We do not have to look far to see that people, how long they exist, keep dumping waste into the environment without thinking about short- and long- term consequences. Wherever we go, we can find visible or invisible traces of human action: CO2 air pollution, oil pollution in oceans, plastic pollution everywhere, radioactive pollution in soil and water, space debris...the list is endless.
As a reaction, for over 80 years, the young generations have been raising their voices and expressing their concerns, fears and requests for change. While one generation of environmental activists grows up becoming part of the society, the new one takes over the old battle. And sadly, the same story goes on for decades without major improvement: environmental problems show steady increase although environmentalists keep returning.
If we assume that at least some of the young people, who once climbed the barricades, have taken social functions that could work against environmental pollution, we could as well assume that if not the improvement, at least the status quo would be reported. That is not so! People keep over-consuming and over-producing, and the loud warnings keep reminding us of what we already know, what we have already heard and for what we once fought.
What has happened with old activists? Has the careless majority swallowed their good intentions? How many of them have compromised own principles in the name of personal success? How many of them have given up, swallowed by frustration, depression and hopelessness? How many of them began to justify every broken principle out of fear, wish to belong, to be accepted or loved? How many of them lead by example and teach their children ecological values? And how many of them are now applauding to the old warnings presented by the new young activists?
Every time environmentalists get louder, exponential growth in pollution is prevented, but pollution alone is not diminished or stopped. This is so because the majority of people value their own comfort too much to be ready for giving it up. In modern societies, people still own more than one car; buy the latest technical equipment, even when the capacity of the old one is more than adequate; they still fly daily for business meetings, though online conferences can do the job perfectly; the packaging industry is flourishing; the garbage is left behind, even when dumpsters are available.
The list of soiling is endless, but still, the real problem lies elsewhere - in the pollution of the minds. To date, most people do not live consciously, but are determined by their Ego, developed habits and the underlying automatism. There is still a lack of a deeper understanding of the global interdependence, of the impact of one's own action and the responsibility each one bears in view of the current environmental situation. The majority still justify actions that jeopardise the health of people and the entire ecosystem and follow the path laid on the expectation that the solution will miraculously be delivered from outside, by others.
The World goes the same way for far too long: compromises, justifications, endless loops of the same words; actions that suggest small steps – the same approach that brought us to where we are now – polluted and exploited Earth, endangered health, extinct species. We keep taking the same intellectual approach, and yet, expecting a different outcome.
The modern world is clearly dominated by one's own intellect, which usually operates through words. This makes us believe that we can solve all problems just through discussions and conversations. But words are empty and only the action can give them a real substance.
The attempts to put the words into action appear with every new generation that tries to shake up inactivity and ignorance that permeates society like a chronic disease. Young eco-activists act with dedication, sheer heart and words that do not seek to be politically correct, likeable and commercial. Sparkling with honesty and boldness that is hard to find in the diplomatic communication style of the adult world.
But, no matter how much energy activists may invest and create, how powerful their messages are, how much approval and jubilation they receive, it will remain as another failed effort to save the future, unless... industrial and urban areas are re-educated; unless… awareness is awakened there where important decisions are made: in business leaders, leading politicians, in law and regulatory books; unless… the transformation starts at the level where the germ of the problem lies: in every single person. And this can not be done by talking.
The arrow cannot hit the tree if we talk about it or if we target the cloud. Achieving the goal is guaranteed only when the right requirements are met. And, just as mindfulness is a pre-requisite for the success of the archer, so is mindful action, based on a deeper understanding of interdependencies, a prerequisite for achieving an environmental goals. And it is the principle of dependency that makes each one of us an archer who is responsible for both: keeping clear focus on the goal and shooting arrows mindfully. But again, that cannot be done if we just keep talking.
Similarly to the archer, who can only be successful if the verbal instructions are followed by actual practice, success in any other area is achievable only when we move beyond the words. The speech must be put into action, and the action should be aimed at a transformation that unites the archer (self) and the target (others) through the arrow (action), transforming the mindless into the mindful.
We must understand that the words and concepts are limitations that alienate us from our own nature, and that even the noblest words only try to grasp the essence and are not the essence itself. Without this knowledge, whenever we talk about environment or ecology, we'll take it as something what is separate from ourselves and exist outside of us. With this, we miss to see the big picture, we break the unity and disconnect from our own nature.
Only when we reconnect with ourselves again we can go beyond the words and act mindfully. Only than can we hear the inherited wake-up call and take the right action, not just for our own well being, but for all existence on this planet, to which we are connected in many ways and without which humanity can not exist.
There is no way around: we need to wake up and live or keep sleeping and die. It is entirely our choice!