Question for you, do you sh*t where you sleep? Didn't think so. Let's address that question.
Since I was a kid I've been a damn do-gooder & a little weird. I used to walk from door to door around my neighborhood with a binder of laminated newspaper cut outs of dogs seeking homes from the local shelter. My neighbors would kindly listen to my schpeel, as I handed them a brochure and urged them to adopt a dog. My parents wouldn't let me get one at the time and the animal shelter had no idea I was doing this. Once my mom came home to me making a collect call to the Argentinian Embassy after I discovered Greenpeace and their newsletters about calling to petition the destruction of the rainforest. Also, I personally wrote letters to my favorite pre-teen companies like Bath and Body Works asking them how their products were impacting the environment...
Anyway, there's a book I've been reading called Spiritual Ecology, recommended to me by my dear friend Ashley Kunesh. It's a series of essays about the planet & our connectivity to it from philosophers, scientists, environmentalists, humanitarians, and the great thinkers of our time. Another book called Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach about the succeeding of Washington, Oregon, and California to create their own environmental utopia. It's rad. I read it while I was recovering from Bali belly in an RV beachside in Byron Bay, fitting... And if you really want to have your mind rattled check out This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. I read this one from one airplane ride to the other, be careful because the way she addresses economics and the inverse relationship to the environment may send you into an existential crisis. It did for me. Each one of these books has made me want to tap the person next to me in the middle seat and be like, "Dude, we need to do something about this."
Better yet, you don't even have to read about environmental catastrophes. It's even worse to the whole existential crisis thing if you see it for yourself. This past year, I traveled to Indonesia to explore two beautiful islands smack dab on the equator in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I was on a surf mission, addicted to the ocean, improving at a "sport", and wondering why the ocean was so electric, magnetic, and truly had/has me under its spell. So, picture me about to wade out into these beautiful Indonesian turquoise waters... I dip my feet in, it's a whopping 91 degrees. Bath water. And then, like a horror movie [insert screeching sound effects here] I see a plastic bag, then a juice box, then a giant floating island of plastic. I'm about to get impaled by a laundry detergent bag while paddling out into the break. My reaction, "This is f*cked." It got so much worse over the next 3 months, I'm not even going to get into my thoughts on Iceland and helplessly watching the glacial melt. Let me articulate a few things I've been pondering.
Life. In my professional opinion, was supposed to be simple. Whatever, whoever created this giant floating water ball suspended in space made it super easy on us. We get the seed, the seed goes into the dirt, the rain waters the seed, it grows, bears fruit, we eat the fruit, we or an animal takes a sh*t, replant the seed, and so on.
We've steered so far away from planting our own seeds, picking our fruit, taking care of sweet Mother Earth... Let me give you an example.
I was in Atlanta, Georgia recently, cooped up in a hotel room. I don't watch TV, I haven't owned a TV in about 7 years but for shits and giggles I turned on the network television in my very air conditioned Double Tree room. I watched 10 commercials in about 10 minutes. After that 10 minutes passed by, I thought I may or may not have a disease that I didn't know how to pronounce and should probably be prescribed some meds, watched slow motion close ups on the most un-nutritious yet somehow delicious looking burger from Carls Jr. or something for 2.99, was almost convinced to buy a Tempurpedic mattress, and was paranoid that my identity was going to be stolen off the internet after a very futuristic identity theft commercial urging me to subscribe to their services.
Wow. Just wow. America. Disease, pain, dying, identity theft, over-consumption, saving money - as someone that works in advertising, this is what was being communicated to me over the ol' tele. No wonder none of us are interested in taking care of the planet, going out and being a part of Mother Earth and all her splendor, as we were meant to. We're too busy getting diagnosed with mesothelioma, eating Carl's Jr., subscribing to shit we don't need, and over-consuming everything because it was a great deal. Should I continue?
Poor humans are driven by fear. We fear three things: pain, the unknown, and death. All terrifying yet all unavoidable. On the opposite spectrum, we live for love and not just the type that comes from another person. If my words mean anything to you, it comes from out there. Not in your apartment, car, airplane, or shopping mall. Remember, it was meant to be simple. A little seed, a little rain. Take care of the soil, take care of the water. There's more than enough, even if they make it seem like there isn't - and the scary thing is, we're glued to our fears and our iPhones and bad advertisements looking for purpose, happiness, love.
Here's my starter pack for self-help and ultimate save the world plan for all of us: go study the purpose and lifespan of a flower, go stare at the ocean, catch the sunset and sunrise, plant a vegetable. Before you claim yourself a vegan, start wearing only hemp based products, and stop shaving your arm pits - understanding our purpose has to start in the mind and your true relationship with the natural world, then the actions will follow. Hippie sounding as shit, I know, but truly we're not separate from nature, not science, technology, or religion. We're a part of it, and we're responsible for it, just as its responsible for us.