Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

After writing my vision of sustainability I have started to think about sustainability as a religious revival of sorts. There have been many religious movements in the past that I feel share a lot with the current sustainability and social justice movements. I’m by no means the first to make this connection. Paul Hawken comes to mind.

The Buddha preached non-attachment to worldly things in that they are suffering. You can find many leaders of the sustainability movement preaching to reduce, reuse, and recycle product vs. buying them for the fun of it. For example, many people buy nice cars to boost their self-esteem only to later get rid of that car or make another purchase to keep their esteem built up. This starts a never ending cycle of buying that never completely fills the gap people feel in their hearts. Buddha was talking about the same thing. We won’t find happiness in the material items we buy so we might as well stop buying so many new things and start reducing our consumption. This will be good for us and good for┬áthe Earth.

Jesus taught that we should we should forsake all worldly items and enter in the kingdom of God. I think what he was talking about was that you couldn’t live life until you gave up your worldly pursuits and served others. You must realize that reducing your consumption is good for the planet and good for your soul. There’s a lot of talk about how to make products more sustainable. However, I think that unless we solve the inner crisis of why we buy so many things, it won’t matter if we have a zero ecological footprint because we’ll never be truly happy. Most people come closest to this when they have a child. You would do anything for that child and your life is now based on serving that child. But you couldn’t be happier doing this.

I admit it’s hard not to buy things. I look forward to the arrival of the new iPhone as much as the next person. Living with less, is all something we could and must do in order to save ourselves. How can we let people go hungry on the streets while we drive by in our new cars talking on our iPhones? It’s the moral equivalent of starving them in my opinion. We all have more than enough to go around, but must make efforts to restructure our society so that the goal is not growth, but human well-being.

You can’t rely on enough individuals to change their habits. You must gather the small group of like-minded individuals and demand change. Keep shouting down from the moral high ground. Keep making the case for sustainability to your politicians and business leaders. I believe once our society is stable and not taking more from the Earth than it can regenerate, we’ll then have a spiritual reawakening. We’ll start looking at our human institutions and lives through the lense of sustainability and making changes, but we must change the structure of society to get us there.


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