This post is a heartfelt exploration of why love is the only thing that will take care of the Planet. (by Madelon Evers)
Have you ever wondered why so many people around the world are going out every day spreading the Occupy movement, 2 million or more marching against Monsanto last weekend, more and more criticism of the global industrial set up? Why are so many of us, you and me, feeling called to use social media to call for change, every day? Why are so many groups of people literally all over the world trying to get out of the system, gathering to build off the grid eco-communities as fast as they can? Hundreds of thousands of these people who are the current and next generation of future leaders of our world — highly educated, quitting their corporate jobs and taking initiatives to start social enterprises. These people are not simply deluded anarchists. They are serious professionals who really care about the Planet, for responsible business, for sustainable living, and they want to make ethical choices as leaders, community members, family members. These people are ready to put their money where their mouth is.
Why do they do it?
Very simple. They do it for love. Because love, pure and simple, is the only thing that will take care of the Planet. Let me give you an example:
Beginning in West and North Africa.
Over the past couple of years, I have faciltiated work in Tunisia, Benin, Senegal, and Mali, working on humanitarian projects. I was invited to the West African region to support leadership development for child protection and infant health projects in a sustainable way. We focus on improving commitment to shared norms and decision-making in complex settings, using a systemic way of looking and authentic dialogue. West Africa, like in most emerging economic regions, is a chaotic and pressurized area. It is an extreme challenge to raise consciousness for sustainable change and to anchor a nurturing and trusting kind of leadership in these regions, to benefit just the social, let alone the ecological dimension of the work.
Against the odds, project leaders working in the field in these regions have to try to beat terrible odds, such as rapidly spreading child sex trafficking and slave trade, deplorable health conditions for the 80% of the population living in slums in Burundi, Guinea, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, government/corporate and military corruption, etc. To make a difference, the projects must create sustained opportunities for children (especially girls) to get an education that is often denied them, to avoid being incarcerated in adult prisons without due justice, and to enjoy the minimal forms of safety that we perceive as a normal human right in the West. Sounds depressing, doesn’t it. Sustainable development work on the social side of economic malaise can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Why would anyone in their right mind bother to throw water on a burning hotplate? Why don’t we just give up and focus on business as usual?
Why not. Well, it’s funny how it works, but one reason so many people do ‘charity’ work is because they really do care. It’s bigger than money. It’s better than status. It’s about life, and meaning, and love. The project leaders who work on the social change projects in West Africa also have another reason. Very often they come from that environment and managed to escape it, so they personally identify with disadvantaged children and commit to do something about it. We do it for the simple love of children. Even if they are not our own. We wish to help others because it simply feels alive and gives us a connection to the source of life if we choose to work from our heart.
Coming back to the Western world…
Reflecting on this experience in West Africa, I take a few lessons back across the pond to integrate them into my thinking on what we are doing over here in Europe. One of the things I am seeing — even though it doesn’t seem to be quite so ‘in your face’ as on the streets of a slum in West Africa – is that if we want to change business as usual to something even vaguely sustainable, we face the same challenges as those ‘underdog’ project leaders at Terre des Hommes in the backwaters of Africa. What we are doing here, is also working against incredible odds in a complex, chaotic and pressurised economic environment. We also have to deal with rapidly spreading failure of businesses, corruption and disruption of international agreements that put extreme pressure on fragile natural resources.
There are so many initiatives here that are positive, so many entrepreneurial and activist professionals trying to make a difference. But there are simply far too few people in positions of real power stepping up to the plate, by showing a sense of profound connection to nature, the mind of mindset that puts nature first, taking the kind of responsibility that is needed to educate people in how we can do things differently, show the way to a better society.
Don’t get depressed. Start caring instead. Caring enough to create conscious evolution. It starts with you.
What we need is to do is not complicated but very difficult. No matter who we are, no matter what position or title we have, we each need to stop the excuses and really look at the reality of the situation we are in now. Go to our hearts and look there. What if. What if we really want to have a better world, what if we had enough love to really care enough that I am willing to give up some of my profit, my power, my position, my identity so I can help others to go make something more positive happen? What would that take. Am I ready to do what it takes?
As Barbara Marx Hubbard says, “Into our hands has been given the power of codestruction or cocreation. We are the face of evolution. Every one of us is evolution in person.” To me, conscious evolution is an act of love. Of commitment to the human intent to understand and care for Nature from our hearts, and therefore to commit ourselves to co-create together with nature new forms of living and working – socially, scientifically and technologically. Barbara calls it a way of “healing and evolving ourselves and our world, eventually transcending the current condition.”
Conscious evolution is not a new ideology or philosophy. It has been around for thousands of years. There is such a yearning for love between people and for the Earth in every culture. But it is more relevant than ever at this time.
Simply noticing, being aware of the positive potential of our human evolution as caretakers of the Earth rather than as takers of the Earth, is enough to start a change. It is enough to begin affecting our own evolution because we will consciously choose to evolve, to let go of the old destruction paradigm and start caring about everything that we do.
What about you?