One of my hopes for this blog is that people would be willing to share excerpts from their personal experience with sustainable living. The beliefs of one individual are often overlooked, but when many people come together to support a common cause, the flames of that cause can begin to spread like never before. This is my hope for humanity, that the desire to nurture the planet would burn within the hearts of the people. My good friend, George Belmonte, shares this same dream. I am honored to have him as the first guest writer for We, The Earth.
By: George Belmonte
When I was in my senior year of high school I took a bible class specifically for evangelizing. Now I’m not a Christian by any stretch of the imagination, but I was given this little chart which I will never forget. It showed each individual as a small circle inside of the larger cultural circles of society, country, language, and culture. What struck me the moment I saw it was a question: What would we be outside of our surrounding cultures?
For the last year since I’ve stopped studying, I’ve travelled across Europe working on organic farms. I’ve been participating in a global organic farming program called WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). And I have fallen in love with it.
The beauty of these experiences to me comes in two parts. First that it really allows a level of deep connection and friendship with people from totally different countries. There are a million differences and problems across the world, and it’s a beautiful thing to be able to make real human connections despite all of that. That is such a deep beautiful thing to me. As human beings we all share a beginning and an end. What we have an opportunity for in this age is to come together as a greater human culture. And to work and sweat growing plants is one of the most natural ways of doing that.
Which brings us to the second beautiful benefit of this opportunity which is spiritual. Working to grow plants is a dialogue with Mother Nature. When you have the dirt in your hands it heals your soul. The ancient Egyptians and the Buddhists both view the process of life as a perfection of the soul. And I have very much come to believe that. There is this dogma now against anything simple, anything that isn’t shiny and yet it is through dirt and plants that our spirits can feel pure. Living sustainably actually feels right on a human level. And it is a horrible mistake that some people don’t see it.
How twisted can our society be that we both defile the earth and wonder why we are less happy than ever. And yet the growing but vocal minority seems to understand. This is the greatest blessing of these experiences. The friends I’ve made and people I’ve met have shown me another side of humanity. It is only by going out of my existing world view that I was able to see a better world. It has also now become impossible for me to accept the mainstream suburban American culture that surrounds me. But I also see an opportunity for a better and more hopeful world, where we can live in harmony with nature. Not as it’s masters but as it’s stewards.
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