Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Web of Life has been hacked!

The Web of Life is being hacked! And it’s been happening for some time. But, if we act now it can still be repaired!
What’s the Web of Life?” I hear you say. “Who’s been hacked?”
Not another do-gooder getting in the way of progress”  
Well, actually we are all part of the Web of Life, and, unfortunately, WE are the hackers destroying it!   Confused?   Let me go back a step.
The Web, not the internet one, but the Web of Life is the connection between all living beings on our planet. It includes humans, animals, plants and organisms.  We didn’t create the Web but we are part of it and therefore we are connected to all life within the Web. This means, that the actions of one impact all. The impact isn’t immediately obvious as the Web tries to compensate to maintain the balance.  It’s this balance however, that’s now in trouble.  So how did all this happen?  
Indigenous cultures around the world have long actively practiced respect for all life within the Web. This doesn’t mean that they are all vegetarians but rather, what is taken is respected and replaced.
In the western world however, we have been taught that there is a hierarchy and that humans are at the top of this hierarchy because we have a larger brain and opposable thumbs. “We can do whatever we want because we are better than everyone else”. However this isn’t true, it is a belief born out of ego, dating back to the beginning of westernised civilization, where we believed that (usually white) man ruled over his family, community, environment and material possessions.
This mindset that we are superior to all other living beings on our planet has contributed to disconnecting us from the rest of the Web.  When we do not regard ourselves as an equal member of the Web, we believe we can just take whatever we want; this spurs our continuous drive for more consumption.
It is this disconnection that is causing our planet and all members of the Web to suffer. We are seeing more animal species becoming extinct, more of our plant life (ranging from the Amazon forests to 100 year old trees in Sydney), being removed, and more of our land mass and oceans changing.  All in the name of ‘progress’
Surely by now you would think we could run industry, business, economics and technology in a much more sustainable and respectful way. But the focus tends to be how cheap can we make it and how much can we sell? While it is within our power to stop practices such as: child labour exploitation; unsafe factories; and low wages, our focus on making money remains the primary goal.
We validate people by their ability to consume and we reward them by how much they can make others consume. The more we consume and value materialism, the further we disconnect from other humans and the whole Web. We focus internally on what we have and what we want, rather than what we can give or share. Many studies have been conducted that prove what Buddhists and others have said for a long time – “if you want to find happiness you need to focus on what you can do for others, not what you can get for yourself”.
We have built our society on capitalism and while there are many opportunities, we have also by default created a society of ‘haves and have-nots’.  As we continue to be obsessed with consuming, the divide between people is growing and the environment is being destroyed in the process.   
So how do we start to change this situation, repair the Web of life, undo the hack? Now is the time to take accountability.   At an individual level we can ask ourselves some basic questions: Do I really need this? How is this serving me?   At a group level there are people redefining what we mean by profit by advocating a ‘triple bottom line’ and ‘sustainable investments’, while others are trying to protect our oceans, our forests, recycle and convince our politicians that we need to address climate change.
Education and raising awareness for all people is the first step. Reminding ourselves that we are all part of the Web and that ALL life is precious and should be treated with respect. If we each do just one small thing like consider others and be grateful for what we have, the ripple effect of this behaviour would create a tidal wave that can bring about change. Isn’t that how women got the right to vote or and how segregation in the US ended – it all started with individuals standing up for what they believed was right.
The time has come to wake up and realise that we have been letting greed, and ego-centric behaviours tear the Web of life. Only we can fix this and we are running out of time.  In the words of the Cree Indians from the 19th century “When the last tree is cut down, the last river poisoned, the last fish caught, then only will white man discover that he cannot eat money.”

love and light