Once you acquire planetary loyalty, you are loyal to everybody. You are way out of line if you try being loyal to people before you are totally loyal to the planet. Gregge Tiffen
It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens. Baha’u’llah
As I began writing, I was experiencing one of those blog mornings with many thoughts and several themes seeming to want my attention. The beauty of the mountains captivated me on our walk this crisp morning, hinting that nature and the planet would appreciate attention. I sense these mountains, trees, and the wildlife that abound here want my attention, my care. I sense that their kin right where you live want and need the same.
Perhaps their beauty and the sunshine in these woods was more than a hint. In this week following Earth Day I’ve noticed how easy it is to honor Gaia on the day we’ve proclaimed hers and then, like the day after Christmas, to forget. As I reflected a bit more, I recalled a post I wrote several years ago suggesting that we become ‘matriots for the planet’ [http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/matriot-for-the-planet]. I remember thinking that I was cleverly making up a word, then happily discovering that the online Urban Dictionary defined ‘matriot’ this way: A person who loves, supports, and defends the earth and its interests with devotion. Of country, patriot. Of earth, matriot
Last week as I listened in via Zoom to the Global Freshwaters Summit [http://globalfreshwaterssummit.org/], I was awed and inspired by the activism — public and private — addressing the wide range of issues in the watersheds of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers here in the U.S. I felt gratitude that the event, originally planned as a conference to be held in St. Louis Missouri, was virtual so that I could easily attend. And, I had a sense that the planet was grateful as well that the 400 people from around the globe who participated were doing so with a minimal carbon footprint.
At the same time, I get that there is another side to this story: revenue, jobs, etc. lost in the travel and hospitality industries; people suffering as a result. We need innovative, integral ideas and creations to bridge such divides. That, for me, is the ‘stuff’ of matriotism. We need to question EVERYthing as well as ourselves.
In the rush to return to our pre-pandemic ‘normal’ will we simply ignore the impact of our ways of life on our planetary home? Or will we take account of how our systems and the choices we make reflect what nature has shown us, particularly over this past year? Author, activist, and friend Rivera Sun [www.riverasun.com] shared a documentary that premiered on Earth day — The Year Earth Changed — detailing how nature has responded to our human ‘pause’. Having watched the trailer, [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XswV_yqPq28] the film is at the top of my ‘must watch’ list. I want to more deeply understand my/our impact on the planetary being upon which my/our life depends. I take a moment to distinguish ‘life’ and ‘lifestyle’, wondering what lifestyle changes I/we can make to demonstrate matriotism: loving, supporting, and defending the earth and its interests with devotion?
Rather than ‘returning to normal’, I wonder how we might pivot to integrate greater consideration for the planet in making decisions? Perhaps before deciding to engage in business travel for meeting with or speaking to others at a conference, we matriots will ask and evaluate the cost to the planet of a pending decision. Perhaps we’ll learn to better compensate Gaia for her life giving support, offsetting the costs to her well-being of our choices.
I’m not advocating that we stay totally ensconced in our homes and our local communities. Indeed (full disclosure), this week I’m making a day trip to town about 80 miles away to celebrate a friend’s birthday and to pick up some auto parts and supplies that I can’t get locally. I recognize that we need each other. We need play. We need connection. At the same time, we need to recognize and integrate the planetary costs of meeting those needs into our consciousness more consistently and powerfully.
Cindy reflects on life, writes, takes long walks with canine companion, Zadie Byrd, and stewards a small property at 8000 feet in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado. Her work focuses on personal growth and change, creating new personal stories from which to create new paradigms for life. www.cindyreinhardt.com