Understanding your own personal interconnectedness with the planet is one of the wonderful moments in life. You truly see that we are all one and that there is no separation from the harm done to the planet and the harm done to you.
Once you begin to embark on a greener lifestyle the experiences start adding up, and you can’t help but realize that you thrive when you are surrounded by nature—natural materials, nature’s sounds, and naturally produced food.
Bite into a freshly picked ear of corn grown by a local farm, and you’ll find a symphony of sweetness and flavor bursts forth in your mouth. The taste may be new to you, but it used to be commonplace and could be again. Find a way to sleep in an all-wool, nothing-synthetic bed, and see how you wake up more fully refreshed and rested than you’ve felt in months. Switch to nontoxic cleaning products, and your chronic headache may disappear. An even more profound change is to switch from a synthetic lemon furniture oil to a natural jojoba oil version, and watch your child start concentrating again.
Our intuition knows nature is where we belong and who we are. I feel that you always know when you are in the presence of the highly vibrant essence of nature. The Cherokee say that there is no name for this energy because it is so beyond our imagination that there aren’t any words in the language to describe it. But all of us know it. We know it when there is a sparkling day by the ocean and we see a whale breach or when a full dozen goldfinches swarm the birdfeeders, bright yellow against the early spring landscape of bright leaf green. We know it when meeting our baby for the first time.
The contrasts between nature in its full radiance and nature in a polluted state are endless. The ways in which these differences affect our daily lives are endless as well. A tomato grown on an industrial farm is often flavorless and almost colorless, and it has a mealy texture with skin that can barely be cut. It doesn’t hold a candle to a locally grown organic variety that is deep red and vine-ripened in the full sun. When you notice that the birds are not at your feeders because of a neighborhood pesticide spraying, it’s a desolate feeling.
The contrasts are so stark that at times you may wonder why most of the world chooses to live surrounded by pollution and synthetics. Yet finding your way to a home of healing energy and natural sanctuary is a path of discovery and reward. One thing is for sure—once you start living a greener lifestyle, you never look back.
Poll after poll shows that we are all well-intentioned towards ourselves and the environment but just don’t know what to do to live a green lifestyle. One good approach is simply to choose the least toxic, most natural alternative every time you buy anything, be it a couch, peach, shampoo, furniture polish, or three-ring binder.
One way to find most of what you need to put your good intentions into practice is on Care2.com, the huge online community where I work. We are privileged to have Deepak on our Advisory Board! He brings so much awareness to the global community about the importance of transforming the common dualistic thinking in the world, the thinking that believes the environment is “out there,” that it is something separate from ourselves.
Care2 is a global community, the largest conscious consumer social networking site, with 7.5 million members. There is a group for just about any cause you can imagine. Joining Care2 is free, and we have 150,000 new sign-ups each month. We are developing quite a community of change-makers who are taking action, ordinary people who are making a real impact, and you can join them. Here are three examples of Care2 activities in which to participate:
* Click to Donate races, where your free clicks result in donations from sponsors to great causes. For example, you can click to Race for the Rain Forest and join other members who have saved 203 million square feet of rainforest habitat. Other races include a Race for the Big Cats, a Race for Global Warm ing, a Race to Stop Violence Against Women, and more.
* Sign online petitions to support great nonprofits and causes customized to your interests.
* Learn quick and easy tips—there are almost 4,000 in Care2’s Green Living channel– to create a healthier environment in your home. Go beyond just switching out light bulbs to making green and healthy choices every day.
These green living tips are what I and two great editorial staff members, Cait and Melissa, provide. We offer the practical know-how to live a green life.
Like Deepak, I truly believe that human wounds and environmental wounds mirror each other. By recognizing and honoring the interdependency of the rhythms of the natural world with the rhythm of our own lives, I believe that we can emerge into a place that fosters care, love, and harmony. To live a life of conscious harmlessness towards the planet is to live a life of conscious harmlessness towards yourself. The shift is one of the heart.