Getting back to basics and ridding ourselves of all the excess baggage we have accumulated as a species is a very responsible way for us to heal the planet.
The ego-mind’s tendency is to want more, more, and more. If we can have five houses, why stop at having one? If we can build 100 strip mall shopping centers, why not build 200 so the entire landscape is filled with concrete, parking lots, asphalt, and more places for people to buy things.
Some people call this “progress.” Yet everyone can see voracious behavior is not leading to anything but catastrophe. Jared Diamond talks about this in his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. He examines societies of the past and how they survived or didn’t survive severe and long-term damage to the environment. This damage was usually brought on by the negligence or ignorance, of the societies themselves, compounded by the rapacious tendencies of the ego mind.
Diamond then tells the story of societies of old and how many failed. However, some, facing the some conditions and environmental concerns, were able to succeed. It’s about choices they made and how they anticipated problems, recognized them, found solutions and fixed them. This is a recipe for success in the face of disaster, a recipe that most of the cases Diamond discusses in his book chose to ignore. And so those societies and cultures failed and died.
We need to pay attention to this greedy tendency of the human mind, to pull down more forests, to cover the planet with concrete, all so we can have more and more things. The examples are before us, all we need to do is pay attention to them and learn.