Contemporary Paganism: Meaningful Practices #4

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R. Eugene Laughlin
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Contemporary Paganism: Meaningful Practices #4

Post#1 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:06 pm

Ecologically Responsible Behavior

In keeping with the we are of the Earth theme, a meaningful Pagan sacrament is to be mindful of behaviors that have the potential impact on local and global ecosystems. For example, the presence of plastic waste in the ocean is presumed to (mostly negatively) impact the life cycles of more than a half-million species. Therefore, a meaningful Pagan behavior might be to reduce the amount of plastic waste one is personally responsible for.

Most of us these days separate plastics from other waste for recycling, but recent estimates suggest that less than 10% of the plastics produced annually is actually re-purposed; the rest go to landfills, even if earmarked for recycling by the consumer. Industry in general, at present at least, don't use it because it isn't deemed cost-effective. In a recent development, the Chinese market, once the primary purchaser or recyclable plastics has announced that they will no longer buy most forms of recyclable plastic.

Of course, no single person's behavior will change the global situation. Only widespread global activism would change manufacturing behavior and/or mount the massive cleanup effort that would be required to collect plastic pollution. And while activism in that direction is meaningful Pagan behavior too, that's a subject for another thread. The purpose of adopting a behavior of this sort is more about personal awareness of the state of things and ones own place within it.

A practice of this nature should be practical rather than fanatical. The nature of the world in which we live makes eliminating all plastics waste from one's life somewhat unrealistic. A way to get started is to identify places where one can make a conscious choice, like not buying individual-use plastic bottles, not taking a plastic straw when buying a beverage to go, etc. One might progress to carrying canvas bags to the supermarket and so on. If one is mindful, various opportunities to adopt meaningful behaviors will inevitably present themselves.

And of course, plastics aren't the only place to go. One could adopt any of a wide range of behaviors that would amount to a mitigating effort around some of the ecologically deleterious features of modern life. No matter how insignificant such an individual effort may seem at the outset, the real target of this particular effort is ones own spirit. The idea is to seek and adopt meaningful behaviors. The effect is that seeds are planted that can be expected to grow an evermore Pagan heart.

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