Dear Earth, it’s impossible to save you.On 26th September 2019 by Satya
Today I will be flying to Barcelona. I bought the ticket before I woke up to the climate and ecological emergency. I am going to honour my commitment to the meeting I’m attending, and also, flying feels like having to eat a bloody steak bought before becoming vegan.
After this flight, I vow to never fly again.
Is it really true that I’ll never fly again? I don’t know. I can’t imagine what the future will bring. Maybe someone I love will need me to fly. Maybe they’ll invent a carbon-sucking plane. Maybe I’ll be asked to speak at a super-swanky conference and my resolve will crack.
We make vows because we are inspired by love. Often these vows are impossible. In our Buddhist tradition we chant: “Innumerable are sentient beings, we vow to save them all”. It’s clearly ridiculous. There’s no way we can save even the sentient beings in our own street. How can I save you, dear Earth? How can I save even a fraction of the wondrous beings you support?
In the story of the little girl throwing beached, dying starfish back into the sea, one by one as they lie around her in their thousands, she has made a vow to save them all. That’s why she is there, engaged in that impossible task. When challenged that she isn’t making a difference, she tells us ‘it makes a difference to this one. And this one’. The drying starfish sail through the air and into the sweet water.
Dear Earth, your health is failing. Your creatures are dying. I am full of love for you, and I am inspired to make some vows. I vow not to fly again. I vow to tell the truth about you. I vow to offer my service to the group I think has the best chance of saving you.
Love is a powerful fuel – a million times more concentrated than hate. Hate makes a big impressive show but then quickly sputters out, and it puts up barriers in other people. Seeing love in action opens other people’s hearts.
Dear Earth, many of us are making vows for you. We won’t always get them right or manage to follow them through, and that’s okay. It will make a difference to this piece of your awesome aliveness. And this one.
Love, Satya <3