Care of the Environment

The natural attitude of humans toward the land, the sea, and the air, and toward all other living things is one of respect, love, and a deep concern for the existence and welfare of each part of the web of life into which we are born. It is a deep hurt to have one's inborn sense of his or her relationship with nature denied or distorted by the culture he or she is born into.Harvey Jackins

Introduction and Current Situation

The reality of ourselves and the environment: You are lucky that you are alive. Every hour of life is worth living. The universe is benign. Whatever distresses you struggle with, you can remember that you are not your distress. Nothing of what you are is lost. You are intelligent, powerful, creative, caring, and full of love. You, and all species, belong here. Each species is important. You are beautiful and worth fighting for.

When they look at our blue planet from space, the beauty of the Earth brings every astronaut to tears. This revolving globe of boiling lava on the inside and the rich fossil layers on top, covered with water, ice, rocks, mud and sand, is a home to a huge and miraculous variety of plant and animal species. When we look at evolution of life and of humans we have to conclude that each of us, and everything alive, is a miracle and worth caring for. From that perspective and for a good future, it is crucial that we end all forms of exploitation and oppression that lead to the destruction of the environment and threaten many life forms with extinction.

The natural world always does all it can to find the best possible balance. Destruction of any one species endangers all the others on the same chain. Capitalism has used the land and its resources without regard for the planet and the life forms on it. The damage has been visible and increasing for many, many years.

When the number of human beings was much smaller than today the natural environment could heal the damage caused by our species. Around 1950, the population started increasing at a faster rate. Plastics and more chemical products came to the market and consumerism increased explosively. The environment could no longer keep up and restore itself.

Climate is changing more rapidly than we could foresee and has already done a huge amount of damage. Governments, activists, and environmental organizations are doing what they can, but they have not been able to make the change that is needed. For that change to happen, the world’s people must make up their minds—they must decide that there will be a future in which all life (including every group of humans) is cherished and sustained. This will require fundamental change in our society.

Environmental Racism

People targeted by racism and genocide, poor people, and working-class people have been left out of the conversation about the environment. Their voices must be included in the fight for a sustainable future. Everyone is endangered by environmental degradation, but communities that are most targeted with oppression have long been more heavily impacted by the toxic effects of this damage. Factories expelling toxic waste are located in their communities. Factory workers, maintenance and cleaning workers, farm workers, painters, miners, poor farmers, and fishing people do the “dirty” and minimally paid work, or barely survive by living off the land. They and their families have little choice; they have to work in unhealthy environments in order to survive. Due to lack of resources and racism, these communities are impacted first and hardest by climate change. The rest of the world watches it happen and does very little to help.

Unaware racism has left some white environmentalists and movements unaware of the issues facing these communities and unable to build alliances with them. If we are to have a sustainable future, racism, classism, and patterns of genocide must be understood and the issues of these communities made central to all work on care of the environment (COE).

Bring Care of the Environment to Sessions

We get to work on COE in Re-evaluation Counseling. We can counsel on it in our sessions. We get to notice that we are a species, like other species, and that everyone and everything alive is connected. As we work on COE we see more clearly that our future survival and flourishing depend upon sustainability and connection and the complete absence of exploitation or oppression. We find that degradation of the environment is connected to patterns of greed and consumption, racism, undischarged grief from catastrophes, and more. Discharge can help us stop feeling too small to make a difference. History has shown many examples of big changes that were started by one person who decided to lead others toward more equality and more respect.

Our connection to the natural world, and our natural curiosity about every detail of nature, is an easy, present-time place to begin counseling on COE.

Learning about climate change can make us feel terrified for our future. Showing fear and confusion in sessions with discharge opens doors for others to do the same. Our deepest fears are connected to our earliest hurts. By working early we can break through numbness and frozen terror and begin to discharge our fears about the current situation. Such sessions help us to think freshly and get new ideas for living courageous, caring, and responsible lives.

Feeling bad and uncomfortable about consuming and being an oppressor can make people avoid having sessions on climate change. However, Co-Counselors who initially felt that way but then went ahead and counseled on climate change often quickly began making changes in their life styles.

Decide, Organize, Act, and Discharge

We encourage people to become active in wide world organizations, to organize a support group, and to take charge in their own lives and communities.

We know how easily we get discouraged and passive. We were often defeated and discouraged early in our lives and were not allowed to fight for injustice and for ourselves and discharge our hurts. The adults meant well—they were trying to protect us in the only way they could figure out. We now get the chance to break that chain. We can reclaim our ability to discharge and heal. We can become fully human with each other.

Humans generally need to get used to new ideas gradually. If you share something enthusiastically that is fresh and very new, there is a good chance that your idea will first be criticized or rejected. You will have more chance of success if you take the following steps:

  • Decide: (1) Decide to take your idea out to other people. (2) Make a plan for how to communicate it. (3) Set a goal for what you want to accomplish.
  • Organize a “safety net.” Plan to have regular sessions with at least two Co-Counselors. Share your plan them. Commit to working on COE so that the old easily restimulated discouragement will not make you give up on your caring, love, and intelligence.
  • Act (Was your idea rejected? You now have a place to discharge and to re-decide as needed.)
  • Discharge (on your successes, too)

You can keep repeating these steps as often as you need to, to reach your goal.

Care of the Environment Leaders and Activists
in the Center of RC

It is important to build relationships with activists. We need to bring our resource to them by listening and assisting them to discharge. We can bring activists into RC. Activists on COE lead more effectively in and outside RC when they are using RC tools. Environmental activists often (but not always) share a common distress. Early in their lives they became discouraged so discouraged about being close with humans that they gave up fighting for themselves and for closeness with people. They often decided to fight for nature and/or animals instead of reaching for connection with humans. Assisting COE leaders to reclaim their connection with people is key for their liberation.

Suggested directions for sessions

You can put your attention and discharge on the following:

  •  the beauty of nature; you, too, are beautiful as you are
    • connection, connection, connection
    • choosing love, facing fear
    •climate change
    • taking charge
    • early defeats and discouragement
    • restoring nature and undoing the damage
    • environmental racism, classism, and genocide and their effects
    • urgency
    • greed
    • having fun
    • language liberation (loss of our mother language disconnects us from the land)
    • immigration, Colonization (loss of culture and homeland disconnects us from the land)
    • exploitation of people and countries
    • beautification, healthcare, and other industries
    • your significance and powerlessness

Wytske Visser
International Commonality Reference Person
for Care of the Environment
Fryslan, The Netherlands



Journal: “Sustaining All Life”

Present Time January 2013 article: “Towards a new goal on care of the environment”. Written by Tim Jackins

The List: “The universe and its nature,” pages 7 – 13, by Harvey Jackins


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00