Dreamer of the Earth, Earth Community

Thomas Berry Dreamer of the Earth: The Spiritual Ecology of the Father of Environmentalism

Chapter 9 – Earth Community – Joanna Macy


Acknowledging the depths and reaches of our inner responses to the demise of our world, we come to the discovery of what we are. The pain we feel for our world is living proof of our mutual belonging. Our raw capacity to “suffer with” testifies to an innate well-spring of compassion. This natural endowment is seen in Mahayana Buddhism as the mark of the bodhisattva. The tradition’s model for heroic behavior, the bodhisattva is also, by virtue of our inter-existence in the web of life, each person’s true nature. Knowing that there is no such thing as private salvation, nor healing without contact, he or she does not try to escape from this suffering world or hold aloof from its pain.

…That is what we find when we hear the sounds of the Earth crying within us. The tears that come are not ours alone… We find we are interwoven threads in the tapestry of life, its deep ecology, its Earth community.

…As living forms evolve on this planet, they move not only in the direction of diversification but also toward integration as well. These two movements complement and enhance each other… In our evolution as life-forms, we progressively shed our shells, our armor, our separate encasements. We grew sensitive and vulnerable protuberances – eyes, lips, fingertips – the better to connect and receive information, the better to interweave our discoveries. If we are ll bodhisattvas, it is because of that natural, inalienable thrust to connect, that capacity to integrate with and through each other.

…We begin to see that a shift of identification can release us not only from the prison cell of ego but also from the tight compartment of a solely human perspective. As John Seed, founder of the Rainforest Information Center in Australia, points out, it takes us “beyond anthropocentrism.”

When humans investigate and see through their layers of anthropocentric self-cherishing, a most profound change in consciousness begins to take place. Alienation subsides. The human is no long an outsider apart. Your humanness is then recognized as being merely the most recent stage of your existence; as you stop identifying exclusively as this chapter, you start to get in touch with yourself as vertebrate, as mammal, as species only recently emerged from the rainforest. As the fog of amnesia disperses, there is a transformation in your relationship to other species and in your commitment to them… The thousands of years of imagined separation are over and we can begin to recall our true nature; that is, the change is a spiritual one – thinking like a mountain, sometimes referred to as deep ecology. As your memory improves… there is an identification with all life. 

This leads us to a discovery we make in the arising of Earth community. It is the discovery of what can happen through us… One simply finds oneself empowered to act on behalf of other beings – or on behalf of the larger whole – and the empowerment itself seems to come through that or those for whose sake one acts… synergy.

from The Shift from the Anthropocentric to the Ecological Age, Ervin Laszlo:


*In our dealings with others, the bottom line is, “What do I get out of it?”

*We are separate individuals enclosed by our skin and pursuing our own interests.

*The problems we experience are but interludes after which everything goes back to normal.

*Order in society can only be achieved by hierarchal rules and laws and their enforcement.

*Whatever the problem, technology is the answer.

*We owe allegiance only to one nation, one flag, and one government.

*There is a direct link between money and happiness.

*Why should we worry about the welfare of the next generation?

*The earth is an infinite source of resources and an infinite sink of wastes.

*Nature is a giant mechanism that we can engineer to fit our needs and demands.

*Life is a struggle where the fittest survive and natural selection.

*Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ acts equitable by spreading the wealth.

*If other states possess natural resources we want, we have the right to fight for them.

Top 10 Ways to Save Earth

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10. Rediscover your indigenousness.

9. Replace authoritarian barriers with cooperation.

8. Hone right relations with fellow animals, plants and all Earth.

7. Earth homes.

6. Use your own energy – self-energize.

5. Peace not war.

4. Conservation and protection of nature.

3. Replace consumerism with stewardship.

2. Locally gathered vegan, organic (veganic), mostly wild food.


1. Remain barren (i.e. stop breeding), and encourage & support other Homo sapiens in doing the same.

walk it back

“Walk It Back”

Walk it back  Walk it back  Walk it back
What, what would you
Have had me say?
Instead of what I said
Where, where would I go?
How could I follow that?
Except to do what I did
Which it’s to Walk it back  Walk it back  Hmmm… Walk it back
Time reversing me why
erasing me vice
and tried to start again
You, don’t you turn this around
I have not touch the ground in
I don’t know how long
You say to Walk it back  Walk it back  Walk it back Hmmm…
Walk it back  Walk it back  Walk it back
Time, time, time it cannot revive
You, you can’t turn away
You asked me to stay but something needs to change
Why can’t you  Walk it back  Walk it back  Walk it back  Walk it back  Walk it back  Hmmm… Walk it back
jane goodall
evolution from chimp

vegan by nature – evolutionary biology

vegan by nature - biology

James McWilliams

Reason to Go Vegan #6: Evolutionary Biology

» February 5th, 2012

Every enlightened person acknowledges the fact that there’s morphological continuity between humans and non-humans. This is basic evolutionary biology. My hand has it origins in the transition from fish to land lizards. My arm and the arm of a hawk have a common origin. The human body has its origins in3.5 billion years of evolution. This we can all agree upon.

But what about my cognition, consciousness, emotionalism. Admittedly, we know less about the evolution of these phenomena, but this is changing, and what we’re finding confirms that, just as there’s physical continuity between all animals, there’s mental continuity as well. Let’s listen to what some of the leading scientific minds have said about the nature of cognitive evolution and it implications for the human and non-human relationship:

Donald Griffin, the father of cognitive ethology–the science of animal thought–writes: “the central nervous system of multi-cellular animals all operate by means of the same basic processes regardless of the species or even the phylum in which they are found. Because we know that at least one species does indulge in conscious thinking, and take it for granted that conscious and unconscious thinking result from activities of the central nervous system, we have no solid basis for excluding a priori the possibility that conscious thinking takes place in any animal with a reasonably well-organized central nervous system.”

Bernard E. Rollin, a leading authority on veterinary ethics, echoes this theme of continuity in his book Animal Rights and Human Morality: “For Darwin himself, and for the nineteenth-century biologists (at least in England and America) who carried forth his ideas, thought and feeling in animals was an inevitable consequence of phylogenic continuity. If morphological and physiological traits are evolutionarily continuous, so, too, are psychological ones.” Rollin deems this idea central to “the foundational theory of modern biology.”

What does all this mean? In essence, we are not emotionally or cognitively distinct, in any fundamental way, from non-human animals. This single fact may be the best objective intellectual justification we can come up with for veganism. When humans and non-human animals are part of a continuum, rather than thought of as qualitatively distinct forms of life, human meat-eaters confront a serious quandary. It becomes incumbent upon them to forge a contemporary justification for carnivorous behavior. Aristotle and Genesis will no longer do.

By undermining the long-held basis of inherent human superiority over non-human animals, the science of evolution obliterated the framework within which thoughtful carnivores long justified their behavior. As it now stands, human meat-eaters, unless they reject modern science, support the killing of non-human animals without the slightest intellectual or ethical grounding. Vegans, by contrast, base their diet in the soundest science.  We must promote Darwinian evolution as the intellectual basis of veganism.