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Homework on the Wire

this is from a book report that i did on David Suzuki's book "The Sacred Balance".
"Love makes us human" , says Suzuki in his final paragraph on The Law of Love from his book "The Sacred Balance". Within this humanness resides the ability to love all species, to love all things of the world. Why then are we so hopelessly out of touch with the natural world and with the billions of other creatures that inhabit it? Why do we act as if we are the only sentient beings, the only species that matters? Where is the love?

We are made of the earth; and therefore we are the earth. Our bodies contain the same elements that the earth is composed of. Our first breath of Air begins our journey into the world, and each breath sustains us throughout our lives. The element Earth, from the rock and dirt of terra firm, creates the solid foundation of our body; our bones, our teeth, and our fatty tissue. Our blood and vital bodily fluids that flow through us are of the Water element, the same water that rains into our lives and waxes and wanes in the tides of the mighty oceans. From the Sun we carry Fire in our bellies, the oven where things are cooked, broken down and digested.

These same elements: Air, Earth, Water and Fire are the same elements that all species are created from. The bond between Planet Earth, Human Beings and All other Beings is unmistakably intertwined. We are one spirit.

In our myopic worldview we have put our own lives in peril but more importantly and tragically, we have contributed to the loss of 50,000 species a year, six species per hour! Suzuki tells us: "... the current extinction crisis is without precedent--never before has a single species been responsible for such a massive loss of diversity" . Humans are purportedly responsible for the elimination of 10-20 percent of all species that existed before we came into being. As one example of species loss, it is said that when the first European settlers arrived in the United States the continent was covered by an estimated 3.2 million km of forest. All but 220,000 km of the forests have been cleared in just 500 years time.

Yet, on some level we do have an innate appreciation for other life forms beyond our own. Despite our lust for sport events, Suzuki says that the number of people who visit zoos exceeds the number of visits to all sporting events combined. Many of us have pets that fill a very special role in our lives. We often make escapes to the woods, to the river and oceans, and to other places where nature's tranquility can soothe and rejuvenate us. There is wisdom then that nature plays an imperative role in our lives.

However, there seems to be an erroneous and juvenile belief that nature will always provide for us, despite how we (mis)treat the earth. For many of us who live in industrialized societies, our bellies are full and we can shop with no dearth of selection or availability, so we think that all is well. And since we have largely lost our connection to nature we barely know or even care what is going on beyond our front door.

We seem to have a removed type of appreciation of nature; we've erected a wall between ourselves and the rest of the natural world - an "us and them" mentality. Suzuki proposes that this wall has caused a land of lonely, destructive and guilty people, one in which we are all struggling to bridge our isolation with community and committed connections. In this separation, from ourselves, from others and from the environment, we are inflicting harm, seemingly unconscious of the implications that it is causing. We harbor a schizophrenic conflict with little chance for enduring reconciliation without a meaningful and sincere desire to understand our connection to the divine, our connection to each other.

How is the human species different from the rest of the planet's species? Suzuki tells us that it is related to our conscious brain, our ability to discern what is similar, different or repetitive. But according to the Hawaiian viewpoint, (as he later states) the entire world is alive, and all of nature possesses this consciousness with the ability to think and feel, which allows full interaction with human beings. Suzuki further argues that it is the ability of the human brain to create meaning, to find coherence in chaos, which may be our salvation from this spiraling entropy that we've set into motion with our lack of consciousness with regard to our interconnectedness, and our absolute dependence upon the earth.

The question begging for answers is: what can we do - both individually and collectively - to help restore the balance towards wholeness? The most immediate, meaningful and logical place to begin is to engage in a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity. With the realization that our resources are not limitless and that once exhausted they are gone forever, we can begin to have a genuine gratitude and respect for nature for all that it provides. Suzuki suggests creating a hierarchy of needs, to look at what our basic necessities are, those things that we need and those things that we desire to make us happy. In doing this it is imperative to keep the needs of all others in mind too. "To live simply so that others may simply live", an eloquent message from Gandhi, is what is required. In the end, it is love not possessions that have any lasting or tangible meaning.

One wonderful side effect of buying less is having more time! Consumption makes us a slave to work and imprisons us with the arduous task of care taking our possessions. With more time available to us we can simply sit and watch the effortless, graceful way that nature lives in accordance to the cycles and seasons of life. In this our reverence and appreciation will elevate us to a place of awe as we marvel at the vast and unimaginable wisdom that is inherent in all living breathing beings, human beings included. In this state of awe our love will grow and our wisdom will surface. And love is the path; love is the answer to the primary question of our time.