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A Shift in Perspective: Pachamama Alliance

Every day, I get upset about Climate Change. Some days I’m angry that “no one is paying attention”. Sometimes it’s despair that we’re too late to save the planet. You see, I do this gardening thing to change the world one garden at a time, but it’s not enough. So I feel helpless. This weekend, I did something about it. I attended the Pachamama Alliance symposium called Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream.

Pachamama has many meanings, but for brevity’s sake it is a term used by indigenous peoples for Mother Earth. The Pachamama Alliance “integrate[s] indigenous wisdom with modern knowledge to support personal, and collective, transformation that is the catalyst to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet.” Yea, let’s do that.

Sounds like a great idea. Let’s do this together rather than alone.

How did we get here?

First we looked at the ugly stuff, at where we are: We have created a world with more than 400 dead zones, 80% deforestation, and half the population living on less than $2.50 per day. Half of all species may be extinct in less than 50 years. And “there is a great loneliness of spirit today”, as the elders say. We live surrounded by others just like us, but we feel all alone.

“Humans didn’t intend to create these results we’re facing now.” These words came from a video on the screen in front of me. The problem stems from our perception. “We perceive a radical separation between the human and the natural world.” If we look at our unexamined assumptions we start to see how these assumptions separate us:

Pachamama Alliance assumptions
We all have them. It’s part of being human.

Our New Story – a new perspective

The truth is we all love this planet. We love visiting nature, we love clean water, clean air, and the beauty nature provides. Even people who don’t like being outdoors enjoy looking through the window at it. “By recognizing the love we all have for this planet, we can join together to fix it.”

Scientifically speaking, every living thing on this planet came from the same speck of cosmic dust. We are all one. All species are inter-connected. Yet our #1 assumption is that we are separate. The video tells me, “We are profoundly mistaken about our separateness.”

If we shift our perspective, if we live by this truth, we treat people and our planet with respect. It starts here.

My take-aways from the symposium:

  • We are not alone in how we feel.
  • We all care.
  • We are one.
  • Community is vital.

My goal is to stop looking at people as if they don’t care, and to build a community that does. This is the Gardenerd Community and you are all part of it. I’ll leave you with this powerful quote from George Bernard Shaw:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.


George Bernard Shaw

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Catherine

    This sounds incredible!

    1. Christy

      They are doing another one in Long Beach on a boat tomorrow:

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