WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ECO CONSCIOUS?
Article by Lillian Adele Shewring
Being ‘Eco-Friendly’ and ‘Eco-Conscious’ are such trendy things to do these days – it seems like every other person is getting on the ‘Zero Waste’ bandwagon and hype. Or at least we seem to hear these words flung around so often now that they seem to have become slightly ambiguous or may have lost a bit of significance and meaning. Because I don’t think just swapping out your take away coffee cups for keep cups and using bamboo cutlery is the complete story really.
I mean, those are some great simple moves you can do to get started, (and I know that’s not all the ‘Zero Waste’ movement is about either, there’s a lot more to it) but there’s more to this story than just reducing waste don’t you think? I know all of this comes from a place of love and compassion and wanting to do good for the environment, but living a life with less unnecessary plastic waste is only one way of incorporating a more Eco Conscious mind set into your reality.
So what do I mean when I say Eco Conscious? Here an idea that resonates with me that I think encapsulates an ‘Eco Conscious’ mindset.
The concept of ‘deep ecology’ is particularly interesting and I feel can be a good starting point for further contemplation and discovery. Initially introduced in environmental literature in 1973 by Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess in an era after the 1960s where environmentalism was emerging out of grassroots political movements. Drengson in his article Some Thought on the Deep Ecology Movement described it as having an ethic of ‘respecting nature and the inherent worth of other beings’ and involves ‘redesigning our whole systems based on values and methods that truly preserve the ecological and cultural diversity of natural systems.’ Some pretty thought provoking stuff in regards to eco-conscious living, don’t you think?
You can find that article and others surrounding eco-conscious living. There’s an enormous amount of resources, articles, blogs, books and literature on this topic now days and I really encourage you to read further if it’s something you find interesting and worthwhile to engage in. I know I do.
I guess what this means for me is living with an awareness of this deep innate connection we have with nature - the birds, the trees, the animals, the rocks, the mountains, the fire, the rain, all other beings, including ourselves. Because we are nature. We are simultaneously one with everything that arises moment to moment. So we must listen to it, respect it, take care of it. Otherwise it dies – we die. We are one infinitesimal part of this complex interconnected web of life. You. And me. And everything. On a cosmic scale. ..Boom!
You can feel it right down to the chaos of the complex buzzing interconnected world of your own body’s system because we are a complete eco-System unto ourselves. The living bugs and bacteria and cells and micro-organisms and even atoms all interacting and exchanging on a micro-cellular level in, on and around your body and in the environment. We have a stunningly intricate micro biome and are completely integrated with it and dependant on it for survival, as it is to you. I was listening to a talk by Deepak Chopra the other day who was saying that actually our bodies are only made up of 20% human cells, the rest is bacteria! How incredible is that! We are all part of the infinite micro-cosmic biome.
So this is where it really comes down to truly being eco-conscious… It is about you. Who you are for you. Not who I think you are or who I think you should be, or anyone else for that matter. It’s about you living in harmony and alignment with your own truth, connected and conscious of your reality and how you choose to create it for your own health and wellbeing including others and the environment. Because ultimately it is all part of the integrated ‘Cosmic-Self’ that we are. So whatever that natural expression is for you, in balance with your body, your mind, soul, and spirit. Find out what that is for you, and be your purest expression of that.
For me, being Eco Conscious not only means being conscious of my plastic consumption and ecological footprint...but in the same way it is connected to how I treat myself and my body as well. How I practice self-care. All the habits, behaviours and beliefs we choose to create in our lives. Consciously or not. Are you truly living consciously in harmony with your own innate micro-biome? Your own personal landscape? Physically, mentally, emotionally – and even spiritually? And with the landscape around you? The people you interact with on a daily basis? the other animals you share the land with? the land itself? It’s all connected.
Once we start to truly open up our awareness and consciousness about how we are really impacting our intrinsic ecology – we begin to see that we start making more healthy choices for our-selves, our bodies and the environment.
You might start eating healthier organic whole foods, going to the farmers market, reducing your plastic footprint, moving around stagnant energies – dancing & doing yoga, learning, challenging yourself, practicing meditation, expressing yourself authentically, being creative, being in nature, going on adventures and reaching out into the unknown. You might find yourself meeting new people, discovering new places, having conversations with the neighbour’s cat, listening to the birds, planting trees, considering your impact on others, practicing self-care, tidying, detoxing and cleansing, and healing in all kinds of ways and on all the levels – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – including the ecology....Because that’s all part of what makes up this one incredible cosmic universe we live. We are all one moving organism together, that we get to be conscious of - aware of - and are part of! What an immense discovery and gratitude for this! Namaste