From The Globe and Mail: “If the Earth is as alive as both climate scientists and Indigenous peoples say, and like a body, kept well by a diversity of cells, deeply connected, then the medical diagnosis that fits most neatly our modern sickness is not an infection, but a malignancy. If unaddressed, it threatens to use every last joule of energy, not from need, but from appetite until only it, and a husk, remain. As the IPBES [Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services] concluded, we must ‘decouple the idea of a good and meaningful life from ever-increasing material consumption.’ This must be the priority of our Group of 20 leaders, who met recently to talk about ‘recovery.’ The solution will not be found by beating back the symptoms so we might return to business as usual, but fanning the flame of aliveness of the beautiful and healthier world beyond them that is in retreat.
This past summer, at Turtle Lodge in Manitoba, a sacred Anishinaabe lodge of traditional teaching and wellness, Indigenous knowledge keepers from coast to coast met and discussed challenges affecting their communities and the world. Their main concern was a disconnect of people from the land and its lessons. In that rupture, like a break in the body’s immune system, sickness has crept. Opiate and alcohol addiction, anxiety and depression. COVID-19. We can learn from the line of inquiry of some traditional healers, who instead of asking their patients first about their pain, start with a more direct question: Who are you?”