Each day of the month of April leading up to Earth Day (April 22), I will be offering a suggestion for how we can really honor the Earth this year. This list will go beyond the usual suggestions to change your light bulbs and take shorter showers. Instead, the focus is on collective action working toward radical social change.
My last bit of advice is to beware of lists, including this one, but especially those premised on an individualistic value system and those that sound suspiciously like advertising.
Most of these kinds of lists–“Things You Can Do to Save The Earth”–focus on changing your consumer habits, and therefore leave the underlying structure of capitalist society unexamined.
There are good reasons to change our individual consumption habits. I look at these as a kind of spiritual practice. Changing how I consume is one way of transforming my relationship with the earth. So I included a few of these kinds of things on my list:
But remember, our task is not to try to navigate destructive social systems with personal integrity, but to help change those systems. And we will never change those system until we stop thinking about change as something that individuals do.
The most radical thing we can do in a capitalist system is to build community. Capitalism alienates us from each other and nature. Any action which connects us to the wider human and other-than-human community is a form of resistance. Several items on my list address this:
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And of course, we cannot forget about more familiar forms of political action:
Because this site is focused on the intersection of spirituality and political action, I included some ideas for spiritual transformation as well:
I hope you find something in this list that helps you honor the Earth in a new way. Happy Earth Day!