By Celine Caron
Copyright ©2006 by the author.
Spring equinox approaches. What a good time to celebrate our world! Any time is good, really, but picking a significant date can prompt us to slow down and appreciate our ecosphere.
Consider hosting an ecosphere celebration. You might, for instance, send the following invitation to friends:
Invitation to an Ecosphere Celebration
You are cordially invited to join the (Name here) family and friends in celebrating the life, health, beauty, harmony, creativity and unity of the Ecosphere, its natural ecosystems and its wondrous variety of creatures, large and small--and in giving thanks to this living Earth, our only Home.
The day: (day, month, date, time) 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Lunch at l2:00)
Food: This is a vegetarian potluck occasion
Location: (your place)
Please RSVP to: Telephone number or email address
Looking forward to seeing you!
Why Celebrate the Ecosphere?
Early humans had ritual ceremonies to celebrate nature rhythms, passages in an individual's life, changing seasons, animal migrations. Similar celebrations held in a garden, orchard, forest or hilltop, or near a creek, river or lake, can help us appreciate the ecosphere ourselves and teach our children about the natural world. Celebrate with joy and consciousness.
The following text, prepared by Ted Mosquin and added to by Céline Caron, can serve as a prompt for your celebration. Your event might include readings and music--and, of course, fine, ecological and locally-produced foods.
The Ecosphere… is the Whole Living Earth…
the Atmosphere--the air for breathing, breezes, wind, storms, lightning, thunder, tornadoes, hurricanes, protective ozone in high places;
the Hydrosphere--oceans, rivers, lakes, ice, water vapor, rain, hail, snow, clouds, fog, evaporation, condensation, moisture in life;
the Lithosphere--the Earth's mantle and interior, which provide all nutrients, maintain the nitrogen balance in the air, create the beauty of lands and seascapes, and provide the permanence of the world beneath our feet--gravity, soil, rock, plains, mountains, valleys; tectonic plates and, deeper down, moving molten lava--the source of volcanoes and magnetic fields;
the Pedosphere--the humus of fertile soil that unifies the organic world and the mineral world, the biggest reservoir of biodiversity and the only true source of sustainability on the planet.
the Biosphere--the wondrous variety of organisms, from submicroscopic to huge, in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems; the richness of co-evolved symbioses, the grace of movement, harmony of design, and the creative ecospheric processes that have worked over eons in ecosystems and organisms to create the Ecosphere as it came to be;
the Thermosphere--energy from the Sun; good temperatures for living and loving;
the Noosphere--a word popularized by the Jesuit French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to describe the sphere around the planet Earth produced by the human thought, emotions, hopes and dreams.
the Ethics-sphere--the idea of learning the reasons for and the ways of valuing and caring for the many parts of the Ecosphere, by working to protect and restore natural ecosystems, and to save from extinction the wild species whose ancestors made this Garden of Eden come to be.
More Thoughts to Share
Soon, 7 billion human beings will breathe the same air that was breathed
at the beginning of humanity, and 7 billion humans will drink the same water that the first person drank at the beginning of humanity. All human beings depend on the ecosphere, a living being evolving in the universe, and all these beings depend in great part for their subsistence on the water cycles and fertile soil. And the fertile soil depends on the deciduous forests that appeared 60 million years ago. We all depend on a community of living beings, which depend on other communities of living beings. We are all on the same ship, which aims to multiply and maintain life on planet Earth.
Most of us spend our lives without really seeing, hearing, tasting and feeling the world in which we live, the world that has evolved for and with us.
Many who are not involved in producing food can make links on a
computer but not with the living world. Many complain when the weather is cold or rainy, but who thinks about the bees that cannot pollinate the flowers then; who notices the bumblebees who do keep working till the temperature reaches the freezing point?
When we see vast clearcuts that leave forest soil bare with enormous furrows, who thinks about pedogenesis and the water cycle? Who thinks of the spring of water when a faucet is opened? Of water contamination when paint brushes are cleaned in the sink? Who worries for the trees when the wind blows or temperatures fluctuates sharply? Worse, who makes the link between agricultural soil and deciduous forests? We have become nature illiterates. It is time we pass from egocentrism to ecocentrism.
What Is Ecocentrism?
According to Ted Mosquin (www.ecospherics.net), "The ecocentric ethic provides a new basis from which to examine the questions of how we should value the natural Earth and its systems and of how people should live… Ecocentric ethics can also provide moral guidance to corporate and government policy makers and to individuals around the world for undoing the enormous past crimes against Nature, and for building economic systems and communities that are in harmony with the time-tested laws of the Ecosphere.
"Ecocentrism recognizes that the Ecosphere, rather than organisms, is the source of life, of creativity, of evolutionary design, and of all meaning.
"Human value systems have traditionally been inward-looking, preoccupied with the immediate concerns of the individual, and by extension, of society and culture. Ecocentric valuation invites a broader, outward-looking viewpoint… Questions are raised and some answers provided about the mysterious and miraculous Blue Planet upon whose creativity, stability and health the life, evolution, and well being of all organisms depends."
Civilizations and religions have placed the human being at the top of creation. Everything in the ecosphere (atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, pedosphere, biosphere, thermosphere and noosphere) is related and interrelated, in the evolutionary and the functional sense. The cells of all living beings are made of the elements of air, water and soil, which all come from initial energy. Sea water is maintained by organisms that stabilize the atmosphere. Plants and animals make lime whose sediments make our bones. Our blood and sea water are like brother and sister. Divisions that humans make between living and nonliving, biotic and nonbiotic, organic and inorganic are artificial, if not harmful.
Reality is not the human beings and "others," nor is the Earth a machine with fragmented parts. It is an interrelated ecosphere of marvelous creativity. The meaning of the word "eco" is "home," and "ecosphere" is the home from which life comes and in which all life forms exist. Space exploration has opened our minds to the universe; it has allowed us to see the planet Earth as a blue jewel floating in a sea of stars and planets.
Local and regional ecosystems belong to the ecosphere from which life has come and continues to come. It is up to us to comprehend the living envelope and the body of the Earth, which is composed of water, air and soil activated by solar energy.
Of all the vital elements, the most ignored and least known is the soil. Understanding the mechanisms of humus building (pedogenesis) came from the study of climax deciduous tree branches (oak, yellow birch, linden, beech, maple, ash…), which taught us that small branches (rameal wood) contain more protein than trunk wood. We now describe the transfomation of small roots and branches into humus as humification.
We all inhabit the same planet Earth, so a city resident must become conscious of the prejudices he or she applies to the Earth, and for which he or she also pays the costs. Individual, collective and political responsibility for the health of the forest (urban and rural), water and soil must be emphasized every day.
If we take a stand for life, with love, passion and respect, we shall make a difference. No one can destroy our love of and engagement with planet Earth. The abundance on this Earth can take care of all our needs. Let's feel all our links with all facets of this universe--the Earth, water, sky, animals, plants, spirits and all other beings.
Humanity is at a critical time in its evolution and, if we continue our unconcious ways of living, near the sixth extinction. (See http://www.actionbioscience.org/newfrontiers/eldredge2.html) We can choose to perish or to regenerate this planet. If each of us chooses to be himself or herself, to listen to his or her inner voice here and now, to live this moment as a challenge to surmount and an experience to savor, our hearts will be lighter and our journey a triumphant adventure. Let us vibrate with all the small living things of this world day and night and love them. Let animals and flowers, trees and water, stars and sun enter our dreams and our conscience.
Life is. It does not need hidden meanings to show its beauy and eternity. Happiness is not a tortured soul with confused thoughts, but the capacity of humans, from the most ancient times, to look at the stars and to be moved.
Where words no longer suffice, the world of music and nature begins, and transcends cultural and spiritual barriers. When we are sick, we think that health is most important. In the same way, at the end of life, we understand that everything is in nature. A healthy planet is like a bank : It is our retirement insurance.
Thought is energy. Planet Earth is a living being, with its own conscience. We can tune to its music if we give it precious attention. What we take care of and cherish grows, blooms, gives seeds and reseeds itself. The world is as we dream it. Our dreams, our actions and our hands are regenerating tools that can create a world worthy of the human family and of all life. We love what we know. We protect what we love.
Love the air that we breathe today.
Love the water that we must drink today.
Love the fertile soil, which gives the fruits and vegetables that we eat today.
Love the forests, which provide oxygen, water and soil.
Love the birds and insects, which pollinate all these plants that make our world so beautiful.
About the author : Céline Caron has been an ecologist and Earth doctor for the last 35 years. She is well known for her involvement in environmental causes and organic agriculture by her writings and conferences in French and in English. She lives in Quebec.