Friday, February 10, 2012

Value: The Environment

All sentient life on the planet uses the environment toward its purposes. We eat. We build. We live. And in doing so, we effect and change the environment, organizing it around our personal and collective visions. Having a thoughtful, aware and strategic approach to the environment; thinking of ourselves as stewards of the environment; working toward keeping the environment clean and healthy, and helping it to heal in areas where damage has been done (regardless of whether that damage is a result of man, animal, weather, or geologic event) is important. The goal is to have the environment not be at risk and for everyone to be able to enjoy it fully and thoughtfully, forever.

When I think about this value two reference points come to mind. The first is the environment around me, my personal space. Where I am, where I live, work and play, where I spend time. The environment that I own and control. The second is the greater environment, the planet, and I suppose, increasingly over time, the Universe.

Our treatment of the space around us, and even how we think of that space, whether its an object to be controlled at whim, a canvas upon which to paint, or a living partner in the great circle of life, is, in general, a direct manifestation of the balance between our feelings and our intelligence.

Almost without exception, everyone of us, on some level, feels discouraged. We feel small. Powerless. This is because when we were children, we were small, and we were often prevented from expressing our power. It was interrupted. We were interrupted. People and events that were larger than we were, exercised power over us, often thoughtlessly. We were not happy about this but there was nothing we could do about it. These experiences have left us with confusions. Places where we cannot see ourselves clearly. Places where we cannot tell that we are powerful and can make a difference.

Many of us feel overwhelmed when we think about the environment. It feels like the effort to create positive change, to keep the planet clean and healthy, or the Universe free from clutter, is going to be too hard. That it will require the cooperation of too many people. People we don’t know, or don’t like, or can’t control. People that we can’t or don’t want to cooperate with.

These are feelings.

To be sure, “the environment” is a big place. Infinitely large. But, as it turns out, we, aside from the spots where we have surrendered, are also infinite, and more than enough to tackle the tasks we have set for ourselves, whatever those tasks may be.

I think of the decision to prioritize the environment as similar to creating a sculpture that celebrates our own life. Living in an “intentional space” reinforces the message that we are in control, that we are powerful. If we are particularly thoughtful and we “design” our personal space keeping our other values and goals in mind, then this space can become an extension of our entire value system, helping us to more effectively live our dreams and reach our goals. Extrapolating out, tending to the larger environment becomes a celebration of all life and history (past and future.)

Personal Space

Whether I am working, playing, resting, creating, hanging out or simply being, I want my personal space to be optimal for that experience.

Clean and orderly
Physically comfortable – w/r/t temprature, lighting, sound, sights, tastes, smells.
Thoughtfully designed
Aesthetically Pleasing
A celebration of “where I have myself”
Energy efficient w. a neutral or positive carbon footprint
A place where I want to be and enjoy being. A place that inspires me and excites me and rejuvenates me.

The greater environment

I want to have a relationship with the natural environment (and to be able to tell that I am connected to it). I want to enjoy nature. I want my life to have as minimal a negative impact on the environment as possible (i.e. small carbon footprint, increased recycling and composting to limit my personal share of what goes into a landfill.) I want to spend time outdoors; to find places where, simply by being in them, I am reminded of the sanctity of all life, and the importance of my personal connection with the planet and the universe. I want to participate in the effort to clean up the environment and to help the planet to heal in areas where it has been damaged.

From the Zone...


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