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American lifestyle, environmental issues articles
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  American lifestyle, environmental issues articles

Environmental Issues Articles ~ American Life Style



Discovering the Shaman Healer Within
Discovering the Shaman Healer Within

Aho! Take a journey and an exploration into the worlds and the way of the Shaman. Come and sit down before the fire with the Shaman as you calm your mind and open your heart to the teachings of the Elders. As you walk the path of this course, you will re-member many skills, talents, places and people from your past that you have forgotten. Welcome to the reconnection to your purpose as healer. Let the Shaman Elder take the talking stick and listen to his words.

Learn More Now! [Audio Message by the author]



The Greatest Threat to Global Environment:  The American Life Style


By Judy Morgan

The single greatest threat to the global environment is the American life-style. While constituting 4.5% of the earth's population, United States citizens consume 25% of the earth's annual oil production. Per capita, we are far ahead of any other country in waste produced, toxic chemicals emitted into the air, raw materials consumed. And we are actively exporting this life-style. United States business interests and entertainment media are encouraging people everywhere in the world to aspire to the United States high-consumption model of the "good life." In trade relations we are pressuring other countries to adopt an American-style economy reliant on aggressive competition, and aggressive marketing of consumer goods, with weakened labor protections and reduced job stability.

While the explosion in consumer goods has had many benefits in terms of creature comforts, entertainment, and some aspects of health and safety, it has also been associated with increasing inequality between the "haves" and the "have-nots", and increased personal stress resulting from a more competitive workplace and greater job insecurity. There is also a reduced sense of community as people have less time and energy to connect deeply with those beyond their immediate family.

Environmentally, this consumption-oriented life-style is resulting in global warming, destruction of rainforests, loss of wildlife habitat and species, dispersion of toxic chemicals in small but cumulatively significant amounts throughout our environment.

Al Gore, in his book "Earth in the Balance," wrote that the compulsive materialism that permeates United States society stems from the lack of spiritual groundedness and authentic community. There is a constant pull to focus on acquiring things, rather than connecting in a spiritually meaningful way with others in our community. He concluded, "There is little doubt that the way we currently relate to the environment is wildly inappropriate. But in order to change, we have to address some fundamental questions about our purpose in life, our capacity to direct the powerful inner forces that have created this crisis, and who we are. These questions… are not for the mind or the body but the spirit."

Where will the needed leadership come from? It is unlikely that politicians or the entertainment media will assume a strong leadership role - since they are powerfully affected by oil, auto and other industries that benefit from the present life-style. It will have to happen on a local level, a community level with people like you and me.

What would it mean to make a commitment to addressing this challenge?

It would mean making a commitment to living in a more ecologically conscious way, and deepening our sense of spirituality and community. It would mean evolving a vision of an American life-style that is high in quality and depth of relationships, expressive of spiritual values of caring and compassion, minimally destructive to the environment, while also being enjoyable and fun.

Following are some steps that can be taken to move in this direction.

1) Get informed and help inform others about the consequences of the current American life-style. Develop a shared understanding of how to live more ecologically on an individual basis - reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste, avoiding use of toxic chemicals or products that involve toxic chemicals in their creation, using products from sustainable resources where possible, adopting a vegetarian-oriented diet.

There are a huge array of sources of information on the state of the environment and ecological solutions. Good places to start are websites www.newdream.org and www.ucsusa.org. You can also seek out e-learning education on the environment.

2) Be active in your own healing. Find a sense of inner peace so that you don't desire fashionable but environmentally harmful consumer goods. In his book The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle says, "The pollution of the planet is only an outward reflection of an inner psychic pollution: millions of unconscious individuals not taking responsibility for their inner space... As within, so without: If humans clear inner pollution, then they will also cease to create outer pollution."

3) Build a shared vision and specific projects in your community around ecological awareness - some examples:
  • Install solar energy sources in places of worship, community buildings, etc.
  • Organize periodic vegetarian potlucks meals
  • Create a vegetarian recipe cookbook
  • Find ways to reduce our use of disposable goods
  • Encourage carpools and biking
  • Create an earth-nature meditation center, which could simply be a set of benches surrounded by beautiful plantings or large stones.
4) Become involved in supporting legislation that would reduce global environmental damage and strengthen environmental as well as human rights protections. Websites such as www.sierraclub.org and www.nrdc.org can provide excellent updates on important pending legislation.

If we see our relationship with nature as sacred - and certainly most of the world's religions would hold that this is so - then we have a responsibility every day to live in light of that understanding. If we use less of the earth's resources, and are more careful with those we do use, it does not necessarily have to be experienced as a sacrifice. Rather, it is an opening to a deeper sense of holiness and meaningfulness in our everyday life, to a life-style that yields riches far beyond those depicted in advertisements that bombard us daily. It's a life-style that also yields a more just and equitable global economy and a more peaceful world. It's hard to imagine a better bargain than that.


Judy Morgan worked with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection for 15 years. During this time, she created the New Jersey Water Watch program, involving communities in monitoring and protecting local waterways. She was an active volunteer for the Sierra Club and created the New Jersey Wastebuster Program within the Sierra Club in 1993. She also served as a Sierra Club staff member providing public environmental education on the national air standards in 1998. She has published a variety of articles and an earth-based liturgy for Fellowship in Prayer magazine.


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Copyright © Judy Morgan. All rights reserved.