Caring for and Healing the Earth

What is Caretaking?

An Overview

Caretaking is all about healing and caring for the Earth.  It is about healing the damage that we humans have done to the Earth, as well as preventing and minimizing further damage and interference.  As well, we have an inherent role to play on this planet to work in harmony with nature and help it to maintain its balance.

We can help  -  or can we?

"Help" or "Interference"?
    Just how much do we help (or some would say, "interfere") with the natural processes of the Earth?  At what point does "help" become interference?  Do we just let nature take its course, or do we step in and lend it a helping hand?
    On one hand, nature is quite able to take care of itself, and has done so for millions of years.  We see that when it is left to itself, a damaged area will eventually heal, although it may take a very long time in some cases.  There are those who would argue that we should step back entirely and allow nature to take its course, no matter how long it takes.
    On the other hand, perhaps we can, with the right knowledge, skills, and attitude, help nature along with its healing.  Maybe we can shorten the healing period from two thousand years to two hundred.  As well, if humans are truly a part of the Earth and belong here, then it is an inherent part of our nature to help the Earth, to caretake it.

How much do we help?
    Do we focus only on healing the damage that humans have caused, or do we have a role in caring for the still untouched and natural areas?
    The modern societies that humans currently live in (all over the world, not just our own western way of life) have an enormous negative impact on our natural environment.  Industrial processes, the consumeristic way of life, the garbage that is created from that and the blatant disregard for other life forms who share this planet all contribute to decimating the natural world.  Not to mention our sheer numbers!   Caretaking involves helping to heal those parts of the Earth that have been damaged and destroyed by these factors.  The task seems monumental, but because of this there are literally thousands upon thousands of ways that we can help.
    There are still undamaged, wild, natural areas left on this planet.   It seems that these are getting to be very few and far between.  It would depend on what you would define as "wild and natural".  Air pollution has touched every part of the Earth, acid rain has as well.  If you consider that, then no area is any longer wild or natural.  So, I guess we must say "relatively" wild and natural.  In any case, these remaining areas need protection from the ravages of the modern industrial machine.  Again, there are many many ways to help.

Do we even belong on the Earth?
    Are we "intruders" on this planet (and therefore can only do damage to it) or do we belong here, an inherent part of the Earth landscape?
    Well, assuming that humans did not arrive from another planet, then we belong here.  Depending on your point of view, either we evolved here out of other life forms, or we were at some point created here by some higher force.  Whatever your point of view, we do truly belong here.  If we evolved out of other life forms (who evolved out of others, etc) then we are a part of this Earth, since we arose from it.   In the other way of thinking, if we were created here by a higher force, then we are also meant to be here (assuming of course that "god" or "creator" doesn't make mistakes!).
    Another angle would be to say that we no longer deserve to live on this planet given what we are doing to it.  Which brings up the question, are we "redeemable"?  Can we step back to the Earth?

Are we capable of Caretaking?
    Have we stepped away from the Earth too far to know what to do to heal it, or do we still have inside ourselves the knowledge of what to do?
    The more cynical amongst us would say that humans are no longer capable of truly helping the Earth, that we can only harm it.  In fact, some might say that just our mere presence here on this planet is harming it.  It seems as though we have stepped away from the Earth too far to be able to do any healing at all.  And too far to be able to step back to the Earth.  Anytime, it seems, that we try to help out in one aspect of the environment, our actions cause problems in another aspect.  We seem to not have the ability to see enough of the whole picture to be able to do anything without causing more harm in turn.
    However, according to Tom Brown (and to Stalking Wolf (Grandfather)), we do indeed still have the inherent ability to truly help the Earth.  What it takes is a different approach than we have been taking.

So, what is Caretaking?
    Caretaking, as taught by Tom Brown, involves a totally new approach to helping the Earth.
    It is centered around asking the Earth what to do to help.  After all, don't we usually ask people (other humans) before we do anything to them, such as cutting their hair, or remodelling their home?  Is it then too much to ask of us to ask the Earth and other beings who live here before we do anything that affects them?
    It involves a way of being in which one knows what to do to truly help the Earth, rather than making educated or uneducated guesses and then waiting to see what will happen.  To act from the heart and spirit, rather than solely from the mind.
    It involves living in harmony with the rest of the Earth, the rest of life on the Earth.  Moving and living in cooperation with the rest of the species of one's surroundings and of this planet.
    It involves having a smaller "footprint" on the environment, utilizing only what we need, rather than grabbing at everything that we can lay our hands on.  In other words, leaving behind some for others who share this planet.
    It involves having the skill and knowledge to make proper changes in the environment that actually enhance it, rather than disturbing and destroying it.

    This is actually a very old approach.   We have simply lost sight of it in modern times.  Most "primitive" peoples lived in this way on the Earth, if not by choice, then by necessity.  The pre-contact indigenous peoples of North America (also known as "Indians") are perhaps the most familiar example of this.  When the visitors from Europe arrived here in North America, they called it an "untouched wilderness".
    Yes, there is archeological evidence that suggests that people have always decimated the Earth whenever they had the opportunity.  This gives rise to some of the arguments outlined above.  But most indigenous societies had an underlying philosophy and way of living that respected and cooperated with the Earth, rather than exploiting it.  This is in stark contrast to the current world culture that is centered around the rape of the world.


The material on this page is copyright © by the original author/artist/photographer. This website is created, maintained & copyright © by Walter Muma
Please respect this copyright and ask permission before using or saving any of the content of this page for any purpose

Thank you for visiting!