Our Toxic Environment: Our Gift to Future Generations
When I was just a little girl, my family had a wonderful dog named Taffy. She was a beautiful combination of Cocker Spaniel and Dachshund. Not only was she beautiful, but Taffy was smart, too. We had an old-fashioned playhouse that my dad built, and when it came time for Taffy to deliver a litter of seven pups, it seemed only natural for her to adopt the playhouse for a while, as her little doggie maternity ward.
Well, my older sister decided to give that playhouse a good cleaning one day, to keep it nice for Taffy and her puppies—we were all eager to be involved, and played nurse and veterinarian whenever possible. Little did my sister know that in her innocent attempt to sanitize the playhouse, she had combined cleaning products—one contained chlorine bleach, and the other contained ammonia. Next thing you know, poor Taffy began frantically removing her pups from the playhouse. One pup at a time, she carried them with her mouth by the scruff of their necks, to get them as fast as she could into the open-air safety of the backyard.
The combination of these chemicals created a dangerous reaction, and our dog was wise enough to detect it and act swiftly to protect her babies. If only humans could be so wise and so swift to protect ourselves, our babies and our planet. But instead we create more chemicals; often untested in combination with each other. And sadly, the testing that is done is usually done on innocent animals.
It’s hard for me to write about this because I feel so emotional about it. I feel sad that humanity has separated itself so profoundly from the natural world. Sad because we don’t seem to connect our actions with the consequences, and the impact we have upon our beautiful planet. Of course we know now that the harvesting of asbestos harms people; but it still continues. We know that our greenhouse emissions are affecting ozone levels, but we continue to emit. Corporations, politicians and lawyers dance together to bend the rules, hide the results; sweep the suffering under the rug of humanity. The canary in the cage can’t talk. The canary in the cage is dead.
It’s hard to write about because the sense we call common isn’t so common after at all. The sense that tells us the artificial sweeteners that every day turns millions of people’s brains into Swiss cheese just may be connected to the “epidemic” of Alzheimer’s disease. The legal production of high fructose corn syrup that is making our children obese continues to flow into our schools and into our grocery stores. The companies that sell cancer-causing carcinogenic fragrances, body, hair and skin care products are generous enough to “donate” part of YOUR money to cancer research, and they give out little pink ribbons to make us feel better.
The strange science of genetically modified organisms that was tested and approved in three months is now modifying the organism we call humanity. The concept that everything we do affects the entire web of life on earth could not be better illustrated than by this “new-science” of genetically modified foods. It seems that GMO’s cannot be contained, nor can they be controlled; and once planted, they spread throughout our beautiful web. In one remote area in Mexico, people had grown a variety of corn species for centuries. But these farmers began to notice that their corn had changed in taste and did not look the same as it had for hundreds of years. The corn was tested and found to have become genetically modified. Yes, their sacred corn had become infected and altered by a genetically modified species growing upwind. You see, these GMO’s don’t just stay put; nature unwittingly aids them in spreading through windblown pollen, cross-pollenization, and co-mingled seeds. Humans help it spread as it falls off trucks, slips into cracks, and gets distributed illegally in the “black-market.” And it gets worse. Some biotech corporations have developed “terminator seeds” that die after one year so they must be bought annually by farmers. I cannot help but wonder what happens when plants grown from “terminator seeds” cross-pollinate with natural plants. I don’t think we need a scientist to tell us: Termination, that’s what will happen. As said in that movie, “It’s programmed to kill.”
One of the miracles of being human is that we are like a sponge capable of soaking up and absorbing all the beauty of nature and simply being alive on our precious planet. As living beings we are able to absorb the joy and positive energy of those other beings we love and care for, like our people and our animal companions—but even further, we are able to perceive and take in the energies of people around us that we don’t even know—along with toxins and chemicals that we cannot see, smell or taste.
However, the flip side of this miracle is that part of being human and alive at this point in time on our planet is that we also soak up and absorb the negative side of life, too. Like a sponge we take in the toxins that surround us; in the air, the water, in our food, and the negative energies of people and places, often contaminated by negative thinking and violent behaviors.
Over the years, I’ve written at length about the profound connection we have with the earth: bodily, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I’ve written about what I call the Seven Essential Elements for Optimum Health: air, water, nourishment, sleep, movement, cleanliness, and peace. These elements are essential, because without any one of them, we cease to exist. These elements are also sacred, and without the understanding of their sacredness and blessedness, we become disconnected from their importance; we cease to respect them and stop taking care of them. My belief is that the ‘epidemic’ of illness and depression at this time in civilization is a direct result of disconnection—to ourselves, each other, the animals and the earth.
You can donate all you want to help “save the planet…” But I’ll tell you, it’s not the planet that’s going anywhere—it’s her inhabitants, as we weed ourselves out slowly, but surely. As we treat one blessed creation, so we treat all of creation. Our need for connection, therefore, is truly an instinct for survival—of ourselves and for all of creation.
Taffy didn’t create chlorine and ammonia, nor was it she who contaminated the playhouse. She didn’t move her pups out of that playhouse because of a deep affirmation of her responsibility to the planet. Her decision was a result of self-preservation and the love of adult for their young. Sometimes animals are smarter than people. Sometimes in their connection to their natural environment, they move to higher ground, sensing and somehow knowing that the waves are coming. They have an innate rhythm with nature that most of us have forgotten. These are challenging times. We all need to re-think our actions and their consequences—because after all, these will become our gift to future generations.