Reducing Carbon from the Innersphere
Among the most hopeful strands of the conversation about reducing carbon is focused not on the sky above but on the earth below. Indeed scientists are now saying that fertility is such a powerful agent of carbon sequestration that if we could reverse desertification and restore grasslands on a planetary scale, we could draw enough carbon out of the atmosphere to bring carbon parts per million back to healthy levels. Wow, that’s really great news. And if we want to take a step back and ask how this is done, the answer has a lot to do with the management of animals and water. So one message that is coming loud and clear from ecologists is the idea that if we want to preserve a planet that can support life as we know it, we need to learn about and engage the best practices for managing herds of grazing animals and sinking and storing water in the soil. But, if we want to get to the bottom of the conversation about carbon, we might want to go one step further. You guessed it, I’m talking about raising consciousness. After all, it is not consciousness that manages herds and designs systems to catch water? Indeed it is the “quality of our attention and intention” that dictates not only if we care to take action in the first place and also how we act and what results when we do. The good news is that raising consciousness doesn’t have to be all that mysterious. We are involved in activities that lift up our level of consciousness all the time. We get enough sleep, exercise and wholesome food. We go to synagogue or church or temple. We read inspiring books. And sometimes we engage in a more formal contemplative practice or body work. Do these things play a role in our ability to reduce carbon emissions and engage in the practices which result in the sequestration of carbon in our soil? Yup, you bet they do. Here are ten reasons why: 10. Raising consciousness encourages long term thinking and it shifts our attention away from the need for immediate gratification. 9. It cultivates compassion for future generations, the third world and other species thereby building motivation to protect them. 8. It helps us overcome addiction both on the societal level to things like ‘oil’ and to more conventional addictions that keep us perally trapped in cycles of over-consumption. 7. It cultivates courage to stand up against the trend at a time when mainstream culture might pull us towards more destructive activities. 6. It helps us to be attractive to collaborators and supporters. Heaven knows we can get more done and have more fun if we don't have to work alone. 5. It reduces greed by allowing us to notice that our happiness might not be fulfilled by the next acquisition or the next sensory experience. 4. It builds contentment from within as we develop the ability to experience the present moment. In other words, it actually makes us happier. 3. It supports a holistic thinking that can comprehend the way the whole system is working and thereby imagine the most effective way to help. 2. It allows us to get things done in groups. Why? Because we can check our personal agenda at the door and listen to what others have to say. And we know what to say ourselves if and when the time comes to speak. And the number one reason why raising consciousness reduces atmospheric carbon, it supports us to slow the heck down so that we don’t have to run around so much and do so much stuff all the time. Sakes alive, we need to rest. And when we invest in the raising of our own consciousness, we make it easier for everyone else to do so as well. So if we really want to reduce atmospheric carbon, we may not need to travel to the deserts of the world. Indeed, some of the best ways to contribute are close at hand.