Plastics and all manner of garbage that were made for the comfort of humans are now covering the heavens, the earth, and the oceans. It’s said that in a few decades, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. If we keep going like this, a million species of life forms will disappear from the earth in a few years. The earth grows hotter by the day, and humans and other life forms are suffering a great deal from climate change.
We Have a Choice
The issues of environmental pollution and climate change that lie before us are a matter of co-destruction or coexistence. Many environmental experts agree. We are facing a fork in the road of humanity at which we have a choice. We can either choose to coexist peacefully with each other and nature, or we can continue to take actions that ensure our mutual destruction.
In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, humankind demonstrated incredible adaptability. We’ve been creating a new culture, and we’ve confirmed for ourselves that if we choose it, there’s nothing we can’t do. In the same way that we started wearing masks and socializing more using technology, we have the capacity to change our culture and habits so that all species have clean air, clean water, and enough food to eat.
But to start such a change in culture, we first need a change in the consciousness of humankind. Although many people may want to coexist with each other and with the earth in theory, it may be difficult for us to put it into practice. Our current habits, philosophies, and civilization still add up to destruction and conflict, whether we like it or not. To help us change them, I propose a change in mindset that puts peaceful coexistence (part of what I call Earth Citizenship) as the basis of all our decisions. This means choosing harmony, peace, and sustainability in everything we do. By using “coexistence” as the cornerstone of all of our choices, every aspect of our lives and the world will gradually bend toward it.
The opposite of this mindset is the drive to possess, control, and compete without regard for the health, happiness, and peace of others. A convenience-first mindset and lifestyle also make it harder to choose coexisting well. It’s difficult to do things that are uncomfortable or take additional steps that may be better for everyone in the long run when our usual way is more convenient. “Fast” and “easy” typically drive the actions of a modern, first-world society.
Let Nature Be Our Guide
Then where can we find the hope and strength for a new choice? We can find it in nature itself. For example, think of the sun. The sun is always shining brightly, giving warmth and energy to all without judgment or payment. It doesn’t need anything outside of it to shine; it produces light on its own.Nature, especially our true inner nature, can show us how to coexist with each other and the earth peacefully and sustainably. Click To Tweet
Recognize we are nature
Just like the sun, human beings are also nature; we’re not artificial or manmade. We can be like the sun and have a bright consciousness in any situation. We have the capacity to make health, happiness, and peace within us. And we are inherently valuable, regardless of our wealth or popularity.
Having all of this already inside ourselves, we don’t need to look for it outside or fight others for it. And when we do look inside, we find a natural desire for harmony, balance, sustainability, and peaceful coexistence. Realizing we are nature—just like the sun, plants, and animals—makes living a “coexisting lifestyle” natural and intuitive.
Develop our natural tendencies
Living such a lifestyle includes using our inherent capacity for health, happiness, and peace to develop a strong body and positive mind. Becoming more natural in this sense, especially by using natural methods, increases our capacity to make tough choices.
It’s more difficult to be generous or to consider others when we feel weak or a sense of lack. To live a coexisting lifestyle, we can start small and slowly expand our ability to make choices that not only benefit ourselves or that are convenient, but that benefit others and the planet as well. And as we do it, we’ll come to realize that when we care for others, we end up caring for ourselves as well.
Commune with nature
To help people be inspired by nature and feel as one with nature, I’ve been developing the Earth Village on the North Island of New Zealand. By meditating in nature and working in sustainable ways there or wherever we are, our mind and energy resonates with nature’s energy. Paying attention to nature, we almost can’t help but feel as one with it. Our consciousness changes, and we naturally want to coexist sustainably with nature. By communing with nature, we can strengthen our resolve to keep peaceful coexistence at the forefront of our decisions.
If we all work together, we can make coexistence a priority in our lives and our communities. Both the hope and the destruction of the human race lies in each of us. If we choose it, it will happen.
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