The birth of a movement…
Earth Day was born amidst the backdrop of the Vietnam War, only eight years after Rachel Carson published her masterpiece Silent Spring, an environmental wake-up call that sold over 500,000 copies and began to inspire new consciousness about our planet. In those days America had not yet fully discovered the effects of the post-WWII industry boom during which suburban America and its needs for convenience and modern technology had created a wasteful, polluting system; cars guzzled coveted petroleum at alarming rates, plastic consumption had skyrocketed, and agriculture had been turned over to big business. The so-called “Eco-friendly”, and “green” efforts we see today did not exist. Air, water, and Earth misuse and pollution were largely unnoticed and easily brushed aside.
After witnessing the devastating 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, then-Senator Gaylord Nelson knew something had to be done. He knew attention must be paid to the growing environmental crisis. Concerns about the health of our planet Earth needed to make front page news. Harnessing the anti-war and civil rights energy of the time, he organized a day of demonstration that united Earth-loving activists on all fronts.
On April 22, 1970, thousands of citizens demonstrated across the United States in a historic first Earth Day, birthing the modern environmental movement. We owe a lot to these pioneers. All the political and social progress that has been made to cut pollution, find alternative energies, reduce and recycle waste, invest in sustainability—all have been a result of this first crusade to bring the fate of our Earth to the mainstream agenda.
Despite the current need for even more change, despite the growing disheartened murmurs of the Earth’s fate, we must admit that progress has been made. The trails have been blazed, and now is the time for us, as awake and concerned global citizens, to step into our roles as leaders, as New Paradigm activists of the post-technological age.
The trails have been blazed, and now is the time for us, as awake and concerned global citizens, to step into our roles as leaders, as New Paradigm activists of the post-technological age.
It is up to us to distinguish between what it means to choose for Mother Earth or choose corporate oil interests, to choose sustainable, real, and cruelty-free foods or choose the apparent convenience of processed, fake foods that exploit people and animals. It is up to us to begin to ask the bigger questions and see the intricate web of industry that allows for the destruction and pollution of Earth’s resources. We have reached a point on the spiral of our human evolution where we can no longer turn a blind eye. It is up to us to empower ourselves and our communities to access the great well that is human ingenuity, perseverance, and spiritual engagement. However, it isn’t about campaigning to our friends and family or pushing our own views on others. As New Paradigm activists, our personal behavior and wellness is the foundation on which all change relies. It starts with the individual.
“Hold on, you said “activist”…I’m not so sure about that…”
Now, a brief moment to talk about “activism”. The word “activist” can give some of us a slight uneasiness. Traditionally the archetype of an “activist” can be painted as a sort of renegade, a rebel going against the system and doing “whatever it takes” to achieve his or her mission. Or perhaps the archetype that comes to mind is the activist who never fails to lecture you with an air of seeming superiority, perhaps trying to leverage guilt and blame as tactics. Or more recently it may be the character of a social media big mouth who never actually does anything at all. Let’s take, for a moment, these archetypes of an activist and disregard them completely. Let’s make space for the possibility that these archetypes may have been fed to us by mainstream society who would like us to kindly put those people in a box and label them as “ignorant” or “dangerous” or “inconveniently disruptive to our happy lives”. No one benefits from such limiting understandings of humanity.
But you care about the Earth, right? Maybe you also care about the welfare of our children? Or the prison industrial complex? Certainly there are many causes we care about that affect our daily and long-term decision making. Last month Kendall Rae Moyer shared some ideas about “Positive Activism“, in which we focus on the positive (the change we want to see) instead of the negative (what isn’t working). Through creating and focusing on positive vibrations, we can manifest s into our reality the positive changes for which we long. This mentality is essential to New Paradigm Activism. Nothing can come of simply focusing on what’s wrong. After all, as they say in permaculture, “the problem is the solution”! We have to be the change! (Gandhi really was onto something!)
The problem is the solution?
Yes! This is one of the fundamental principles put forth by Bill Mollison in his groundbreaking 1988 book Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual. He posited that what we believe to be a problem is actually always an opportunity for creative thinking, leading to the discovery of innovative ideas and solutions. Permaculture is an excellent platform for working with New Paradigm Activism, where we are excitedly engaged in anabolistic acts of creation and innovation. We consider all our resources and think out-of-the-box for how to design systems for thrivability, not just sustainability. This is why the growing trend of permaculture education and community has taken off since its birth, and why people of all backgrounds are finding inspiration in its theory and practical applications. This is also why we may see people on spiritual paths seeking the teachings of permaculture as a very functional, socially-engaged lifestyle.
How does this relate to me?
As New Paradigm Activists, our personal well-being is the foundation on which all change relies. We must reawaken the spiritual power of the individual in order to truly shift into the changes we long to manifest. Just as the arch relies on all its pieces to be a sound structure, so do social and political movements rely on its participants for strength and resilience.
In Permaculture we use zones to delineate the various sections of a project according to their functions and frequency of use. For example, Zone 0 is always the home spaces where people spend the majority of their time, such as a bedroom or common area. Zone 1 may be the kitchen. Zone 2 may include the bathrooms and showers. All the way out in Zone 5 is the preserved wilderness. An extension of this theory includes a Zone 00, which is our own Self. In Zone 00, our bodies and minds are our true home, and therefore they are what we must care for and listen to the most. The health of our Zone 00 is our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health. When Zone 00 is healthy and balanced, all other elements of the system can be balanced. Here again, we see that the health of the individual is crucial.
Embracing our true power
Therefore part of our job as New Paradigm Activists is to allow and embrace our true power as spiritual souls in physical bodies. We can call in realities we wish to manifest by shifting our thoughts, words, and actions. To seek our own self-realization is our duty. There are many who may look down upon the spiritualist and put her in a box, deeming it narcissistic or arrogant to walk a spiritual path which often breaks from traditional society. This judgment is the mark of a society of dis-ease struggling to hold command over us, an indication of Fear. Indeed there are many who miss the point and submit to dogmatic limitations of Truth, often subscribing to the falsity that true freedom is external or that “heaven” or “enlightenment” is a place to seek rather than awaken to. This fundamental difference in philosophy is crucial to understanding and implementing New Paradigm Activism. As we raise our consciousness we come to realize that we are eternally free and powerful beyond all measure and need only to allow ourselves to remember! The only limitations are those of our own minds and the collective subconscious of our society. New Paradigm activism asks us to consider that our own personal freedom is available to us at every moment, and it reverberates into the wider universe.
New Paradigm activism asks us to consider that our own personal freedom is available to us at every moment, and it reverberates into the wider universe.
As each person discovers his own truth, thus liberating himself, he contributes to a collective movement towards a higher vibration, a new way of living in which the full spiritual Self is integrated into the physical world. As I rise, so do you; as you rise, so do I. It is even possible that those who I would deem my “enemies” (who are really just souls like me) are being brought to an awakening through my own elevation!
Thus the “activist” is liberated from limiting archetypes and becomes the Everyman or Everywoman. What does the word “activist” mean after all? The activist is someone who acts. The Activist is someone whose thoughts, words, and behavior are in a state of constructive motion. To act is a fundamental part of human nature. The Activist is all of us, at every moment, as we call into manifestation the Highest Good of all beings.
The activist is all of us, at every moment, as we call into manifestation the Highest Good of all beings.
Let’s celebrate this upcoming Earth Day, April 22, with as much high vibration and love as possible!
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free.
May we all allow our highest vibration to elevate us and those around us.
And so it is!
Love & Light,
ps. For more information on Earth Day and to find celebrations near you, please visit www.earthday.org