Why We Need To Approach The Earth With More Reverence + An Actionable Way To Do It

Photo: Lyuba Burakova

Shaman Durek is part of the mbg Collective, a curated group of our most trusted wellness advisers. Since 2009, we’ve had the brightest, most passionate mission-driven leaders in wellness share their intimate stories and world-class advice. Now, we’re giving you unparalleled access to the people who, alongside mbg, are putting the “WE” back in wellness. Consider them your personal guides, there to support you and sustain you on your journey.

We find the true meaning of life when we take time to honor the foundation under our feet. The truth of all things lies in the leaves and the ocean and the trees. In the wind as it brushes against your face, the strength of a mountain, and the wisdom of a river. For there is no teacher that is as fully present every day as the one found in nature.

These days, so many of us worship the wrong things: technology, superficialities, the chains that bind us into a false reality and take us away from the simplicity that life can be. Nature is the true technology—the all-encompassing wisdom and data that our cells and bodies need to thrive. The beauty of all of this is held within every cell of our being.

It is time for us to return to the mother, the great giver of life, to replenish her and restore her to her fullest potential so that we together can build a healthier society. We can start by stepping outside more. When we are in nature, our body can heal, release, and cleanse itself. Surrounding yourself with nature has been shown to reduce stress, lower cortisol levels, and so much more. This creates a reservoir of wellness in the human body, which lowers the risk of infections and disease.

When the body can communicate with nature, to the mother, the heart rate lowers. I've seen that time outside helps our perception expand and allows for trust, community, and connectedness. I think that if everyone prized nature more, we would be able to change in such a dynamic way that we will drop the need for toxic poisons. We would adapt and find other solutions. We would understand the world community not just as one that describes festival gatherings or social groups but a global gathering. One that honors the earth and the bountiful gifts that it provides. We will not drain the well until it is empty and then complain. Instead, we will nourish our mother, honor our mother, and our days will be long upon the earth.

One industry we can start with: fast fashion.

In today’s society, fashion and style are a huge part of our expression of self. But many people don’t consider the economic impact this industry has on the planet.

When we shop based on the brand on a piece of clothing's tag rather than on the materials it's made of or the labor that went into it, we are showing a lack of consciousness. Don't think that just because something has a fancy label, the source of the materials matches the price tag. It often doesn't. Did you know that the textile industry is one of the most egregious polluters in the world, second only to the oil industry by some estimates?

The problem is a lack of awareness that consumers have when buying anything—especially fashion—and a lack of education. It is important for us as an awakened community to look toward natural fibers like linen and hemp and opt for organically grown materials whenever possible.

Achieving health and wellness is not just about what we put in our bodies; it’s also about what we put on our bodies and what we spend our money on. If we are buying synthetic fabrics like polyester, rayon, acrylic, and nylon, we could be opening ourselves up to all types of problems like skin irritation. Not to mention, none of these materials are biodegradable, so they are harmful to the planet. Why would you create something that can’t be reused or recycled?

Most importantly we must care more, about ourselves and about this earth.

We must be smarter than this. Most importantly we must care more, about ourselves and about this earth. When you go shopping, instead of just looking at the price tag, look at where and how it’s made. You have a right to understand the back story of your clothes and by doing your due diligence you'll be a more conscious preserver of planet earth.

As a women’s empowerment leader and activist, I spend a lot of my time getting behind projects and ideas that are creating sustainable value and building stronger communities, one of them being the Alama Project. Created by a group of women artisans who promote the legacy of the Maasai tribe of Northern Tanzania through handcrafted bead jewelry, this organization brings the power back into the hands of women in tribal culture by translating their traditional crafts into the modern fashion industry. The project has already helped 35 Maasai tribal women from the Ngabobo, Madebe, and Lekirumuni tribes at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Supporting projects that acknowledge cultural artisans like this one helps strengthen the integrity of communities for generations that follow. Plus, it's enriching to know that you are wearing a piece made from a woman who took the time to sit down on the earth with her children and to weave and design something valuable and sustainable. It also supports a growing community of tribal women by empowering them to provide food and education for their children.

If we as a culture could recognize the importance of supporting eco-friendly items that promote community, we would live our lives more from a place of equality. For when we strike against the mother, we strike against ourselves and we fall. We mustn’t fall, and we mustn’t destroy. We must create and be the creators that we are. We have all that we need to succeed. We have a heart that knows the truth and knows what to do to bring this balance to the forefront of our mind. So don’t believe, not for one day, that you are without power. I don’t speak to sheep; I speak to leaders. Leaders who are here to carry the message forward. And the message is this: Earth first.

For more insights from Shaman Durek, check out his interview with actress and environmentalist Bonnie Wright and tune into mbg's Q&A with him during Revitalize.

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