As the fires rage on America’s west coast, I sit here looking out my window and no longer is there a blue sky, white puffy clouds or sunshine in sight. A few friends have called it ‘surreal’, a word we may have used once or twice, while others have used words like doom, gloom, depressing, scary, eerie and frightening.
As if we’re not already dealing with life’s ‘new normal’ amidst a global pandemic, we’re now having to load up on extra masks and filters but not just for every time we walk into a building, but every time we walk out of the house.
Newsweek writes that the scattered fires are producing “apocalyptic” scenes, with hazy, red skies and the San Francisco Chronicle reports that LA has the worst air pollution in nearly three decades with “lung-damaging ozone pollution” on the rise.
CNN remarks how silent Trump has been since the latest raging fires spread along the west coast, reminding us of his familiar response to blame the state’s forest management.
As the wildfires rage up and down the West Coast destroying forests in its wake, we are now seeing neighborhoods and entire towns incinerated, with Oregon setting a horrific record of over 3 million acres torched by fires this year. A friend sent me this photo from Oregon on Wednesday morning where the skies were more of a blood orange.
Neighborhood streets aren’t the only thing getting charred — anything that was sitting or standing outside is now layered with a hazy dark soot that doesn’t come off easily. We waited two days before spraying statues, tables, cushions, chairs, lamps and bird houses with water, only to discover that we had to use rags with soap to remove the ashes which began to make their way deep into everything they touched. After wiping off and hosing down our cars, two hours later, the dark and foreboding ashes were back.
The birds who come daily to our patio to splash around in the Buddha fountains haven’t been seen in three days – it’s as if every living creature who can still breathe is in hiding, humans included. But what if you happen to be a living creature who doesn’t have a sheltered, safe place to retreat to when things get out of hand?
Dismissal from Washington or anywhere else for that matter can’t be a ‘new normal’ — we can’t afford complacency at a time like this, whether or not you believe global warming is real. How many more “reals” does one need?
A friend texted us trying to make light of the situation by saying he went to bed on Earth and woke up on Mars. While California is known to be hazy in the mornings, it burns off by mid-day and is typically sunny most afternoons — sun is pretty reliable in California and is a main reason we moved here.
The lightness of people’s texts didn’t last for long however. The SF Chronicle’s headline on Tuesday hit it home: “Apocalypse on their mind: Bay Area transfixed by foreboding, orange, smoke-choked skies.”
Depending on the time of day or where you were in the Bay Area, the sky looking back at you was either a foggy murky peach color or it was a bright burnt orange and suddenly texts were flying in from friends north to south, mostly using the word Apocalypse. I doubt they saw the headline — there was no need to in order to feel Gaia’s sadness, reacting in the only way she knows how…to purify and correct herself.
When you put garbage into your body, what happens? You get sick and if you keep doing it, it turns into disease and even death if ignored. Our guides are fond of saying “when you eat from a box, you become a box.” Well, the same holds true with the planet and humanity has been mistreating poor Gaia for awhile now.
What would you do if you were her? After too much abuse, you’d probably purge, wouldn’t you? Our planet has a living, breathing and very real consciousness and her need to purge will only get worse unless we take heed, pull back the reigns and begin to respect and nurture her once again. She is part of us and we are part of her, but sadly most of Washington doesn’t get it. Certainly oil companies dead set on their profit-driven agenda in the Amazon doesn’t get it either.
When a living creature purges, it’s a physical way to let you know something’s off. You ate the wrong thing, your system is out of alignment, or you have caught a bug and your body is doing everything it knows how to fight it. Purging is part of that.
Gaia and her very alive consciousness is trying to tell us something and has been for awhile and it’s not just manifesting in fires. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: “a gyre of plastic debris in the north-central Pacific Ocean” about double the size of Texas. And even that’s just a small part of it: “At current rates plastic is expected to outweigh all the fish in the sea by 2050.”
As Robert Koehler’s article reports: plastics pollution has a direct and deadly effect on wildlife. Thousands of seabirds and sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or getting entangled in it. . . . He continues to write: “dead seabirds are often found with stomachs full of plastic. And, dead whales have been found with bellies full of plastic.”
This is very real stuff folks. The planet is alive. In this piece on Climate Change, Koehler shares words from the Arhuaco people of northern Columbia: “When you go to dig your fields, or make a pot from clay, you are disturbing the balance of things. When you walk, you are moving the air, breathing it in and out. Therefore you must make payments.”
In other words, as he says: as you walk, you disturb the balance of things, so walk softly — live your life softly — with awareness and gratitude. Writes Daniel Christian Wahl at Medium.com:
“Indigenous human cultures are an expression of generations of co-evolution of humans within the ecosystems they inhabited. Indigenous worldviews around the planet share a common perspective: the world is alive and meaningful and our relationship with the rest of life is one of participation, communion and co-creation.”
And in Why Nature Needs to Win, we are reminded that Sweden, for instance, has proposed a constitutional amendment giving nature the right to “exist, flourish, regenerate and evolve.” And tribespeople and municipalities all across the planet are demanding that legal personhood be recognized for imperiled natural resources.”
Gaia and her need to purge as a way to remind humanity that ‘enough is enough’ isn’t going away anytime soon.
We are after all, in this together. We need the planet and her oxygen, fresh water and air more than she needs us. If humanity is stupid and cruel enough to self-destruct through our own foolish ego-driven decisions, Gaia will still survive.
She will continue to purge as much as she needs to, even it means starting over. If we’re smart however, then we can systematically shift the way things have been done and through a collective consciousness, turn the corner and begin to nourish the planet once again.
We can no longer treat nature and all that Gaia represents as something separate from human beings. If we simply call a spade a spade and see how much we’ve been caged in our own ill-rooted ignorance, we can begin anew. With fresh eyes and through a unified and global effort, we can teach the next generation that nature is connected to us — Gaia feeds us and I don’t just mean the crops we grow on farms.
Think about how you feel when you sit on a mountain and look out into clear blue skies, see an eagle soar above you, ducks swim past you while you have lunch on the banks of a lake, or hear the waves crashing against the rocks of your favorite cliff overlooking the ocean.
Her pulse and energy is beyond what we can even fathom, We must listen to her heartbeat. We must listen to her voice. And, we must see this ongoing purging with serious eyes.
If we don’t take her purges seriously, one morning we may wake up to more than just orange hazy skies and it may just be a nightmare we can no longer escape from. Heed the call dear humans, heed the call.
She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.
Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.
Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.