In 2013, Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a book about the importance of humanity recognizing our connection to the Earth and to each other. In this excerpt, he gently reminds us to listen to the bells of mindfulness that ring every day to wake us up to our dire global situation. When we are awake, we can use our power to decide our destiny. Are you awake and walking mindfully on Mother Earth?
By Thich Nhat Hanh
The bells of mindfulness are sounding. All over the earth we are experiencing floods, droughts and massive wildfires. Sea ice is melting in the Arctic and hurricanes and heat waves are killing thousands. Before us are forests are disappearing and the deserts are growing. We are becoming extinct every day while ignoring the ringing bells.
All of us know that our beautiful green planet is in danger. Our way of walking on the earth has a great influence on animals and plants. Yet we act as if our daily lives have nothing to do with the condition of the world. We are like sleepwalkers, not knowing what we are doing or where we are heading. Whether we can wake up or not depends on whether we can walk mindfully on our Mother Earth. The future of all life, including our own, depends on our mindful steps. We have to hear the bells of mindfulness that are sounding all across our planet. We have to start learning how to live in a way that a future will be possible for our children and grandchildren. If we continue to live as we have been living, consuming without a thought of the future, emitting dangerous amounts of carbon dioxide, then devastating climate change is inevitable. Much of our ecosystem will be destroyed. See levels will rise in coastal cities will be uninvited, forcing hundreds of millions of refugees from their homes, creating wars and outbreaks of infectious disease.
We need a kind of collective awakening. There are among us men and women who are awakened but it is not enough. Most people are still sleeping. We don't have to sink into despair about global warming and: we can act. Urgent action must be taken at the individual and the collective levels. We have the power to decide the destiny of our planet if we awaken to our true situation, there will be a change in our collective consciousness.