Deepak Chapra has written that Evil will be the Number One issue in spirituality of the 21st century.* We consider homicide evil; and genocide very evil; ecocide is most evil for it signals the death of nature as we know it, the extinction of millions of species, our own among them, the end of humanity as we know it with all its diversity and beauty and faltering attempts to celebrate life and pass practices on to our children to do the same.
Today we are witnessing one of the worst moments of ecocide ever. The rainforest of Brazil, which not only contains untold special species of birds, insects, wildlife, plants, and medicines, but which accounts for 20% of the planet’s oxygen output and is busy cleansing excessive CO2 for the world, is burning like never before. Since January 75 thousand fires have burned in the forest representing an 85% increase over last year, and in the last two years the square acreage of miles subject to fires has doubled. In July alone this year an area one half the size of Rhode Island has burned.* A million indigenous and other dwellers in the rain forest are affected and cases of pneumonia and respiratory emergencies have tripled. In addition to all the melting of glaciers in Greenland, Iceland and the world over, now this. It takes your breath away—quite literally. And words.
It seems that most of the fires in the Amazon were deliberately set by ranchers wanting to denude the forest to set up cattle ranches to make fast bucks. Brazil’s president Bolsonaro, who is a climate change denier, ran on a platform of replacing the forest with ranches and now complains that NGO’s that have been dedicated to preserving the Amazon for decades are “making him look bad” by starting these forest fires. The two largest economies in North America and South America can now boast presidents and their political parties in denial about climate change. These fires in the Amazon will only hasten the warming of the planet.
What do we do? In these Daily Meditations we have been sharing from the start the critical role of developing our capacities as mystics and prophets—lovers and defenders–of Mother Earth. We have been examining how to make those shifts in human consciousness that might make a profound difference in how we live on the planet. We will look at remedies in tomorrow’s DM.
See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society
Banner image: “Driftwood in Desert” Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash
We invite you, as you enter into the deeper contemplation below, to listen to the sounds of the Brazilian rainforest on the following video, and to connect with the creatures making these sounds.
For Deeper Contemplation
We might begin our response to the current news of the Amazon on Fire with a silent meditation that guides us into the darkness, into the suffering and pain so many creatures are experiencing now in the Amazon and beyond. Be with the Darkness. Be still in the Via Negativa. And journey into your own darkness, sadness, grief, loss. Be in touch with your deepest feelings, no matter how dark. What do you perceive? Journal, draw, or otherwise record your experience.
Fox makes the point that religion has so often oversold the concept of “sin” that it has left us without language or power to combat evil. Through comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them.