Lately I've tended to read books about environmental degredation, interspersed with spiritual books. This morning, they came together in my head, and here's the result ...
I firmly believe that we create our own reality. I've written about the power of positive thinking and prayer/meditation before, and still believe this very strongly - and more. I think we create the good and the bad - I won't go to the extent of saying that we create our illnesses to teach us something, but I am open-minded to that theory. Even if you don't believe that we energetically or metaphysically create our lives, I don't think you can argue against the fact that our thoughts do lead to our actions and create the physical world we perceive and live in. Prayer and meditiation can help us create consciously, as can physical actions, but I'd postulate that most people create their worlds at an unconscious or subconscious level.
So how did we go about creating a world that seems to be falling apart around us? I'd say we did it in a sea of unconscious thinking and greed. Somehow we decided that things we could buy - that money - would fulfill us in ways that simply living (living simply) could not. Remember the '80s? ... 'Nuff said?
Wikipedia defines greed thusly:
"Greed (Latin, avaritia), also known as avarice or covetousness, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed (as seen by the church) is applied to a very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of wealth, status, and power. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that greed was "a sin against God, just as all mortal sins, in as much as man condemns things eternal for the sake of temporal things." ...
As defined outside of Christian writings, greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth"
If you think of our world as being a part of God, then you can see where this greed we've created and perpetuate can be seen as a sin against Nature. And you can see where we have forsaken the future of our world for benefits in the present.
This greed has become so much a part of our culture, that we don't even see it anymore. And the more generations brought up in it, the less obvious it becomes. In the past couple of generations in North America, we've lived in incredible prosperity and safety. And our children have become entitled. And they don't have any idea how entitled they have become. In fact, I have no idea of how entitled I am, either. I certainly have far more in my life than I absolutely NEED to survive. But we can't really see it. Our "norm" has gotten so out of hand.
So greed has contributed to and guided where we are going. And through this greed, our world has ended up in a health crisis - that is the Earth itself is sick. Things aren't going so well, the oceans are having a hard time, the ice caps are melting ... you know the drill, I won't go into the nasty details here. But we've created it - there's no longer any doubt about that (see also this article). And we fear what is happening. And here is where my second point comes in. Fearing the worst will help create the worst. But this is only so if you believe that our energies have an effect on the physical world. (I recommend looking into Quantum physics if you don't believe this is possible - check out this TED talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvYYYlgVAao - It's not proof, per se, but it's evidence that we're starting to understand these things a little better).
So here's the shift we need: to stop being greedy, to only use what we need in this world, to give back to the world and to share what we have; And to stop operating out of a fear that the environment is going to collapse, but rather to focus on loving our Earth. The more we love the Earth, the more we'll think about the Earth, and the more we'll act in ways that support the Earth and stop damaging her.
So love the Earth and teach your children how to love her, too. Go out into Nature, contribute to the greater good, not the fear. Later on we'll likely all wonder how anyone could treat this Mother of ours they way we have over the past 30/50/100 years.
Remember: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.