Wednesday, 8 May 2013

A blade of grass

Giles Crosse

Often it seems that humans and the environment are at odds, constantly battling for supremacy.

However, in actual fact there is a great deal of shared experience that bonds and illustrates the links all elements on this planet share.

The tiniest blade of grass, the hugest tree, a microscopic organism, a human being. All of these share a common functionality. All have a tipping point, the point at which, for whatever reason, balance is broken and spins out of control with potentially disastrous consequences.

Such equilibrium might be shattered by the tiniest ant, bringing to ground the most ancient hardwood in the Amazon rainforest. It might be the tiniest drop of rain, that crushes a blade of grass to the ground.

In the human world, it might be the final cigarette that leads to cancer. The final meal that leads to obesity, the final emotion that leads to a breakdown or triggers the onset of love, or conversely hatred.

If our world does rest on these subtle, tiny nuances that govern life and death, time and fate, balance and imbalance, then it may be that the word sustainability becomes even more meaningful.

What does it mean to live sustainably? Do we mean a sustainable life in terms of consumption? In terms of what we drink, eat, buy, in terms of how sustainable our emotions are? In terms of how much we give or take, in the measure of our kindness or selfishness?

Who or what governs these choices, and how do we know which are the right ones?

The natural world seems capable, left unhindered, of creating its own balance. Along this path there are winners and losers, extinctions and events, chaos, disorder and tragedy underlying the surface. But these are the elements that combine to create a holistic way forwards.

Perhaps mirroring this in our own lives could lead to a more sustainable way of living in many senses; personal, ethical, a learned ability to neither cling too tight to fleeting dreams of happiness nor cast away futures for lack of patience or resolve. To neither try too hard nor to give up.

Balance maintains the planet around us. Perhaps correctly used, it can maintain us too.

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