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Listening to the Earth in times of crisis

Updated: May 24, 2022

Reflections for the Earth Day 2022

The following were the closing remarks made by Thomas Legrand at the end of the event organised for Earth Day by Listening Inspires, Nature4Climate and CoFSA.

The heart of the event was a conversation between Joshua Konkankoh (Indigenous Earth Guardians as Regenerators), Jennifer Viloria (Founder and CEO of Iisla ventures), and Patrick Caron

(Vice-President Montpellier University and Founder/Director of MAK'IT) facilitated by Myra Jackson (Founder of the Global Freshwaters Summit, Global Being Foundation). (see inspirations, below)

The event closed with a guided meditation by Brother Chân Pháp Lai from Plum Village.

The recording of the event is available here, and the concluding meditation here.

"I was listening to the Earth through all of the speakers in this powerful exchange on “how can Nature guide us in transforming disruption and destruction into connection and regeneration ?"

I could hear its peace, its love, its wisdom, as well as the ancestral widosm Joshua was talking about, which is passed through generations, through rituals, ceremonies, in the sacred forests and rivers.

I could feel the sacred rhythms of the earth, melting with the Atlantic Ocean behind me and really feel that Nature offers many things we need, that our hearts and minds need, that our communities and societies need.

Thank you for inviting us to the forest, the rivers, the paths of your childhood – such as the baobab tree of Joshua. Thank you for giving us a sense of how Nature has built who you are and how its loss can be experienced as a personal loss.

We can really see this experience of “inter-being” where we experience the same suffering as the Earth, and the Earth experiences the suffering that comes from us, such as from the impoverished communities in the Philippines that Jennifer told us about. She told us how she experiences the same kind of suffering – the abandonment, the discrimination – that Nature experiences.

We can see how the Earth connects us all, including through food. Now we can understand that we are part of one Earth family that is united by the common challenges we are facing together, and which we can only solve together through collaboration - not competition - and through lifestyles which are more in harmony with Nature.

What does it entail to listen to the Earth?

We have heard sadness from this deep connection with the earth, but also hope.

Gandhi told us that we can hear the sound of the forest falling as it is cut, but we seldom hear the sound of trees growing.

One of my teachers about 10 years ago asked me if I was able to hear the sound of trees growing, and I think it took me a couple of years wondering what this would mean. I remember once, in an ashram in India, at some point I felt very connected to some trees. I could feel the energy of the tree. I could experience the tree as a living being. I understood then what hearing the sound of the tree growing really is.

Patrick has emphasized the creative nature of the Earth and Nature’s capacity for regeneration.

We have been really enjoying the start of the spring in France. Seeing the trees flourishing, I could feel this is a very solid ground for happiness: knowing the trees will come back, flourishing every spring. We can really enjoy it.

Also, when I see all these wild flowers coming up. When the right conditions come together – temperature, rain, sun – suddenly, they all come out. It reminds me the seeds were there. They were only waiting for the right conditions to manifest themselves.

I feel there are many seeds being watered at the moment. We may not have reached a stage when they can all flourish together, but at least we can trust in the rhythm and the wisdom of Nature. We can just feel, as I felt, privileged to be part of this Earth community, surrounded by these beautiful beings. We feel the invitation to be responsible members of this Earth Community, with a sense of humility and gratitude.

As a conclusion, I think it’s very important to invite the Earth in this conversation and in dialogues we are having. Indigenous peoples, in particular, are the ones who should be Her spokesperson. I hope our governance systems will make space also for the Earth."

More inspirations from the conversation...

Joshua Konkankoh

Indigenous Earth Guardians as Regenerators

"If only we would listen when we eat”

“I once wrote an article to call food the “economy of love” – that economy is not extended only to the love of other humans”

"Three things that honour life: food and water, and the spiritual speaking which is silence."

Jennifer Viloria

Founder and CEO of Iisla ventures

“I asked myself: 'How can I be part of that return to that life which I knew as a child, with sense of community with Nature?'”.

"What has gone wrong? People are hungry and they do anything when thy are hungry; kill the animals burn the forest, leave their children to be able to eat. So how can we enable everyone to have enough food ?"

“Nature is not about competition, it’s about collaboration – and if you truly believe in this, Nature is abundant. (...) If we take inspiration from Nature, we only consume what we need to survive. It’s not about hoarding, accumulating. It’s about consuming what we need from the surroundings we’re in."

Patrick Caron

Vice-President Montpellier University and Founder/Director of MAK'IT

“Nature is just incredibly creative and rather than gaming, transforming and controlling it, we should learn to understand it, respect it and live in harmony with it. From a science point of view, this leads us to change completely our posture."

“The challenge is to renew our lifestyles and bring them together into a common project, not to regenerate our future but to generate something completely different that may be a more sustainable future.”

Myra Jackson,

Founder of the Global Freshwaters Summit, Global Being Foundation

"In the opportunity we are given to embrace a more whole way of living as a part of Nature is the generative power, the creative power, the innovative power - power that is possible as we listen to Nature. As we do this deep listening , naturally we restore connection, and that biological imperative that is upon us takes on an organic way of restoring and generating."

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