By now, it should be apparent to all of us that if life on this planet Earth is to thrive – or even to survive in any recognizable form – we all need to use fewer resources, take up less space and make various changes in the way we live. There is an urgent need for us all to start living more lightly, conserving resources, repairing, re-using, recycling, downshifting from extravagant, wasteful lifestyles to something simpler and a lot more sustainable. Humans are already exceeding the carrying capacity of Earth and altering its natural cycles in potentially catastrophic ways. So either we all learn to live lightly or the game is up. The planet will survive, even though it may well end up as dry and barren as Mars, but we human beings certainly won't and neither will most of the other organisms that currently make up our living world.
However, living lightly is not a chore or an imposition. Far from it. It is in fact a path towards greater delight and day-to-day satisfaction. The more lightly you live, the more closely aligned you are with the natural world around you, the more you will feel this. Many people have reported that living lightly and living more deeply tuned to the rest of Nature – in other words, living green – brings with it a joyous sense of lightness and freedom and a deeper sensual pleasure in being alive, day to day, moment to moment.
You may already be living more lightly on the Earth than many people you know and paying more attention to how the daily choices you make will impact the planet as a whole. If you love this planetary home of ours and you care about its wellbeing and factor that into every single decision you make, every day of your life, you are certainly one of those caring folk who are already living the way we all should live and helping all life to survive.
But that is not all. Beyond simply living green there is yet another step to take. The other most significant work we do is the work we do on ourselves, on our attitudes, on the way we define who we are and who and what Earth might be. For there is an even more radical way to live. And that is to understand, with your entire mind and body and soul, that you are not simply 'on' the planet, you are an intrinsic part of the planet. You already feel a sense of responsibility for our Earth's wellbeing because you really get it that your personal wellbeing and that of the planet are one and the same thing. As above, so below. What is good for the Earth is also good for us. But our Earth is not a chunk of inanimate matter: She is one large living, breathing organism and all Her parts are interconnected and interdependent. You may believe that intellectually, but can you feel it? For when you can truly know and feel yourself not as something separate from the Earth, but as a living part of a greater living organism, a cell in the body of that great living organism that many of us like to call Gaia, you touch into an even deeper level of awareness. And not only to know and understand that but to live your entire life out of that humble knowing, that is deep green living, and that is what this book is about. Deep Green Living is the path of sustainability, spirituality, a sense of permanent and eternal belonging and of deep, abiding joy.