Our planet’s existence is a miracle, and our presence upon it even more so. Whether we came to be here through the guiding hand of a Creator, or through fortuitous chance conditions of the evolving Universe, Life on Earth is a gift. But, we aren’t taking care of it as we ought to.
What is it to be a steward? To be a steward is to be tasked with the job of looking after someone or something. This is exactly how I view our relationship to our fair planet: we are, or ought to be, the Stewards of Earth.
Our relationship with Earth is an important one which is why all religions put emphasis on looking after the planet (the concept of Stewardship is predominantly related to Christian and Jewish teachings, but actually the idea of dutifully caring for the earth is not just a Judaeo-Christian one). It is also a finely balanced relationship which is why, now that we are taking too much from the planet, environmental systems are starting to collapse.
Personally, I view the notion of Stewardship as non-denominational: it applies to any and every person who lives, works and breathes upon the planet regardless of what religion they do, or do not, subscribe to. It is a duty that we all have. There is no denying that we are going to have to make some sacrifices if we are to rectify the problems we have caused as a species, but that does not mean that there will be no fun, joy or sense of adventure as we relearn how to live without negatively impacting the planet.
Recently, I talked about how peace has to come from within each and every one of us before we can create a peaceful external world (read my article here). To me, Peace and Stewardship go hand-in-hand, mutually influencing the other. We cannot be good stewards of the planet if we are not at peace within ourselves (the peaceful seek only to cherish, uplift and nurture, not destroy), but a big part of becoming peaceful within relies on our relationship with nature.
“The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.”
Despite all our material advances in living conditions we are, both in evolutionary and spiritual terms, still creatures of the Earth. We feel unbalanced when we are disconnected from it, even though we may not realise that. We are still intimately connected to the energetic web of life, and our actions do matter. Our actions have consequences. We think we are smarter than the earth, but we are not.
I think if people were to start thinking of themselves as Stewards of the Earth, their relationship with the planet would move in a positive direction. Being a steward does not mean we are “in charge” and therefore we can bend the earth to our whim; it means acting as caretakers or guardians, working in harmony with Earth’s natural systems and acting only in ways that helps the planet – and all of her inhabitants, human or otherwise – to flourish. It is a fun and fulfilling role when you realise the beauty of what you are doing. To help to create is a more natural soul tendency than to destroy; a love of power is never truly fulfilling.
We can co-exist harmoniously with all other life on earth – it just means we have to reign in our dominating tendencies and re-attune ourselves with the natural way the planet works. There is nothing wrong with how Nature works, and everything we do to change or ‘improve’ it to our liking causes a negative domino effect across all eco and atmospheric systems. Nothing on this earth belongs to us, we belong to it because we are part of it, part of the organism that is Earth and, ultimately, part of the organism that it the Universe. When we embrace that thought, we fully understand how everything we do to the planet, we ultimately do unto ourselves. How about we commit to change this for the betterment of both?
Tread lightly on this earth.
Soon, I will share with you my Zero Waste purchases over these last few months and how I am starting to completely shift my mindset towards making decisions that only have a positive impact on the planet.