgency of the global warming crisis given at the Technology, Entertainment Design (TED) conference and posted on their website this month (http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/243). Not only is his talk impassioned and energized (yes, this is Al Gore we are speaking of) but he also pushes the subject to a much higher and absolutely essential level of consideration. “What we need,” he remarks towards the end of his presentation, “is a higher level of consciousness.”


Consciously or not, he is referring to more than just the need for an uptick in personal recycling habits or trading in our Hummer and trying to squeeze the wife and four kids into a Toyota Prius, although these are worthy objectives; more too than increased social and political programs, although, again, these are absolutely necessary. Our press and politicians definitely need to a wake up call, as Gore assiduously points out. No, there is a deeper consideration here, which Gore reveals when he declares dramatically, “CO2 is the exhaling breath of our planet!”


We need to understand we are not living on a lifeless lump of rock, which we can hack to pieces and pollute at will. This planet is a living, breathing organism. It has life just as we do. And just like us, this organism needs to breathe and replenish itself in order to stay alive. You cannot exist on a diet of pure carbon dioxide. Try breathing into a plastic bag for a few minutes and see how long you last. Neither can Mother Earth.


This isn’t just a problem of global warming although this is a real and dangerous side effect. It is a problem of not comprehending that everything in creation is alive in some way; it is a problem of understanding the interconnectedness of all things in Nature; and it is a problem of not understanding the consequences of our actions within the context of life as a whole.


If we could comprehend this we could no more pollute our environment than we could cut off our own foot or insult our own mother.