Watching Attenborough’s “Extinction: The Facts” at the weekend, I was heartbroken by the images. The horrifying intensive cattle production, the tragedy of the last two white rhinos and ecosystems being destroyed to grow soya, a cash crop, that would be shipped to another part of the world as animal feed. My heart was broken open. How could be have become so removed from nature as to not care? Why do we not value ecosystems? Why do we feel separate from nature? What happened in our history?
The Burning Times was a period of about three centuries in Europe. Mainly women were killed because they were said to be witches. This was the separation of human from nature; man from woman.
Why did it occur?
There was dramatic climate change around 1460- 1540, it’s referred to as the Little Ice Age. You may have seen paintings in galleries of people skating on the frozen rivers. The growing season shortened, crops failed, 80 years of heavy storms and longer harsher winters. Lakes and rivers froze. Rivers and canals were main trade routes. This resulted in malnutrition and famine which leads to disease and epidemics. People were suffering and this caused social tension.
During the Middle Ages there was a pervasive dogma of Christianity portraying God as separate from nature. God was father sky and nature was mother earth. In searching for a culprit for the starvation the Church began to frame nature as the workings of the Devil.
Rural communities had lived in harmony with nature, working with natural cycles. In 1485 Pope Innocent VII ordered an official “witch hunt” which lasted nearly 300 years (Hutchin & Storm 2019). In communities medicine women held the wisdom of plant medicines and healing. In this new religious patriarchal system, it was dangerous to be a wise and/or independent woman.
What’s the relevance today?
There was a severing of connection to Mother Earth. The dynamics changed from protecting the earth to a conquest of it. When you don’t feel a deep connection to the earth and other sentient beings you don’t value them, they are a commodity to exploit.
We know we are at a critical time, Attenborough made that plainly clear in Extinction: the Facts. In the last 500 years we as a species have ruined our home on planet earth. If we don’t change our behaviour there won’t be a future for our children or grandchildren.
The Burning Times created our disconnection from nature. It is now time to reconnect, to honour the earth, the plants, animals, insects and to live in harmony. Indigenous people have done this for thousands of years, we can also do this. It starts with changing our beliefs and value system. This is individual internal work. Communities are made up of individuals, it starts with our own personal choices.
What are your choices?
Consumerism is driving a lot of the destruction. We can choose to do something different. Let’s not go back to “normal”, it was an unsustainable route. Let’s find a new path, a route to longevity and joy. We don’t need lots of stuff to be happy, we just accumulate useless junk. Everyone knows of people with lots of money that are unhappy. It’s time to stop and think, create a better way of being. Let’s not ruin the planet.
If you want to spend your money invest in your most valuable thing – yourself. You need to be part of the solution.
Heal your life. If you are committed to doing work on yourself join my free workshops. I believe we need to heal our wounds and reconnect to create a better future.
How will you make changes in your lifestyle?
If you don’t what will be the consequences?
If you do how will you feel?