“The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery – not over nature but of ourselves”. Rachel Carson
By Bob Folkart
Green living spread its initial roots years ago to preserve our environment. In recent years the definition of green living has expanded to include compassion for our fellow man. We still hear about preserving our environment. However, we also hear about providing philanthropic efforts for the less fortunate as an essential component of a green lifestyle.
At first glance, protecting and preserving our environment doesn’t seem to be directly related to how much we gave to the heart foundation last year. Buying pesticide free organic fruits or organic cotton apparel means supporting a cleaner and healthier environment. Reducing our air and highway travel reduces pollution and our carbon footprint. All of these deeds on behalf of the environment may even enhance our self esteem and make us feel good. But the dollars we can afford to give to our favorite charity or the time we can spare to volunteer seems barely related to pollution.
What did Rachel Carson mean when she spoke about mastering ourselves and not nature? Green living is all about personal sacrifice, changing our lifestyle and how much we are willing to give for what we believe. A green lifestyle relates to what we think about ourselves and our feelings of compassion for our planet and our fellow man. What is the source of our feelings of compassion for others and the environment? The answer lies deep within our minds…the human spirit.
Our spirit provides each of us with the drive and desire to grow and become better than what we are. This unique capacity for positive thinking and spiritual growth facilitates “progressive evolution”. In other words, positive thinking can evolve into positive living. A positive lifestyle can result in social responsibility which leads to compassion for our fellow man.
Compassion is demonstrated through our deeds and actions. Charitable giving is compassionate thinking in action. It means personal sacrifice and setting priorities based on how much we are willing to give despite of our own needs. Giving of ourselves is the real meaning of green compassion. Today this concept is shaping the last green branches that have grown from the seeds of environmental preservation planted years ago.
Awakening and developing the human spirit has certainly been an integral component of many religions, charitable organizations, and foundations all over the world. For example, the Anthony Robbins Foundation is committed to the passionate pursuit of a better quality of life. They are focused on self-empowerment, spiritual growth and selfless charitable giving. They have successfully accomplished their continuing mission through the development of products and programs based on the efforts of “an international coalition of caring donors and volunteers”. The Robbins Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation and similar organizations have been implementing green compassion before it was called green. Likewise green companies are starting to assume their eco-friendly role toward spiritual growth, positive thinking and charitable giving.
For example, one green company providing organic cotton clothing, focuses on spiritual growth and positive thinking by displaying inspirational messages on their apparel such as “Be Compassionate…True Beauty”. They also have a charitable giving program including volunteering in the community and donating their organic clothing for environmental education. They also provide funds to the Anthony Robbins Foundation, the Kennedy Krieger Institute and other charitable organizations.
Green living requires green compassion. An evolving human spirit is the source of our compassionate thoughts and deeds. Progress requires that our collective spirit of compassion is in harmony with the needs of our planet and our “fellow man”.
Will your spirit join others in extending a hand of compassion?
This is a deeply spiritual issue…Do we want to spend more time trying to care for our fellow man or do we want to just pursue more virtual reality? That’s the issue before us…and it’s being played out in the world of the environment.” Ed Begley, Jr.