Even during the warm summer months, most of us spend our days behind closed windows and doors. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend 90 percent of our time inside, where air quality can actually be worse than it is outside. Yet there’s a simple solution—houseplants—that can help combat allergies, respiratory conditions, and symptoms of sick building syndrome.
Directed by Mark Kitchell
In Marin County, California, no one is surprised that environmental awareness is taught to preschoolers. But even the most avid hybrid-driving, kitchen-scrap-composting, hemp-cloth-wearing diehard would be surprised that, a mere stone’s throw away, it is also being taught behind the grim walls of one the country’s most famous prisons.
Directed by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee and Gayatri Roshan
In one day, Alexis Williams made two men cry.
It was the autumn of 2010, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was considering new regulations for coal ash—a toxic waste produced by coal-burning plants. Williams, a poised and passionate 26-year-old, and the campaign organizer for the faith-based environmental group Restoring Eden, had spent the summer canvassing the Midwest’s coal belt in support of regulations.
On the morning of the EPA hearings in Chicago, Restoring Eden co-hosted a prayer breakfast. As the faithful sipped their coffee, Williams reminded them that it was OK to hate the sin of coal ash pollution, but not the polluters. “They aren’t our enemies,” she said. “We need to remember to love them throughout the day.”
Later, a conservative-looking gentleman approached Williams. His wife had dragged him down from Wisconsin, he said. She was the tree-hugger—not him. But Williams’s rallying cry brought tears to his eyes. He’d never heard an environmentalist talk about love before.
Food is the force that sustains us and the starch that binds a community — all life shares in the sacrament of being. Humans have known this for millennia, yet we seem to have lost touch with this simple truth. Why have we given away the power to sustain our own lives? Why is the vast majority of our food supply controlled by multi-national corporations, most of which are dependent upon industrial fertilizers and pesticides?
Earth Day 2012 was just a few weeks ago, and I’ve been thinking about what that means to us now, as yogis and as human beings.
Humans are a funny species: We love to shout “Save the Planet!” as if we were not one of the species needing saving. It makes me think of deep sea shrimp organizing to save the oceans.
Perhaps it’s all the fault of the Bible. God did say, after all:
In 1965, a marine biologist named Roger Payne found himself relaxing on the stern deck of a sailboat on the expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Headphones snugly in place, he recorded the sounds of humpback whales via a hydrophone that hung more than 100 feet into the depths below. An accomplished cellist, Dr. Payne had been interested in music from earliest childhood. He had listened to these whale calls hundreds of times before, but that evening he heard something different.