This truth applies to one and all: we are duty bound to protect and nurture planet earth. Buckminster Fuller long ago challenged us to “do more with less” if we hope to keep this “spaceship earth” in good working order. Others have recognized the need to develop sustainable energy economies and environmental practices. From the micro level of our individual decisions to the macro level of our global policies, our planet is straining under the weight of over-consumption and over-production. Can we do better? This Provision suggests we can and argues we must.
I’m surprised how long this Provision series on Guidelines for Living is turning out to be. You may remember that it is based on six different versions of “The Ten Commandments.” There’s a lot of overlap between them, so don’t worry: this series will not go on for 60 weeks! But it will last until we have touched upon the most important guidelines for those who would seek to enrich, affirm, and celebrate life.
One of the most important, it seems to me, is the simple notion that we are called to take care of the planet on which we live. When I was a youth, as a Boy Scout, we were charged to leave our campsite better than we found it. Nurturing planet earth is no more complicated than that. “Protecting the environment” and “treating the earth with respect” are both collective and individual responsibilities.
Recently I was introduced to another set of Ten Commandments, the “Earth’s Ten Commandments,” developed by Ernest Callenbach, a writer and editor best known for his visionary novel Ecotopia — an environmental classic that has sold almost a million copies. Here is a more contemporary rendering of Callenbach’s commandments:
- Love and honor the Earth for it blesses your life and governs your survival.
- Keep each day sacred to the Earth and celebrate the turning of its seasons.
- Do not hold yourself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.
- Give thanks for your food to the creatures and plants that nourish you.
- Limit your offspring, for multitudes of people are a burden unto the Earth.
- Do not kill nor waste Earth’s riches upon weapons of war.
- Do not pursue profit at the Earth’s expense but strive to restore its damaged majesty.
- Do not hide from yourself or others the consequences of your actions upon the Earth.
- Do not steal from future generations by impoverishing or poisoning the Earth.
- Consume material goods in moderation so all may share Earth’s bounty.
Those commandments pretty well cover the bases when it comes to things we can pay attention to and do ourselves to nurture planet earth. You can see how well they correlate, for example, to theTen Ways to Go Green and Save Green by Worldwatch Institute:
- Save energy to save money (and the planet).
- Save water to save money (and the planet).
- Less gas = more money (and better health!).
- Eat smart (eat less meat and buy more local).
- Skip the bottled water.
- Think before you buy (make secondhand your first thought).
- Borrow instead of buying (e.g., libraries over bookstores).
- Buy smart (e.g., bulk bins and long-lasting products).
- Keep electronics out of the trash.
- Make your own cleaning supplies.
Such lists abound on the Internet, which is a great thing since most people • regardless of their position on global warming • want to do what they can to take good care of planet earth, notwithstanding the outlier in a recent political cartoon set in the context of the global climate summit in December. At the front of the room was a presenter, speaking to such bullet points as “energy independence,” “preserve rainforests,” “sustainability,” “green jobs,” “livable cities,” “renewables,” “clean water,” “clean air,” and “healthy children.” In the back of the room was a person complaining, “What if it’s a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?”
The bottom line, of course, is that it’s never a hoax to create a better world. And most people need help to figure how to get from here to there. Cynicism about either individual action or about global initiatives gets in the way of taking any steps at all. But small steps do add up, as anyone who has ever lost weight will tell you. No one ever loses 100 pounds all at one time. And, as Lao Tzu famously noted, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
That does not mean, of course, that individual “green” lifestyle changes are the only steps we can take. We can also advocate and act on behalf of “green” policies that will do far more, in the long run, to nurture planet earth. Here are some of the policies recommended by New York Times columnist and best-selling author, Thomas Friedman:
- Create a Clean Energy System
- With “Change or Die” Incentives to Energy Producers
- And Visible, Energy-Saving Incentives to Energy Consumers
- So the word “Green” goes away as an option. It becomes Standard Operating Procedure.
In other words, to quote Friedman in Hot, Flat, and Crowded, “When you wake up one day and power companies are competing to make you more energy efficient, the way phone companies compete today for your long-distance business; when parking garages are paying you to park there because they will sell you solar power from their roof and share in your sale of that power to the grid; when your electricity is more costly but your bills have shrunk; and when green is the standard, not an option • you’ll know that we’re having a green revolution and not just a green party.”
And that’s just on the energy side of the equation. Policies to conserve and protect the environment are just as important. It’s not an either-or choice when it comes to individual actions and global initiatives; nurturing planet earth requires both-and approaches that can make a difference in both the short run and long term. I, for one, am encouraged by global climate summits and the general level of consciousness and concern that seems to be sweeping the globe today. We are a long way from where we need to be; but we are talking our way through the knotholes of how to get there.
Coaching Inquiries: How would you evaluate your “green” consciousness? What is one thing you do to help conserve energy, preserve the environment, and/or advance “green” policies? How can you take a few more steps in the right direction? Who could become your partner in nurturing planet earth?
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Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.
Congratulations on your new book! I will be sure to get it in the hands of a friend of mine who is struggling with her work as a counselor in a school district that sounds incredibly stressed and toxic. There is so clearly a deep festering wound in our culture • too many people, in my circles too many young women, suffering from a lack of everything. A lack self-esteem to a lack of integrity. Self-love to love of other living things. How can a country based on freedom and the American dream leave so many behind? And how to contribute to turning that around? I have some ideas on how to do that and your Provision to Nurture Well Being inspired me further. Enjoy your rest and rejuvenation and again • congratulations on launching a book of such importance.
Your Provision, Nurture Well Being, was great and very timely for me … I am finally nurturing my professional well being and fully embracing my shift into coaching • still not exactly sure of what it will look like … Stay tuned! The book you and your wife are working on sounds fantastic! I can’t wait to read it!
Thank you for the reminder about the “healthy rhythms of work and rest, effort and play….” Important stuff!
Great issue of Provisions to Nurture Well Being. I loved how the Universe provided for you and your wife. I’d love to hear more about your book. As you may know, a group of us in Richmond (called Bounce) are working with business leaders and middle schools to develop emotional intelligence skills in middle schoolers, and servant leadership skills in business leaders. Wonderful work, and may be worth a conversation with you once you are well renewed again. I’ve also forwarded your newsletter to two friend, both runners who will be intrigued by what you’ve written.
I was fascinated to read about your days spent working very hard on the computer and the types of breaks you could take and your observations of these. I had a similar experience to share, where my daughter, age 13, has just changed schools here in Spain. She used to sit in the same classroom all day and the teachers came in and out. The work was hard for her, due to this school’s curriculum. She felt ‘drab’ and struggling with the material. In the new school, she said, she is briefly in her home room in the morning and then moves around the school between classes, all day long.
We just had the conversation in the car about how helpful it is to get up after the lesson, have a little walk outside to the next class, freshen up and chat with a friend, change the books she is holding, sit down again in a new and different room, and have a much better entry for concentration in the next subject. New room, little walk, fresh air, 5 min break, no hurry, has made all the difference! Rather than just reaching in to the desk and changing the math book for the English book, for example.
How interesting to share that dynamic with her and see her joy in learning improve! I agree and follow this practice myself. 60-90 min is about all we can manage, at least us ‘regular’ folks. It is a great practice to consciously include breaks!
Amen to serendipitous events! Good for you and Megan for staying put! I also loved your take on Vibram and Nike Free. It’s fun to hear you’ve been experimenting with the Free. My husband and I have now worn Vibrams for the past 9 months and have noticed such a huge difference in our bodies. They are a wonderful addition to my ever-changing workouts and have helped us both with balance, stability and strength.
It was great to see barefoot running included in last week’s Provision. It’s something that I learned about some time ago, and I recall being curious then about your opinion on barefoot running. At that time, I am not sure that Vibram Five Fingers existed, but Newton Running shoes were all the rage. (http://www.newtonrunning.com)
I continue to enjoy your inspiring Provisions.
I just wanted to send you a thank you! I have always viewed life like ripples in a river; things we do have an effect on others long after we have left that spot. I just thought I would let you know, one of your ‘ripples’ touched me and helped.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
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