To reiterate: our environment does not just consist of trees and whales; it’s the interwoven world of the biosphere, the economy, society and our bodies and minds. It’s all suffering from the same root problem – a short-term self-interest that supports careless attention.
If you see it like this, it reduces the impotence; you see the paradigm of domination and exploitation and you address it wherever you can. Because the one right response, wherever, whenever, is to bring careful attention into the cosmos as you experience it.
What are natural, intrinsic and universal to human beings are not valuables. Values issue from the mind and cannot get used up; valuables are materials that come from the Earth and are finite. Given this capacity, our responsibility has to be to develop values that will include and support as much of the cosmos as possible.
Values: you name them – how about generosity, goodwill, truthfulness, reliability?
It’s not difficult to access the resources of our human nature; putting them into practice takes work, but it is innately fulfilling. On a wider scale, giving value to harmony in our total environment will surely help us to strengthen and enrich our own lives.
It will take us out of the sense of being an isolated, competitive self and into the harmony of being part of the cosmos.
This reflection by Ajahn Sucitto is from the book, Buddha Nature, Human Nature, (pdf) pp. 53-54.