Helping to Heal Planet Earth

April 29, 2013 Divine Love Talk

(… indicates omission of some conversation.  _______ indicates a commercial break.  () indicate additions by the transcriber or paraphrasing of a skipped segment.)

Guest: Dr. James R. Stewart, PhD, Organizing Director of Earth Day, Co-chair of Sierra Club, California Energy Climate Committee, Vice-President of POD Energy.

Topics: Ways to be proactive in helping to heal planet Earth.  Kim Michael’s book, Healing Mother Earth.  The Story of Stuff.  

(Dr. Sarah introduces a YouTube documentary called The Story of Stuff.)

Dr. Stewart:First of all, the Sierra Club is the largest and oldest grass roots environmental organization in the United States.  We were founded in 1892 by John Muir … The focus has shifted in the last decade to global warming. … of how to address climate change and other environmental issues.

Parthenia:So what is your plan of action in terms of addressing it?

Dr. Stewart:… expanding renewable energy … Efficiency and conservation …

Parthenia:Now, Kim Michaels, I’d like to bring you into the discussion from a spiritual standpoint with your book, Healing Mother Earth.  Could you talk about our personal responsibility and what we can do from a spiritual perspective to help heal Mother Earth?

Kim: Yeah.  Obviously I come from a different viewpoint than the Sierra Club.  And I have a lot of admiration for what many organizations are doing, including the Sierra Club.  But my view as a spiritual person is that we are not actually facing a lack of resources on this planet.  We are facing a lack of knowledge.  Because one of the primary resources we are using right now is oil, but 500 years ago oil was still on the planet; but it was useless because we didn’t have the knowledge of what to do with it.  So I believe there are resources on this planet right now that are plentiful, but we don’t know what to do with them.  And the reason for that is that we haven’t raised our consciousness enough to receive those new ideas.  And I believe that in order to raise our consciousness, we have to shift the way we look at ourselves, especially in relationship to the planet we live on; but also in relationship to each other.  And to me that has always been the main purpose of the spiritual path and the spiritual quest.  And that’s why I believe the many, many millions of people that are into spiritual teachings, from whatever perspective they are coming, are very important in helping society go through this shift in consciousness.  

Parthenia:OK, so what suggestion would you make in terms of the shift – how do we begin?

Kim Michaels:  Well, one of the big problems right now in our civilization is that we see ourselves as separate people, separate beings.  We are separated from nature.  That is why we can’t find a way to actually live our lives without destroying the environment.  We do know that there are many native cultures that have lived in harmony with the environment.  So it is possible.  The problem with the native cultures is their numbers were very much smaller.  And so our challenge is to not copy what the native cultures did.  We can’t go back and live like the American Indians did before Columbus.  But, what we need to do is step up to an even bigger challenge where we can find a way to still have the population we have, but still live in some harmony with nature.

And I believe really it starts with all of us looking at ourselves and saying: “Who am I?  How am I connected to something greater than myself?”  To me that’s the essence of spirituality.  You seek a connection with something greater.  And I don’t want to give one way to do this, because I believe there are many ways to do it.  It’s not a matter of one religion or one spiritual philosophy being accepted by everybody.  You know, I’m not one of these people who believe that there is only one right way to do things and it’s my way.  I think that there are many, many different spiritual philosophies that can help us make that shift to seeing that we are connected to something greater than ourselves.  And through that connection, we are connected to each other, and we are connected to the planet we live on.

Dr. Sarah:One of the questions that I often ask my classes and my children – and I heard this yesterday, as well: What do all people have in common?  And what we have in common is the earth.  And there is no “away.”  There is no where away that we can throw something or not take responsibility for some of our actions.  It’s all related to earth.


Dr. Stewart:Well, I was reminded by Kim when he talked about everything being connected – that’s one of the famous quotes from our founder, John Muir – which is that everything is connected to everything else.  And the kind of shift in consciousness that Kim was talking about is exactly what the Sierra Club is supporting, because the shift in consciousness from seeing ourselves as isolated individuals or a family; versus seeing ourselves as, not only just one human family, but as one Gaia, one universal spirit, as a part of this earth.  And when we can make that shift in consciousness, then we can reduce our consumption, we can begin to become more conscious of the effects that we have, and more importantly, we can become active…

(Discussion about politicians and holding them accountable.)


(Discussion about different Sierra Clubs and more on holding politicians accountable.)

Parthenia:Now, Kim, I want to bring you in on the discussion in terms of your book, Healing Mother Earth.  From a spiritual perspective, our children – could you address that – our responsibility towards our children?

Kim Michaels:  Yeah, it’s really a responsibility towards not only our children, I would say, but ourselves, as well.  You were talking about it earlier - how do we hold the politicians accountable – but I think we need to start by holding ourselves more accountable first, which you also mentioned.  And my view, from a spiritual perspective, is we are all connected through a common collective consciousness.  And we can see countries in the world where they don’t have a democracy.  And I believe it’s because the collective consciousness in those countries is not, yet, high enough.  But we can also see that in the United States we have had a democracy for a very long time, because the consciousness is higher.  And that’s because in America many, many people are willing to take a certain level of responsibility for their own lives.  It’s one of the characteristics, one of the differences you notice when, for example, me growing up in Europe and moving to the US, that in the US people do have much more of a sense of individualism and individual responsibility.

But I also think that America hasn’t yet taken the next step to actually having a higher form of democracy, which I believe America is capable of.  And really, what to me blocks this is this lack of shift in spiritual awareness.  Who are we?  Are we just consumers, who are here to live all of our lives making money to buy more and more?  Or do we actually have a higher goal?  And to me, the only way I can see we can have a higher goal is to have a spiritual goal.  And there again, it doesn’t have to be one religion, but it can be a spiritual goal as raising our consciousness on an individual level that we have a higher potential than just being mindless consumers.  And this is what you’ve talked about yourself, Parthenia, many times – of how we become more aware. You’ve talked about how your job at the college is to make your students more aware.  But in my experience, having lived in the United States (lost connection)


 Kim Michaels:  I don’t know when you lost me, but what I wanted to say was that having grown up in Denmark and moved to the United States, the big difference I noticed was there is a very big distance in the United States between the people and the government.  In other words, people see the government as being far away, not only geographically, but also in other ways.  They feel they have very little influence on their government.  But you know right now I believe that the US actually has a government that is of the elite, by the elite and for the elite.  And if we are to get back to Lincoln’s ideal of ‘of the people, by the people and for the people;’ we have to focus on ‘by the people,’ meaning that the people have to engage themselves in government.  Instead of complaining about the government, we should see what can we do about our government to take part in it.  And I think that would be a very important shift.

Dr. Sarah:It’s so much easier for spiritual people to get into politics, than it is to get politicians to be spiritual.

Kim Michaels:  That’s a good saying.

(Discussion about global warming and increasing seaweed in the oceans by working with an organization called POD Energy (Dr. Stewart is VP).)


Dr. Sarah:So, so many aspects of our lives are now being challenged or destroyed, that we need to deal with the most serious issues in a decisive way.  And we need to make peace with the earth and the time is now.  And every dollar is a vote, so learn where you’re putting your dollars.

Parthenia:And Kim Michaels, going back to your book, Healing Mother Earth, what would you like to leave the audience with from your book?

Kim Michaels:  Well, basically that there is only one resource, and that’s awareness.  And we can never run out of it.  My philosophy has always been that if you want to change the world, start by changing yourself.  And I don’t mean just outer changes, even though they are important, too; but really changing your awareness, raising your awareness.  And obviously there are people and forces in this world that want to limit your knowledge and limit your awareness, but we live in a time where you have never had better opportunity for educating yourself and raising your awareness of just about every aspect of life.  So, I would say, go do that, make that the goal - to raise your awareness.



Copyright © 2013 Kim Michaels


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