Guest Commentary: Sustainability From the Inside Out
By Lawrence Messerman, Ph.D
It is a question, practically of relationship. We must get back into relation, vivid and nourishing relation to the cosmos and the universe. . . . For the truth is, we are perishing for lack of fulfillment of our greater needs, we are cut off from the great sources of our inward nourishment and renewal, sources which flow eternally in the universe. Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree, with its roots in the air. We must plant ourselves again in the universe.
-D.H. Lawrence, writer
…shamans used to work by harmonizing the elements and bringing them back into balance wherever they went. This is a spiritual, archetypal form of environmentalism that we don't understand anymore because we tend to see environmentalism as just an external affair. Of course we then end up relying on the same external, scientific technologies to restore the environment that destabilized it and got us into this mess in the first place—which is totally hopeless. We have forgotten the secret that there are inner environmental practices, too.
Peter Kingsley, philosopher
This term sustainability from my perspective is…a disconnected term, taken simply out of context, used for whatever purpose any person wants, without a fundamental underlying foundation for its meaning that is connected in context with everything else with which we have to live…
-Larry Merculief, Aleut elder
I applaud those who look for ways to conserve energy, minimize CO2 and other forms of pollution, or seek to protect wild habitat. And I believe a great deal more can be done. Not just additional environmental policies, but a fundamental approach that begins with the understanding that our outer environmental challenges are not simply isolated phenomena, but a reflection of a whole way of life that is out of balance. What is unsustainable is thus felt socially, politically, economically and even psychologically.