World leaders are spurring political action on many fronts that is increasingly aligned with spiritual and ethical goals as a path to environmental sustainability: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals include objectives inspired by spiritual and ethical tenets such as ending poverty, promoting gender equality, protecting the oceans, ensuring sustainable food production, and protecting forests and biodiversity. To protect indigenous groups that have been harmed by oil drilling and climate change, indigenous pavilions and Rights of Nature tribunals will occur at the COP 21 meetings in Paris in December 2015. The Earth and its vital ecosystems are beginning to receive the respect and legal protection that was previously reserved for humans. For example, in New Zealand earlier this year, a river was legally granted the rights of personhood.
Taking Individual Action Based on Spirituality
An over-dependence on logic, technology, and economics got us into this mess. So it makes heart sense—soul sense—that spirituality, intuition, and reconnecting with nature may be the only way out. Let us consider a new definition of spirituality. Spirituality as our system of deeply-held beliefs that allow us to go beyond politics, beyond economics, beyond societal norms in order to make decisions for the common good of all beings. Beliefs that connect us to the very heart of who we are and what we know is most important. Although it may be difficult, we can rise above materialism and societal norms when we know it is the right thing to do. When we recognize that we are harming each other, that our everyday actions are depleting the resources of Mother Earth who gave us life, that by accepting the modern dream of materialism and consumption we are reducing the possibilities for future generations to thrive and pursue their own dreams …When we accept these truths into our hearts and allow our true nature to respond with full emotion and allow ourselves to feel the longing for a better way of living … Then, at that very moment, our spirituality opens up a new space of clarity within us, where we fully internalize the conviction that each one of us has the universal responsibility to make the world a better place. Then, suddenly, we know what it is that we need to do in the world. How our small, precious set of skills and our unique viewpoint can lend a vital force and power to the vast movement that is occurring in the world at this time.
Every one of us has talents that can make a powerful and positive difference in the world. It may be your beautiful singing voice. It may be your talent for public speaking or your ability to bring together diverse groups of people for a shared goal. Or it may be your knowledge of farming, finance, software development, or manufacturing that can lead to a breakthrough in sustainability. We all have a part to play; it is just a matter of finding your inspiration, and that can only come from the deepest reaches of your heart and soul.