”Repression of the ecological unconscious is the deepest root of many of the psychological, social, ecological, spiritual, and physical problems in contemporary industrial society. Ecocidal policies do not only attack and devastate ‘external’ nature but our ‘internal’ natures as well. This is why deep ecology is about ‘Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind’‘ – Theodore Roszak
Istak, a Shiwiar medicine man, teaching us about the plants, Amazon rainforest Ecuador, August 2012. Copyright Carlita Shaw
Indigenous people have always had a natural understanding of our connection to the Earth and a deep respect for Nature. However, we have distanced ourselves from Nature through the rise and development of technology and industry in western civilization. Eco-psychology is an important aspect of deep ecology, which was originally founded much earlier, some say in the 1970s with the work of Arne Naess. However, if we look at the many indigenous cultures, their stories and philosophies are expressions of deep ecology, they are connected profoundly with the subtle aspects of nature and the cosmos.
John Muir at Yosemite. Yosemite Online.
The emergence of environmental conservation and eco – psychology is the closest we have in western civilization to understanding the importance of our connection with nature. Though the concepts of environmental conservation and importance of ecology can be seen to have emerged from earlier, as in the 1800s, when John Muir, the American naturalist, writer and conservationist, founded the Sierra Club and Yosemite National Park. He saw even then, the encroaching dangers of industrialisation on the natural environment. The 1960s were an important contribution to the evolution of these concepts, because the development of peace and social justice, gave strength to the environmental movement and the work of people like Rachel Carson and her book ‘The Silent Spring’ which was published in 1962, is a key book that gave rise to principles in deep ecology. It was one of the first books to educate the public on the concepts of ecosystems and how they connect us to our environment in terms of human health and environmental health, those being one and the same thing. It was one of the most profound books on my university reading list and perhaps that is why it has partly inspired the title of this book.
Whatever toxins we release into the environment inevitably affect species, ecosystems and eventually come back to us as health problems through ecological cycles. When we pollute the environment, what we do to the environment, in turn affects us, as we are our environment, yet the majority of people wish to ignore this important reality.
Deep ecological principles have had some strong criticism in the past, including that of being a movement which hates humanity. That is just one opinion. A fresh perspective is needed. Quantum science is a fast developing field connected to deep ecology, in the sense that humans are still evolving mentally and on a consciousness level rather than biologically. It is even possible that our cell biology can still change or be affected by a shift in consciousness.
Even today, there are countless cases of people who have cured themselves of fatal illnesses, disease or cancerous tumours by working through previous misconceptions about themselves and were able to heal and cure themselves, are they tapping into the quantum field for healing? We have not stopped evolving, what we are doing to our environment, we are doing to ourselves, we need to respond to this with a shift in our human understanding that the environmental crisis is an indication that human consciousness has to change.
We could see this present time as a wake-up call and a chance to make changes internally and externally, in terms of learning from our mistakes, rather than being hateful to humanity. It is a true and popular analogy among environmentalists that we are like a cancer on earth at the moment; though with all illness and diseases, it is usually an indication that we need to re-evaluate how we live our lives on this planet. So just like when we get sick we need to change how we nourish ourselves internally, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically, we must do the same and change the way in which we live with the Earth.
We can seize this time as an opportunity to review our relationship with what we previously saw as a separate environment, and nurture a better understanding, respect and love of ourselves in terms of birthing a new a perspective on ecology at a spiritual level.
Many of us feel anger and grief with the rapid environmental destruction that human greed is causing; when channelled optimally, we can use that anger and grief in a constructive way, to motivate ourselves to create change and take action. By embracing a more sustainable and ecological lifestyle, we create self-empowerment, confidence, nurturing inner nourishment and a connection with nature that gives us inner peace.
The scientist James Lovelock used to work for NASA and during the 1960s, he started working on the Gaia Hypothesis, this showed scientifically and ecologically that Earth is an organism made up of ecological units that act synchronistically to create this Planet-sized super-organism. Human consciousness is an ecological issue because we need to evolve human consciousness to understand that all life on Earth has a consciousness, an energy that flows through all biological forms, that is just as powerful as our own and we all share this connection, it doesn’t matter how complex or simple the life forms appear, they all share the same energy that flows through them, which I refer to as consciousness.
Dr. Ashok Khosla, president of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) has taken this study a step further to bring people’s attention to show that all life forms have some level of consciousness and how deeply intrinsically human consciousness affects all life on this planet. He gave a demonstration to show this with an electromagnetic experiment on plants.
How does the electro-magnetic plant device work? Based upon a device originally developed by Volney Mathison back in the 1940’s, it works by using a Wheatstone bridge, which is an ultra-sensitive circuit that can detect the slightest change of electrical resistance in the plants and translate them through sounds or lights also connected to the circuit. These electrical signals may be one millionth of a volt.
All living organisms, whether mammals, amphibians, or plants, have subtle electrical signals running through them. In humans, the brain communicates through the nervous system to control organs, our brains, limbs and sight, using weak electrical charges. As recounted by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird in their 1973 book ”The Secret Life of Plants”, several different scientists had conducted such experiments. You connect two receivers of the circuit, one to the root of the plant and the second to a leaf. They then connect the meter to a trigger, a voltage-controlled synthesiser or similar device. The change in the plant’s electrical resistance controls the pitch, volume and filtering if the measurements are translated through sound synthesis, as the plant responds to what it is sensing in its external environment and what is happening around it.
Research has found that plants react to their surroundings and they also communicate with one another. Light, water, sound, and even emotional energy within a room that a plant is placed in, all cause significant alterations to the plant’s electrical current. As Dr Ashok Khosla, explains that each plant also has its own unique sound signature, or its own ‘song’. Now that people are beginning to understand how plants read and respond to their environment, we begin to understand that plants have a kind of consciousness as they even react to what we are going to do before we do it, or to our emotions, many experiments have shown this.
Norman Lederman was the true pioneer of reading plants that way and he put on the world’s first live plant concert in quadraphonic sound, at the Kreeger Music Building’s, McDonald Recital Hall back on April 17th, 1974.
Suzanne Simard, forest ecologist at the University of British Columbia has been studying old trees in forest ecosystems and how they communicate with other trees through root systems. These ‘Grandmother’ trees transport nutrients through root systems, to younger trees when they need it. How does an older tree know when a younger tree needs these nutrients? It is a complex system of chemical communication through their roots and a giant network of fungi, some of which are mycorrhizal fungi that have a symbiotic relationship with these trees. The whole of the forest is connected by this network of fungal threads and Simard’s research reveals that when a Grandmother Tree is cut down, the survival rate of the younger members of the forest is diminished.
Standing under a great grandmother Ceiba tree of the Amazon rainforest, they can live up to several thousand years, a tree that is essential in supporting the younger trees in the forest. Copyright Carlita Shaw
This interactive communicating community of trees, are not just using chemical signals, but also an awareness of consciousness, of sensing in their way, what is going on in their external environment, an environment to which they are deeply connected both biologically and on sensory levels which we are still trying to understand. This is even more reason why it is important to preserve ancient trees in forest ecosystems.
There is some pioneering research being done with plant consciousness which will eventually help us advance our own level and understanding of the field of consciousness and our connectivity to all living beings, especially if we begin to realise that despite plants being seen as lower or simple life forms, they are in fact very complex and respond to our thoughts and feelings as they respond to other plants and animals around them. If plants display this level of consciousness, we have not only greatly misunderstood plants, but have even more so deeply misunderstood animal intelligence, sentience and consciousness and our cruel exploitation and abuse of animals is even more unjustifiable.
The Heart Math Institute has shown how the human heart and brain act as radio transmitters and receivers affecting and being affected by other energy fields. We emit a large toroidal energy field generated from our hearts beating and we are affected by Electromagnetic Energy of the synthetic and organic kind, everything is made up of electromagnetic energy and everything generates an electromagnetic pulse and field. We are even affected by synthetic electromagnetic energy, given out by mobile phone towers and satellite systems, it has been shown in recent scientific studies that the cells of plants and trees are negatively affected by signals from mobile phones and phone towers. The electromagnetic waves of present communication and man-made sonar systems are affecting wildlife in many detrimental ways, including the navigational abilities of whales, dolphins, birds and bees which could explain why they have been dying in significant numbers due to this form of electromagnetic vibrational and noise pollution.
The Heart is 100,000 times stronger electrically and 5,000 times stronger magnetically than that of the Brain. For public domain by the HeartMath Institute.
When we look at how everything that is alive also has an intelligent consciousness flowing through it, this reminds us of quantum physics again, because we are seeing that when we observe a particle, it behaves differently, that means that either the particle itself is displaying some form of consciousness, being conscious that we are observing it or our very observation of it changes its behaviour. Ancient indigenous concepts teach us that we can begin to heal the more fundamental alienation, between our lost connection with the natural environment and our ancient tribal knowledge. We as humans can re-establish this relationship with nature and the cosmos as one being and not separate entities. That is a true form of ecological spiritual rebirth that indigenous people understand as cosmo-vision which can also be facilitated and augmented by entheogen plant medicine.
Cosmovision artist Anderson Debernardi, Sinfonia Shamanica, 2010, oil on canvas, 71 x 91 cm, http://www.debernardivision.com
Deep Ecology is a blend of certain ancient indigenous concepts with modern concepts. We are part of the Earth’s consciousness and she is part of the sacred feminine and masculine, the deeper fabric of our consciousness in the web all life that flows through all beings. The corporatisation of the political world has become unethical and careless, ignoring its responsibility to protect the planet. Unconsciously, some of us take on this violence imposed on the Earth, internalizing it. Those of us who are aware of this, are carrying the burden of responsibility, grief, guilt and loss, especially when we see ecocide unfolding on a daily basis with destruction of key ecosystems such as our forests and oceans.
At the other extreme, some of us have become so desensitized to this that the easiest option is denial. We need to find ways to understand why we are feeling powerless to affect the overwhelming crisis in which we are living.
We each have a responsibility to expand our understanding of ourselves in relation to nature in the modern world, but with acceptance of the ancient indigenous beliefs, that all life is sacred and intrinsically affected by our actions, and our thoughts. Only then will we evolve and start living more ecologically on the Earth. Implementing sustainability and human sovereignty isn’t just a human right, it’s a necessity, as well as a necessary way for Earth’s resources to be managed within Nature’s natural carrying capacity.
Many experts around the world are working towards reclaiming lost and ancient indigenous knowledge. Through transformation power of these concepts and how reclaiming the spiritual ecology with our connection with Gaia, Pacha Mama, Madre Tierra, Mother Earth and Cosmos are a step towards creating and mapping a new more harmonious world and reality. Some ways in which to connect with Nature on a deeper level, are to work with the plant teachers through ancient medicinal entheogens with a highly experienced Indigenous Shaman. Other ways to reconnect with Nature is simply being in Nature as much as one possibly can.