The Amazon Forest is the largest rainforest in the world. It covers 40% of South America. It produces an estimated 20% of the world’s oxygen and it acts as an absorber of the world’s C02. Because of this, it is often referred to as the Earth’s lungs. It is the place that boasts the most biodiversity on the planet. But as most of you reading this already know, this month the Amazon has been turned into an inferno as fires that are dangerously out of control continue to burn swaths in the ecosystem there and threaten the entire globe. To give you a picture of what is happening, imagine a soccer field. Over one and a half soccer fields of rainforest are being destroyed every minute of every day. Smoke now covers half of Brazil and is spilling into Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Farmers, loggers and cattle ranchers wait for the months when conditions are dry in order to clear areas of the forest for logging, crops and cattle grazing. This year, there has been an 80 percent increase in fires, which correspond directly to this seasonal burning.
Bolsonaro (the president of Brazil) is often called the ‘Trump of the Tropics’. He has nearly eliminated budgets for the agencies that protect the environment. He has vowed to open the Amazon to development since the beginning of his term. He promised to finish hydroelectric dams and pave roads that cut through the forest and ‘occupy’ the amazon with development projects. Bolsonaro, like every leader that has absolutely no interest in preservation of the environment is decidedly on the side of the personal gain of the people he identifies with. The farmers and ranchers that call the Amazon home were thrilled with Bolsonaro’s election. From the perspective of an Amazon farmer or rancher, they had been sent there in the 70’s to develop the Amazon only to be turned against as if they are the enemy. From their perspective, the environmentalist types that occupy the main cities and other parts of the globe, wish to condemn them and their families to destitution, treating them like criminals. From their perspective, the way they are expected to farm in order to preserve the Amazon is impossible and certainly wont put food on the table or put their children through college. Bolsonaro’s election and rhetoric as well as his dismantling of protection agencies has eliminated their fear of consequence for acting in their own best interests and has allowed the caged powerlessness and rage that they have felt over the past years to be let loose.
What is happening in the Amazon Rainforest has incredible implications. There is a phenomena called dieback. If this deforestation caused by fires, heats up the forest to a threshold, it will trigger droughts, floods and wildfires. Over half of the rainforest could die permanently. It could change the weather patterns all over South America and release billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. This is not just a problem for Brazil or for South America. This is a problem for the entire planet. Up to 90 percent of the loss of tropical rainforest around the world is due to this same kind of ‘land clearing’ that is now threatening the Amazon. Global climate change is already a huge threat to life on earth. Now, instead of the Amazon being a main defense against global climate change, it may very well turn into one of its great contributors.
People have been begging me to do a video or article this week on what is happening in Brazil and explain the energetic perspective and ‘reality’ behind it. I have hesitated until now, because the reality is not one that most people are likely to swallow. But at this point, I find that I am past caring and would rather cater to the few that will swallow it. Unfortunately, those people are already ‘in the know’ so it is a bit like preaching to the choir.
The first thing I must share is a harsh truth. People love to say, “we are destroying earth” as if humans can currently destroy earth. This is nothing more than the human ego being completely out of touch with reality by striving for its own significance. Earth as a being in and of itself, whose physical manifestation is the blue planet we call home, will not be destroyed by humans. In keeping with the analogy people use of the Amazon rainforest being the planet’s lugs, I will explain the Earth and humanity as if the earth were a human. The earth loves what is a part of itself. This includes humans. But the relationship that the earth has with people is a-kin the relationship people have to bacteria. Some species of bacteria (especially if its numbers grow out of control) are responsible for the most nefarious disease. On the other hand, many species of bacteria have co-evolved with people and play essential roles for the wellbeing of the body. At any given time, these microbes that live inside of a person have the potential to live harmoniously or to cause illness. Humans are much like bacteria to the earth.
At this current time, humanity cannot destroy the planet itself. But it can completely alter the surface of the earth, a layer that can be likened to ‘skin’. Unfortunately, this is the layer that we and billions of other life forms call home and cannot survive without. At our best, humans are a symbiotic organism. At our worst, we are a parasite. We cannot survive without our host, which is the skin layer of earth. And yet, because we play zero sum games, we will corrupt the very thing that we cannot survive without.
A zero sum game is “I win and you lose”. It is the opposite of love. To love is to take something as a part of yourself. When you do this, you cannot harm something without harming yourself too. This is what makes a relationship safe. But people have not learned love. Instead, they perceive themselves to be separate. What is happening right now in the Amazon is just one more example of why I wrote The Anatomy Of Loneliness. Loneliness, which is the perception of separation, has serious implications for life on earth. If I perceive separation, I can be a farmer who burns down the Amazon without perceiving that this is going to hurt me. If I perceive separation, I can be an environmentalist who is not focused on solving the problems the Amazon farmers are facing, because if the farmers hurt, it’s not going to hurt me.
People ask me often “what is the greatest thing I can do to end global climate change?” My answer is the same as it is when people ask me “what is the greatest thing I can do to have a good relationship?” The answer is to end the zero sum game. In this case, it is to end the zero sum game with the earth. Ask yourself, where in my life am I winning and by winning, some part of the environment is losing? How can I make it a win-win instead?
I realize that ending the zero sum game is difficult because it will seem that it is impossible to eliminate harm without harming yourself in some way. But if your goal is to end the zero sum game, you can often see a way to be symbiotic rather than parasitic. Humanity only has a future if the companies that sustain society’s way of life begin to do this as well. But seeing as how most people don’t own or run those companies, what we can do is to focus on doing this in our own individual lives.
So that you can understand this concept, I will give you an example from my own life. It is not an option for most people to pay to get on a plane and come to see me in person wherever I am anchored in the world. For this reason, it is critical that I fly to different parts of the globe. Until a company figures out a method of travel that does not negatively impact the globe, this puts me in a zero sum game against the environment. As someone who wishes to live symbiotically with all things, this makes it impossible to feel good boarding a plane. Based on what happens in the world, there may be a day where I can no longer justify boarding a plane. The reason I can justify boarding the plane at this point is because I am teaching humanity to awaken. I am teaching the end of the zero sum game, which is the very thing causing environmental collapse in the first place. At this point, I am contributing to the environment more by boarding a plane than I would be by not boarding one. But I have decided that to call myself an environmental advocate, I cannot justify boarding a plane for vacation. It is something that I will not do. And on top of this, I will ‘offset’ the impact in some way. For example, whenever I take a trip on an airplane, I can contribute to one of the many carbon reduction organizations or projects around the world, such as third world country cook stove projects, re-forestation projects, free energy development research, solar power projects and landfill cleanup to name just a few.
Environmental destruction and global climate change may feel like it is beyond your direct control. There is a powerlessness in seeing images of monkey mothers holding the charred remains of their baby monkeys, jaguars forced into the water and lush green being consumed by flames. Most people who care don’t know what to do. For this reason, I am going to offer a list of the four most important things you can do about it all.
1. End your zero sum games with everyone and everything in your life. Look for the win-win in all situations. This is a practice that you can live your life by and it is the most important practice that a human can commit to at this point within the human timeline.
2. Educate yourself about the environment and about how to reduce your personal environmental impact.
3. Support anything that is in-alignment with environmental wellbeing and withdraw your support for things that are not in alignment with environmental wellbeing. This means buy products that are cruelty free, green certified and recycled for example. Use re-usable grocery bags when you go to the store. As well as re-usable containers.
Eliminate or reduce your carbon footprint in any way you can. Conserve energy and switch to renewable energy. Seriously evaluate the flying and driving that you do in order to reduce fuel use as much as possible. Conserve water and keep water clean. Save electricity. When new technologies are developed which are better for the environment, buy them and use them. Vote for and support political candidates that prioritize environmental preservation. Sign petitions. Have fewer children or none and support family planning organizations in developing nations.
Eat responsibly. Buy and eat locally grown foods. And go vegan. Eating less meat is now a matter of environmental urgency, not just moral conscience. Farm animals emit methane, which is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change. Raising animals for food requires SO much more land and water than growing plant based food crops does. In fact, livestock now uses up 30 percent of the planet’s land surface. On top of that, the fields that could be used to grow crops to feed humans are used to grow mono-crops to feed these animals instead. It is estimated that every time you eat a plant-based meal instead of an animal-based meal, you protect between 12 to 50 square feet of land from deforestation, pesticide and fertilizer pollution and overgrazing. You also save about 280 gallons of water.
Commit yourself to ‘right livelihood’. The justification people use for doing things that harm other things is personal gain. If we find ourselves in the position of realizing that our personal gain is something else’s loss, we need to switch the way we are making money so that we are no longer making money through a zero sum game. This means that some businesses need to go out of business and as a society we need to help replace them and help the people who are in these zero-sum businesses to transition to something else.
4. Contribute to Organizations that are dedicated to environmental wellbeing. Unless you are called to personally volunteer or work for an organization that is dedicated to environmental wellbeing, contribute in any way you can to these organizations. As it applies to the current crisis in the Amazon Rainforest, The Amazon Conservation Team, The Rainforest Trust, The Amazon Conservation Association, The Rainforest Action Network, One Tree Planted, The Rainforest Alliance and The Rainforest Foundation are key players where your contribution is needed.
Because we perceive ourselves to be separate, things do not bother us until it impacts us in a perceivable way and personally. The problem with global climate change and all other types of environmental destruction is that for most of us, it exists as a simple warning. A warning we think applies to other people, not us. Most people see it as something that might/could happen in the future. It is not something that has sent us into crisis mode yet and so we continue to contribute to it. We don’t do something about a problem until it threatens ‘I, or mine or ours’. As countries, we don’t step into genocides or wars until those conflicts threaten something that is important to our country. As individuals, we can trash a hotel room because it isn’t our house. But what we are not seeing is that when we choose our personal best interests over the best interests of the environment, we are the parasite that kills our host organism; and by doing so, kills ourselves.
The reality is that the current life path potentials of human life on earth look bleak. They look like companies not changing so long as they are making money and therefore sinking the very ship they sail on. They look like people continuing to support mono-culture and using pesticides until there is no more food in the grocery stores. The reality is that by the time environmental destruction becomes something that perceivably threatens the average citizen, it will be too late. For this reason and many others, awakening is no longer a luxury for the human race. It is a necessity.