With Earth Day (and EPA cuts) approaching, we asked two eco-conscious yogis what they think is the most critical environmental issue at stake right now, and what if anything yogis can do to effect positive change, on and off the mat.
Q: What’s the biggest environmental issue at stake right now?
A: All of the Earth’s issues are critical right now, because everything is interconnected. But from a big-picture perspective, I would say that climate change is our most threatening environmental issue in the Trump era. It goes without saying that the catastrophes associated with a warmer planet are terrifying, and life itself is at stake for the Earth’s inhabitants if we don’t continue to work together internationally to cool it down. I’ve been following the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) the most these days—they’ve been holding President Trump accountable, suing him when necessary. For example, they were able to get him to list the rusty patched bumblebee as endangered after suing him for breaking the law by freezing its endangered species listing without public notice or an opportunity for comment.
Now, the NRDC believes that Trump's attempt to gut the Clean Power Plan would undo the biggest step we’ve taken in the fight against climate change, and they plan to fight that every step of the way.
How yogis can take action
1. If you teach yoga, please help normalize yoga being part of current events or politics. There’s a stigma being perpetuated by yoga teachers that it’s somehow not OK to mix the two or that yoga should be an escape from the day-to-day problems of the world. I don’t believe this stance is serving our students nor their yoga practice. You can help by giving teachings in your classes and on social media explaining that yoga is about connection, compassion, action, and living more skillfully in the world vs. an escape from the world.
2. Show up! Our democracy is under siege by an incompetent administration and it’s hanging by a thread. The far-right extremism and their dedication to destroying the planet and women is unparalleled in the USA thus far. It’s up to us to prevent severe oppressive changes being made in our country and not take the freedoms we have had for the last 200 years for granted. Compared to other countries in the world, we have had it really good up until now. Let’s keep it that way. What seems to be working most effectively is to physically go to your local congressional office or town hall meetings and express your views. Use resistancecalendar.org to find events near you.
A: Now more than ever we need leaders at every level who support climate change solutions rather than deregulation and toxic fossil fuel sources of energy. Investment in green energy is critical right now to stop the rise in carbon dioxide beyond repair.
We cannot go backward. We must evolve forward as this is the 11th hour. We cannot pull out of the Paris Agreement (negotiated by 195 countries to reduce global warming) as President Trump and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt have promised to do.
We have everything we need for a green future, which is better for the health of all. The only thing stopping this evolution is greed.
How yogis can take action
Be part of the positive change toward a green future. Now is the time to rise up and make changes from your own home, in your own lifestyle, and how you vote and get involved locally and globally for any aspect of protection, conservation, and change. We must come together across backgrounds and political affiliations and make our voices heard, such as at the People’s Climate March on April 29th in Washington, D.C., and across the country.
When we shift toward renewable energy, walk, bike, waste/pollute less, spend more time in natural light, and shift toward locally grown foods with an emphasis on an organic, primarily plant-based diet, we are making a positive contribution to the Earth with our simple lifestyle actions that collectively make a difference.
Let us be a beacon for the next generation. Remind your children how amazing it will be that in their lifetime they will see a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. My son drives a solar-powered EV car and he inspires his friends every day. Keep rising.
You can also join Shiva from April 22–29 for an EarthBodyMudra & Yoga Energy Activism meditation. Learn more on her Facebook page.