2015: The Rise of Common Sense
“The new common sense is about knowing that all of life is significant and that you must take care of it.”
— Barbara Marciniak, Path of Empowerment
As I celebrated the new year in Fiji with my parents, I read in the news that a prominent businessman, 52, had collapsed and died from a massive heart attack. I was reminded that our inner climate, if you will, is in crisis: we suffer from heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer in epidemic proportions. Diabetes is actually the number one killer in Fiji, this tropical paradise I call home.
Our bodies are experiencing chaos. Our outer climate mirrors this crisis state.
The global average temperature of the earth has been rising; 2014 is slated to be the hottest year on record, according to NASA. The lungs of the earth, our forests, are being destroyed to graze cattle and plant GMO corn and soy, which we eat in the form of burgers and sugary snacks and sodas containing high-fructose corn syrup. No wonder we are ill. We continue to pollute our air, water, and land with chemicals, toxins, pesticides, hormones and so on, and then we wonder why we suffer from cancer, or why our children are born with defects. We torture and slaughter drugged animals in factory farms and ingest their trauma, their antibiotics and hormones. Consequently violence, depression and other forms of physical and mental illness are prevalent in our societies today.
As you ponder new year’s resolutions, as yourself: what will I do this year to reduce the (inner and outer) chaos?
Fortunately, I believe this negative feedback loop is about to surrender to common sense: because we are connected to all living systems, any harm we do to the earth, we do to ourselves. More and more human beings are becoming aware of the direct connections between what I call personal and planetary wellness. We are beginning to act on what we know. Evidence for the rise of common sense is readily available through scientific research, popular culture, animal rights activism, start-ups, as well as health and wellness movements.
Look up Dr. Gabriel Cousens, and see what reverses diabetes (hint: it’s not drugs). Pick up The China Study or The World Peace Diet and read about the myriad connections between our diet, disease, and planetary wellness. Watch Cowspiracy and Forks over Knives to get a sense of what is at stake for the climate and our own bodies if we don’t change what we eat. If you’re really brave, watch Earthlings (it’s not for the faint of heart or weak-stomached).
The facts are all around us. If you peruse the evidence with an open mind, the solution becomes crystal clear: a shift away from meat and dairy is best for all life to thrive on Earth. If we want to heal ourselves, our climate, and all living beings, we need to pay attention to what we put into our bodies, where it comes from, how it reaches us, and how it’s processed.
If you are motivated to change your diet, you might want look up Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s (PCRM) 21-day Vegan Kickstart as an excellent way to start the new year. Veganuary is another program that is taking off right now; it focuses on becoming vegan to reduce animal suffering. Or, you can do what my parents do: eat meat only once a day, and buy most of your food from a produce or farmers market.
Another pathway to becoming more aware and healthy is through meditation and yoga. I highly recommend transcendental meditation (TM) and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), and a yoga practice; perhaps you’re ready for a vipassana or other type of meditation retreat, or even a corporate retreat with YŌL. Meditative practices energetically cleanse your body, allowing your inner knowing to emerge. For instance, is it safe or fair or healthy to repeatedly impregnate cows and when they give birth, keep calves just out of reach of their moms, so WE can use their milk? Do we pause to consider this each time we eat pizza or ice-cream? What other unexamined choices are we making daily?
If there has ever been a time for facing the decisions we may not directly make, but are directly supporting with our consumer choices, that time is now.
If you’re into tracking you’re your consumer choices, you can do so in a fun way with Oroeco’s platform. Oroeco is a recent winner of Echoing Green’s Climate Fellowship and it offers a platform that lets you track your everyday choices so you can see how they align with your values, and reduce climate change. If you’re interested in moving beyond consumerism altogether, stay tuned for Climate Healers’ new offering, the Climate Healers Initiative for Transformation (CHIT), which will include programs that let you learn the skills you need to live more in alignment with personal and planetary wellness.
If you want to start your new year with a change that is more specific, say reducing or eliminating sugar from your diet, try Good Chocolate, a delicious alternative to sugary treats made by a duo that really wants to empower your choices. If you’re interested in learning to be sugar-free in a more hands-on way, AND enhance your relationship with your significant other at the same time, talk to Lana Baumgartner and Joe Mattia about their innovative sensual food program. Where common sense prevails, health is the new pleasure.
If your way of wanting to do your part is by raising your voice for the animals, you may want to join your local chapter of Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), the most powerful and effective animal rights movement of our times. To alert climate leaders such as Al Gore about the harmful connections between animal agriculture and climate change, join Operation Missing Link and participate in the 51@EarthHour campaign. Bring the voices of grassroots people around the world into global decision-making by joining the Initiative for Equality. The existence of all these relatively new organizations is another indication that common sense is taking root.
If you are making bold changes this year, and would like to meet people who share your values and are taking similar actions, try VeganTalk, a social network for aspiring, new, and staunch vegans; you may also want to join your local vegan, animal rights, justice, or other Meetup groups, as well as Facebook communities. You’ll find that you are not alone. This rising tide of human consciousness is global, and it’s accelerating.
We humans, with our infinite capacity to hear the call of common sense, are the solution. It doesn’t matter if you’re into incremental, one-step-at-a-time solutions (Meatless Monday, anyone?) or holistic, systemic change (going vegan today), every positive action counts. Perhaps the best time to take action is now, as we begin a new year filled with hope and promise. What will you do? Which piece of common sense will you embrace in 2015?