A Manifesto For Holistic Sustainable Living & Action During The Climate Crisis
by C.S. Sherin, September 2019. This was first published in Recipe For A Green Life, chapter 3 “Foundations For A Green Life” 2017, 2018©.
- GREEN LIVING IS RENEWABLE. Ethical practices must be employed when using and managing materials and resources. Materials and resources are renewable when they are easily and naturally replaced through natural cycles in and of nature. These cycles must occur in a time-frame that allows for renewal of the material or resource, so that it may continue to thrive, in balance with its native ecosystem/habitat. Ethical and responsible assessment, standards, and management are essential in maintaining balance and integrity. From another perspective, one’s own life needs to be renewable too. Our daily choices of what to invest our time, energy, skills, resources, and currency into need to be aligned with renewable practices and standards for others and ourselves. At another level, we make our Green lifestyle renewable when we “walk our talk”, and practice holistic self-care. We must care for ourselves responsibly in order to have health and energy for Green actions and values that are transparent and effective. From the personal to collective and global, renewable practices and standards are of primary importance.
- GREEN LIVING IS SUSTAINABLE. Sustainability: A big-picture, long-term, ethics-based approach to: responsible stewardship of resources, pollution levels, and non-renewable resources, practices, and materials. Zero waste concepts, practices of maximum efficiency and reduction or elimination of pollution and waste are all big parts of sustainability, and so is: ethical sourcing, production, and packaging. Successful sustainability greatly reduces or eliminates negative impacts on long-term health and balance of habitats, resources, and communities. Consumerism, exploitation, factory models that objectify life and resources; pollution, accumulative toxicity, and materialism are not sustainable, and haven’t really ever been sustainable. These kinds of root causes take a heavy and destructive toll on all life on Earth. We, who strive in holistic Green living (sustainable living), see this and seek to embody restoration to sustainability in as many ways as possible. We maintain the importance of a long-term, big-picture perspective with personal and collective action, education, and networking/collaborating. This approach to and for sustainability can be applied to every choice made on each day — from the smallest personal decisions to massive operations regionally, nationally and worldwide. From macro to micro, a dedication to sustainability is applicable in multiple ways, and is of primary importance.
- GREEN LIVING IS HOLISTIC. All life is interconnected. We seek to maintain and be good stewards of interconnected balance and health. We seek to protect and preserve health, habitats, resources, communities, diversity, and biodiversity. Green living isn’t one niche. Green living encompasses all of nature–whole communities of living beings, resources, health, ecosystems, and our one essential ocean (and all water sources on and under land). Plastic-free, zero waste, minimalist, and plant-based diets are components of a holistic approach, not independent and separate niches. Holistic traditionally means that the medical, mental health, or spiritual care provided addresses and takes into account — not just the injury, disease or diagnosis — but the person as a whole. Holistic medical care recognizes that everything about a person (background, genetics, family life, work, education, mobility, resources, beliefs, stress levels, effective coping tools in one’s possession, relationships, habits, disabilities, traumas, opportunity, and internal components — mental, emotional, spiritual — are involved as well as physical, and they are all interconnected. A holistic approach, in the traditional context, attempts to ensure that we are not solely identified by or reduced to a diagnosis or label, which can dehumanize us and compartmentalize interrelated issues. Similarly, Green living is best lived holistically, and so aims for Fair Trade principles for all wages and workers — domestic, foreign, and local. A holistic Green life aims to be toxin-free, single-use plastic free, cruelty free, conflict free, minimalist, and waste free. At the same time, we maintain a measured approach that allows room for: imperfection, limitations, and other obstacles that are a part of reality. We commit to a perpetual aim to be ethically renewable and sustainable in daily choices and actions, at home and out in the world. A holistic perspective and awareness maintains a willingness to address barriers of any kind when there is opportunity to do so. A holistic approach to Green Living is of primary importance.
- GREEN LIVING IS ROOTED IN ETHICS AND GRASSROOTS ACTION. We embrace and encourage critical thinking, adaptability, practicality, simplicity, creativity, and grassroots efforts. We live by and promote ethical standards, transparency, walking the talk, critical thinking, and responsible, ongoing research and fact-checking. We depend on adaptability and creativity in dealing with dynamic, continually changing conditions, situations, and needs. Our unique, individual, and grassroots efforts are the opposite of Greenwashing. Grassroots efforts happen in our personal lives and at home first, and grow from there — genuinely and transparently. The human role on Earth is crucial now: we must recognize and ensure equity, respect, and the natural birthrights of: healthy air, water, food, quality of life, diversity, biodiversity for all beings and ecosystems. We have the responsibility and the ability to take necessary steps to ensure ecological health and balance across the various landscapes and places on our planet. This is our integrity: to act as kind and wise stewards for other living beings with whom we share the planet, as well as for ourselves. We hold true that all living beings experience some sort of pain, want to live, survive, and thrive; and have the capacity to enjoy life. We uphold equity and compassionate action as cornerstones of daily practice, action, and decision-making. Ecosystems maintain balance and health with multitudes of integral and interrelated parts that make up the whole, which technology and synthetic means can never truly replace. Currently, humans have endangered and critically threatened that wisdom. We recognize that there is no real ownership over water, air, rain, or sunlight. All living beings share land, air, shelter, health and water together as a birthright. We all have a birthright access to it, free, clean, accessible, and safe. We recognize that creativity, invention, counter-cultural approaches, and grassroots efforts (including various forms of activism) are highly valuable assets and approaches that serve us and our future well.
- WE INVEST IN A GREEN WORLD. Healthy, thriving ecosystems, waterways, biodiversity, and healthy, thriving, diverse communities of people and wildlife are signs of successful Green values in action. This is what we envision and work for: We proactively invest time, energy space, skills, resources, and currency (time, attention, energy, goods, skills, information, monetary systems) into activities, projects, products, businesses, movements, and groups that are also proactively dedicated to Green actions and standards. We aim and strive to make day-to-day habits, choices, and actions conscious and in harmony with health and nature. These choices and actions have a positive focus and outcome — personally, collectively, and environmentally. We invest in the world we want to co-create, and take concrete steps towards it each day, in as many aspects of our lives as possible. We invest in this resolution for wellness, responsible action, and kindness.
- WE DIVEST FROM WHAT ISN’T GREEN. We aim and strive to remove personal contributions of support (all forms) from projects, products, businesses, institutions, other organizations, leaders, and politicians that fund or are funded by: destructive, toxic, corrupt, exploitative, dangerous, cruel, irresponsible, and otherwise harmful actions and practices — which are a threat to and endanger health of resources, communities, species, survival, and the ability for future generations (of humans and countless other species) to survive and be well. Anyone who puts profit, violence, cruelty, corruption, and abuse of power before health, basic needs/rights, and respect for all life and future goes against the wisdom and balance of Nature, health, and Green living values. We choose to divest from these sources whenever possible. Divesting means we remove the support of our currencies (time, skills, energy, attention, data, presence, monetary systems, investments, sponsorship, patronage, platform, etc) from the organization, corporation, business, group, or product.
- GREEN LIVING SEEKS MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL, HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS. Biologically defined relationships on Earth have been identified in general as: symbiotic, parasitic, and predatory. A Green life seeks to develop and maintain symbiotic relationships that are mutual or commensal. A symbiotic relationship is a physical or close and long-term interaction between species (we will add, within species as well). Symbiotic mutualism is a relationship where both beings benefit. Symbiotic commensalism is a relationship where one being benefits and the other being is unharmed. Within a Green lifestyle, we choose to build relationships between each other, and between species, and even towards ecosystems, that have mutual benefit and at least cause no harm. A Green life refuses to engage in parasitic relationships and strives to refuse predatory relationships as much as possible, and within reason. Parasitic relationships cause suffering and harm. Predatory relationships cause suffering and harm. Since humans have choice, there is no good reason to inflict harm through either parasitic or predatory relationships. We do understand that a being who eats a plant is also a predator to that living, growing organism. Plants, like other living beings have their own communication system and ability to avoid harm, when possible. The reality of life and living are intrinsically tied to a certain level of predatory relationship, for the sole reason of survival through satisfying hunger. For that reason, when predatory relationships are necessary in order to survive, every measure of kindness and respect must be shown for that food-source/being. Cruelty and unnecessary suffering is not acceptable. Predatory behavior between humans is not acceptable in a Green life. Predatory behavior as a leisure activity by humans upon other species is not acceptable in a Green life, nor is it ethical.
- GREEN LIVING EMBRACES THE FOLLOWING CORE STATEMENTS
There is no life without healthy water (fresh and ocean). There is no life without healthy air. We must ensure ongoing protection of natural resources for all, and for future generations. We must set unprecedented global standards and approaches that demonstrate the utmost in responsibility to and for all water, soil, and air. We must ensure long-term protection, conservation, and preservation of health and balance on Earth for the survival of all remaining species, resources, living beings present here with us.
Life is a gift. Treat all life with respect, and ensure basic rights for all living beings, based on equity and reasonable kindness. Our systems, especially those geared for corrections and healing, must be structured to support the natural tendency towards wellness — with holistic, organic, restorative, kind, affordable, inclusive, and preventative approaches.
We can live gently and lightly on mother Earth. We put zero waste approaches to action, such as: fix, renew, restore, regenerate, re-purpose, reuse, up-cycle, invent, trade, amend, share, gift, preserve, simplify, and conserve for health, balance, and future generations.
We value creativity, adaptability, and diversity. Individual, unique and contrasting approaches, small groups, and adaptability in times of ongoing change are all strengths of a grassroots movement.
Fair Trade principles need to be applied to all work and wage situations — foreign, domestic, and local.
Cruelty-free and kind principles need to be applied to all relationships and care for other living beings, particularly related to industry and farming (on land and in water).
Commerce, ingredients, products, and practices need to be kind, healthy, ethical, renewable, and sustainable to environment, people, and wildlife.
Everyone’s time, energy, space, quality of life, and personal resources are equal in importance at a fundamental level. Every living being has a birthright to healthy, free, accessible water, air, and appropriate shelter, as needed.
8 Principles For Holistic Green Living by CS Sherin, Recipe For A Green Life is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.