Published on June 19th, 2008 | by zshahan10
Personal Sustainability: The Path to Worldwide Environmental Sustainability
This world is founded on some basic laws, including cause and effect. Every action has a reaction. Every cause has an effect. And we may think that we’re all separate beings in this world, separate beings and entities. But in reality, we are all connected, we are all intertwined, and we are all One. And thus it follows: for everything we do, it has an effect not only on us, but on everyone else and everything else around us and even beyond.
So, we are tackling the problem of environmental fragility today. And how did we get to this place? How did we get to this situation?
Of course, there are a lot of scientific explanations, political explanations, systematic explanations, and so on.
But how did we get here, really?
By every action ever made — by us, by others, and by all of us combined.
By every thought.
By every feeling and every want or need in our hearts and expressed in our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
We can see that no matter how hard we try, we will fail to address the problems we face today if we don’t address our own personal sustainability and situation. What do I mean by personal sustainability?
We must, of course, live “sustainably” materially/physically — not going beyond our fair share, our limits, in the resources we use and the waste we produce. And, of course, this is a hard thing to do in the society we live in because of all the “unsustainable” systems we rely on. (See A New Vision of Sustainability: To Live Satisfactorily? for a little more on this topic.) But, how did these systems come into place! Not just by mundane, practical, physical errors in our thinking and evaluation of cost and benefit, cause and effect. But, also, more fundamentally, by our needs that we were expressing, our desires that we were pursuing, our human shortcomings that we were allowing to take over our human strengths. And so, we built systems, created systems, that came out of these and were unsustainable themselves, just as the original desires and needs were unsustainable.
And so, what will bring us out of these unsustainable systems! Not just changing the systems themselves, but changing the whole way we are living with ourselves, in ourselves — by changing the needs we have, the wants we have, and the actions we make that are unsustainable themselves. By bringing ourselves into balance: this is how we will bring our world and our systems (ecological, political, social, economic, and so on) into balance!
We must address ourselves first.
We must address our unsustainable needs.
We must address our unsustainable and unbalanced desires.
We must address our personal sustainability and contentment and make sure we are in line with the laws of nature enough that we do not want more than we need, we do not desire more than is good for us, we do not crave what poisons our body and depletes our vitality, and covers our soul with a heavy dark veil.
We must be sustainable.
Internally first of all, and then externally will follow.
Everything comes from the inside out, and then the outsides just bounce off of each other in this world of cause and effect, but it all starts from the insides first and it starts with the human race because we have “free will,” we are the ones choosing to go beyond our means, we are the ones searching for something, unsatisfied with something, in this world.
We are the ones trying to find where to place all of our love, and the more we place it in the things of the world and become slaves to those things, that world, the more we find ourselves overwhelmed with problems — here in our heart and there in the world around us.
Personal sustainability first.
Inner freedom and balance first.
All else will follow, in this world of cause and effect. In this world of cause and effect, what is in the human heart is the seed for what is in the world around us all. The seed may seem small, but it grows into a big thing.
Let us plant Love & Balance & Contentment & Sustainability in our Hearts!
Image credit: noticelj via flickr under a Creative Commons license