The reality is that in much of industrialized societies, we are completely addicted to comfort. We are a society of addicts. When confronted with this addiction, we react just like addicts with denial, accusations of others, and often times clinging even more to our addictive behaviors.
-Julia Butterfly Hill

In our current issue, Clark Strand continues his Green Bodhisattva series with, “Trees, Butterflies, and the Buddhist Moral Life.” In this series, Strand advocates a 12-step approach similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous for addressing our planetary ecological crisis—citing that as a species we are sick, “addicted to everything from petroleum products to that ubiquitous soporific we call ‘media.'” In his recent offering he discusses Step 4 on the Green Bodhisattva path:

Step Four of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous reads: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” Those who recover in A.A., or one of the many other Twelve-Step programs it has inspired, undertake a process of rigorous moral accounting whereby they review all of their relationships from childhood to the present day in order to determine where they have fallen short in their behavior. Later, they will confess these shortcomings to their Higher Power, to themselves, and to another human being, and begin the lengthy but ultimately liberating process of setting things right again.

Those seeking to recover from a culture addicted to material excess must do the same. Only, when it comes to Step Eight—“Made a list of all those persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all”—we extend the rights of personhood to other species, and even to those insentient processes that support the life of the planet. Animals are people, too. As are plants. And water. And soil. This is the fundamental insight at the heart of all eco-spiritual work. But to get that insight, we have to get with the big picture.

Read the whole piece here.

Green Koans by Clark Strand

Previous Green Bodhisattva articles:

Green Bodhisattva: Path to Recovery
Green Bodhisattva: Restored to Sanity
Green Bodhisattva: Care of the Earth


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