Ask ten people on the street if they believe in God, and—depending on where you live—you could get ten different answers. Ask ten Buddhists if they believe in Amida Buddha, and the responses will likewise vary: “He’s a fairy tale.” “He’s a metaphor.” “I plan to be born in his Pure Land when I die.”

But what if you ask ten people if they believe in Earth?

A few ecology-minded souls might get what you were up to, probably the younger ones. The rest wouldn’t have a clue. A typical answer might go something like this: “Earth is what we stand on. Earth is where we live. It doesn’t matter whether we believe in Earth or not. Earth is simply real.”

Or so we’d say. Actually, if Earth were real to us, the planet wouldn’t be in such a fix. In his 2006 bookCultural Addiction, Albert LaChance wrote: If we were true Materialists, we would care about materials. Our very first concern in all decisions, individual or collective, would be the materials of the planet—the soils, the waters, and the air. The sad fact is that we care little for the materials because we care little for Mater Earth.…The name of the addiction that is killing the Earth is consumerism.

In other words, we believe in our own reality, not the Earth’s. When it comes to the day-to-day business of ordinary life, desire trumps the planet every time.

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