Raising Earth Consciousness
This Earth Day 2016 feels like a particularly poignant moment in the relationship between humans and the Earth. Just as on Mother’s Day we take extra time to reflect on our debt of gratitude to Her who gave us life, we similarly take the opportunity of raising Earth Consciousness on Earth Day to consider our connection with and appreciation for our Mother Earth.
Earth Day began in 1970 as a reflection of the growing awareness of our responsibility to the planet and the web of life – including us – that it supports. At the time the influence of Eastern spiritual thought and the introduction of psychedelics inspired a more holistic view of our relationship with the natural world. The realization dawned that our industrialized civilization was having negative impacts on the biosphere and that environmental protection was a growing necessity.
(read more below the video)
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Observing Earth Day in the Anthropocene
As we reflect on the Earth in the early decades of the 21st Century, we see radical imbalance. The Ecologist reported that climate scientists have reached a consensus
that human activity has been driving climate change. There is a growing recognition that we have entered a new geological time period known as the Anthropocene
. The Anthropocene Working Group has found t
hat “humanity’s impacts on Earth should now be regarded as pervasive and sufficiently distinctive to justify a separate classification.”
Humans have introduced entirely novel changes, geologically speaking, such as the roughly 300m metric tonnes of plastic produced annually. Concrete has become so prevalent in construction that more than half of all the concrete ever used was produced in the past 20 years.
Wildlife, meanwhile, is being pushed into an ever smaller area of the Earth, with just 25% of ice-free land considered wild now compared to 50% three centuries ago. As a result, rates of extinction of species are far above long-term averages.
But the study says perhaps the clearest fingerprint humans have left, in geological terms, is the presence of isotopes from nuclear weapons testing that took place in the 1950s and 60s.
We can feel overwhelmed when we see the environment faced with so many threats. How do we begin to change our lives in ways that will have a meaningful impact on the global situation? We need to embrace the challenge of living in harmony with the planet.
A new kind of nature is being created, one that is shaped by humanity. It consists of the sum of all the changes caused by humans on earth.
As we come into a deep understanding of the impact of our actions on the global community, Nature is calling us to redesign our lifestyles, adopt new social structures, rewrite the codes of our major institutions, and regenerate the planet’s natural systems. To do this requires breaking free from conditioned consumerism and enforced separation. We have the responsibility to care for the Earth by making choices that support the flourishing of the planet and its people, from our next-door neighbors to the members of remote tribes. This responsibility is also to ourselves, as we owe our existence to this interdependent web of life. By making changes in our lives at the individual level, we will see that change reflected in the whole world.
Taking on Earth Consciousness – and Taking Action
Now is the time—the critical moment on our timeline—to leverage the overarching vision and tools afforded by our understanding of Earth Sciences and the wisdom provided by traditional indigenous cultures. The message of Earth consciousness is growing louder. It reaches us from the voices of Amazonian plant teachers, such as ayahuasca, and from indigenous wisdom. Scientists have been confirming the healing effects of these ancient sources of wisdom, affirming the use of these tools that lead us to a more integrative, whole system perspective of our relationship to the biosphere.
By changing our habits and activating solutions, we can regenerate the planet; by changing our hearts and spreading compassion, we can heal the world. This Earth Day, you can try one of the four daily practices of love and gratitude for the Earth shared by Pachamama Alliance. By working with practices such as these, or any way that you feel deepens your connection to Pachamama, Mother Earth, we grow in Earth Consciousness.
Get the Code!
Books are some of the most powerful tools to we have to evolve our consciousness and guide our actions. Synergetic Press publishes books that carry the code of a sustainable, regenerative, thriving human future. We focus primarily on Earth science and evolving human consciousness, which we see as complementary aspects of humanity’s continuing evolution. See some of the titles below to explore the ideas that form the foundation of Earth Consciousness.
David Suzuki called the UN Paris agreement a milestone in the Anthropocene Era, and an indication that “the Age of Humans won’t necessarily lead to an age of destruction.” (The Guardian) While I’m as optimistic as they come, it’s clear that humanity needs to act swiftly and on a grand scale to effect and uphold the major changes that must occur to prevent a planetary catastrophe.
One of my favorite eco-heros, Tony Juniper, a campaigner, writer, and sustainability adviser reports from Paris conference this month: “Increased atmospheric CO2 is doing much more than warming the Earth, it’s also acidifying oceans, something that is already having major impacts on ocean ecology in the Southern Ocean and the North Atlantic. Likely effects: more CO2 in the atmosphere, more jellyfish … We really have to put the brakes on carbon dioxide and very fast. These effects are already becoming very large and there are huge uncertainties as to how this will affect among other things food production.”(The Ecologist)
Atmospheric CO2 levels are the highest they have been in millions of years and the impacts of climate change are also impacting corporate and government balance sheet at such levels that corporations are starting to sit up and take notice. Trade can no longer trump climate, as the NAFTA’s policy has upheld for decades. There is no part of the economy that doesn’t depend on Nature, says Juniper. If there is no Nature, he argues, there can be no economy, no growth, no business.
The solution, Tony says, is a shift to a “bioeconomy” where our economic system is a subset of Nature, and not the other way around. A world where the technosphere is designed to support and sustain the biosphere, not use it up. See his talk at TEDxWWF.
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Learn more about how it pays to be on the side of Nature in Tony Juniper’s book, What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? How Money Really Does Grow on Trees with a foreword by Prince Charles.
Read the Foreword by Prince Charles and Preface for Free Here.
2015 Benjamin Franklin Award—Silver Winner in the category of Home & Garden
The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, which include fifty-five categories recognizing excellence in book editorial and design, are regarded as one of the highest national honors for indie publishers and self-published authors.
The awards are administered by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), with help from over 150 book publishing professionals including librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors.
2014 Living Now Book Award—Gold Winner in the category of Gardening / Farming / Landscaping
We’ve all heard the expressions, “This book changed my life!” and “Changing the world, one book at a time.” The Living Now Book Awards are designed to honor those kinds of life-changing books, and to bring increased recognition to the year’s best lifestyle, homestyle, world-improvement and self-improvement books and their creators. We all seek healthier, more fulfilling lives for ourselves and for the planet, and books are very important tools for gaining knowledge about how to achieve these goals for ourselves, our loved ones, and for Planet Earth.
The purpose of the Living Now Book Awards is to celebrate the innovation and creativity of books that enhance the quality of life, from cooking and gardening to spirituality and wellness.
2015 IPPY Award—Gold Winner for Outstanding Book of the Year: “Most Likely to Save the Planet”
The “IPPY” Awards, launched in 1996, are designed to bring increased recognition to the deserving but often unsung titles published by independent authors and publishers. Established as the first awards program open exclusively to independents, over 3,000 “IPPYs” have been awarded to authors and publishers around the world.
For 32 years the mission at Independent Publisher has been to recognize and encourage the work of publishers who exhibit the courage and creativity necessary to take chances, break new ground, and bring about change, not only to the world of publishing, but to our society.
These medalists were chosen from among the regular entries for exemplifying this daring spirit—the book projects that the judges found the most heartfelt, unique, outspoken and experimental among almost 6,000 entries.
Foreword Reviews’ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award—Silver Winner in the category of Ecology & Environment
Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards are judged by a select group of librarians and booksellers from around the country. Representing hundreds of independent and university presses of all sizes, INDIEFAB winners were selected after months of editorial deliberation with more than 1,500 entries in 63 categories.
From the review:
Nelson uses humor to bring attention to important environmental issues and to detail his unique methods of improving ecosystems.
In tracing the arc of his life in The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time, Mark Nelson provides an informative, entertaining look at his work designing treatment systems for human excrement and toxic waste in many of the world’s climates and regions.
The author has decades of experience as an environmental consultant and is a leading expert on constructed wetlands and other alternative sewage systems. His beautiful and functional wastewater gardens are found in some of the world’s toniest ecotourist centers and in some of its poorest communities.
Winner of the 2015 Southwest Book Design and Production Award for Best Cover and Jacket Design
The playful and visually engaging cover of The Wastewater Gardener caught the attention of the New Mexico Book Association. In their Fifth Annual NMBA Southwest Book Design Awards Competition, The Wastewater Gardener was one of the winning recipients for its striking cover. The awards were announced and presented on June 17 at the NMBA Gala and Membership Meeting. This is the sixth year that these coveted recognitions have been awarded to the publishers and creators of a few outstanding books produced during the past several months. The New Mexico Book Association is a not-for-profit organization and is pleased to offer this award program for New Mexico’s authors and publishers as well as to those in surrounding states.
Finalist for the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the category of Science/Nature/Environment
Next Generation Indie Book Awards is the largest Not-for-Profit book awards program for indie authors and independent publishers. In its eighth year of operation, the Next Generation Indie Book Awards was established to recognize and honor the most exceptional independently published books in over 70 different categories, for the year, and is presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group
For more information about Wastewater Garden Projects around the world, click here.
To see what all the buzz is about, pick up your own copy of award-winning The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time