The three major tools of awareness that come to mind for me are birdwatching, hiking, and sailing. Each involves the individual’s independent and personal response to Nature, the mind reacting to what Nature presents during the activity. The participant has to have chosen the activity in the first place, and therefore it is humanly impossible to see Nature without thinking about it.
The next three tools, in order of importance, are education, study, and established religion, the first two involving available information and the third involving unbending indoctrination.
Those of us who were born early in the 20th century were and are probably aware that the19th century, the birth of the Industrial Revolution, made a huge difference in what was available to make life choices easier and more available. Those of us who are around now are increasingly aware how fast the choices are changing, and not all for the good. People born after World War II feel less connected to Nature, and therefore independent of Nature. Many do not even know where the food they eat comes from or how it is raised and harvested, or by whom.
Life for many Americans involves reclining on a moral and eithical chaise longue, dangling the grapes of availability and greed upon their lips. But, increasingly, even for them there is change in the air. Nowhere is that change more apparent than in the oil crisis and the part it MUST play in our changing way of life. Like the birds and the mountains and the sea, our choices for the future are becoming less and less free, and Awareness is staring us in the face, giving us a last chance.
Each of us has a responsibility to respond to Nature in our own way and with our own capacities, and each of us has capacities, however small. (As I said in an earlier post, even picking up cigarette butts and paper clips is a gesture of caring for Nature.) Those of us who can afford more must accept that we are also the people who can give up more. For us, the three major tools and the second group of tools are all available. For those who have not had the advantage of the three major tools, the next three, education, study, and religion must become available, hopefully by teachers who have accepted Awareness as a religion.
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