I’m reflecting on the long haul of recovering from some health problems, especially, in my case, adrenal fatigue. (Yes, I know most conventional MD’s don’t believe it’s a real disorder. I also know that at least 6 or 7 MD’s whom I’ve seen do believe it is, and that I have had many wonky cortisol tests over the years. Try telling me, with my muscle fatigue, low blood pressure, and other problems on and off for 12 years, that adrenal fatigue’s not real, and I will laugh sardonically.)
My question this week has been whether the effort to restore bodily health is worthwhile. This is as true for our ecological problems as for my body. Why not just stay in a sort-of-decently functional state? Is excellent health worth the effort? When I’m feeling fairly well, if not terrifically healthy, sometimes I don’t believe that I need to keep giving consistent attention to nutrition, exercise, rest, and energy work. Or I don’t want to, because it seems more fun to stay up late reading or working, drink some caffeine, or eat some sugar. (True for you, too, I imagine!) We face the same confusion with our ecological situation. In all honesty, saving our climate, halting extinctions, and preventing ecosystems from collapsing is going to take some concerted effort. We humans need to change the way we do things. But right now many world economies are strong, many people are prosperous, and lots of people are living good lives—the party’s good, so why worry about air pollution, future climate change, impoverished people facing environmental injustice, or those pesky unpronounceable toxins they say are in our water and breastmilk?
It’s funny: it takes me some work to believe that restoring my health is worth the effort, but I know without a doubt that restoring ecological health is worth every effort. It’s worth it for you, me, and all of us. Here’s why.
We may think we’re living ‘the good life,’ but really we’re not. Even those of us who are prosperous are suffering too many health problems related to environmental contaminants, from cancer to autoimmune conditions. Those who are not prosperous suffer much more. And all of us who are aware of environmental problems can suffer from grief as we watch beautiful frogs or flowers sink into extinction, meadows be overtaken by parking lots, or children sucking on asthma inhalers. When the natural world we’re a part of is contaminated or suffering, we’re not really living the good life.
In the world I am calling into being, Super Fund sites, mercury-laden rivers, extinction warnings, smog, and climate change are the subject of history books but not the daily news. Diseases caused by toxins in air and water disappear. Plants and animals flourish world-wide, humans live gently on the Earth, and health and relaxation are easy because beauty is everywhere.
In a healed world, you can go jogging anytime without checking the air pollution index first, your lettuce is free of chemical pesticides, and your children can admire a bird or frog without fearing that it’s facing extinction.
It’s true that restoring the natural world and human health is going to take effort. And it’s totally worth it.
If we can together be open to the rich healing available to our own bodies and the natural world when we remedy our environmental problems, the work involved won’t seem difficult. This is the path to the real ‘good life,’ and it’s open to you, me, and everyone.
To the real, deep, and lasting flourishing of all life,
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