Do you know what’s bad for the planet? Us humans. We wreck everything. Fortunately humans also have the amazing ability to problem solve and make substantial change happen. Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit and we become set in our ways. We tend to get stuck in our comfort zones and make claims that we are doing enough because we do X, Y, and Z. Please join me this year in creating a new normal that is more earth-friendly than our norms of last year.
In my opinion, what the earth needs to function optimally is for humans to practice the Yamas outlined in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. There are 5 Yamas and they are Ahimsa- non harming, Satya- truthfulness, Asteya- non stealing, Brahmacharya- right use of energy, and Aparigraha- greedlessness. How we treat ourselves and how we treat the world is the same. When we violate a Yama it causes suffering for everyone. Screening our actions through the Yamas will help steer our actions in a direction that aligns with our values.
If that seems overwhelming, then I have good news for you! When you practice one of them, you practice all of them. Starting at the front of the line with Ahimsa is a good approach to this self study but really you can pick any Yama and read about it, contemplate it, and most importantly, PRACTICE it.
This Earth Day, let us consider the impact our lifestyle has on the earth and how it affects our fellow inhabitants. Remind ourselves, often, that everything in moderation is not ok when there is an injustice happening to Mother Earth and her earthlings. We do ourselves, our fellow earthlings and our planet an injustice when we consume in a way that violates the Yamas. A great place to start looking to align our actions and values is to look at how we spend our money.
Try to answer these questions as honestly as possible when making purchases.
1. Is this product harmful to another being (including Earth)?
2. Am I ok with the true process of where this product came from?
3. Was something stolen from another being to get me this product?
4. Is this something useful or a distraction?
5. Do I need this?
If any of your answers don’t align with your values than ask this bo
6. Is there another option that does align? -If not, revisit question 5;).
Bad news, sometimes we do need things that go against the Yamas. That’s why it’s important to do the best we can to filter our choices through the Yamas in every way possible. We are plagued with cognitive dissonance
which makes where we draw the line ethically, blurry.
“This we know: The Earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the Earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man does not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
-Chief Seattle, Suquamish and Duwamish chief
Let's level up our earth-friendliness by navigating life through the lens of the Yamas.
This article, “12 WAYS TO LIVE MORE SUSTAINABLY”, is a great resource to help you level up: