Currently, our planet’s health is not good and it is declining day by day.
The situation seems bleak and trends are alarming, but this information is a call to action, inviting us to change how we live and organize ourselves on Planet Earth.
As each individual wakes up to the threat, the preciousness of life on earth and the importance of other beings, we collectively become more aware, and therefore more conscious.
Could this increase in consciousness drive a change in values that could lead to a new era of peace and global cooperation?
The dominant ideology currently orientating society is neoliberalism.
This paradigm makes a lot of assumptions about what it means to be human that many people may be surprised at.
Neoliberalism assumes that humans are inherently competitive: that nature and animals are resources to be used and that economic growth is how society improves and how people become happier.
Many critics point to this voracious competition and expansion as the fundamental failing of the capitalist economy.
A contrasting viewpoint is that human’s underlying nature is one of cooperation: that we are all part of an interconnected web of life, and that a focus on material wealth can be detrimental to our well being.
These values have a spiritual foundation that may be more important today than ever.
The Dalai Lama sees practising compassion as vital: “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
Three motivations to becoming vegan relate to what we care for - health (ourselves), animal welfare (other beings), the environment (the whole planet and all earthlings).
Deep ecologists argue that we can only sustain life, as we know it, on this planet by widening our circle of care so that it includes other beings. More than this, deep ecologists see all life as connected.
For example, academic and and environmental activist David Suzuki said: "What we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves."
Our starting point may be concern for the planet, but we end up evolving our sense of who we are and how we relate to the rest of the universe.
Becoming better informed, more conscious and taking action with others to care for our planet is a transformative journey. We live in scary times, but if we take action together we could end up in a wonderful new place.
The shifts in attitude, compassion, and awareness could create much more caring societies in which we cooperate to increase wellbeing rather than compete to increase wealth.
Crisis can be an opportunity. The environmental crisis presents humanity with a significant novel challenge. It can be overcome, but only through global cooperation and a profound change of values.
To Albert Einstein, it was clear this conscious evolution was based upon our relationship with other beings.
He once said: "A human being is part of the whole, called by us, universe… We experience ourselves, our thoughts, and feelings as something separate from the rest.
"A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
"The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self.
"We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.”
A sustainable ecological age beckons to us from the future. Our journey is one of self-transformation.
So, to respond to the environmental crisis - go vegan - and embrace an enhanced you.
Your separation from the rest of the universe is an illusion.