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Why It Matters

 
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The Ripple Effect

 
 

Every single day is made up of choices: Whether or not we take the car or bus it. What item we buy at the store. The circle we color in on the voting ballot. And so many more choices. Every single one of these choices collectively affects the health of the Earth. Tiny, simple little choices structured within a consumerist society of options. All we have to do is make the right ones.

 
 
 

8 million metric tons of plastic pollute the sea each year

 

 
 
 
 
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How It All Began 

 
 

Throughout our history, the birth to mortality rate was relatively moderate. That is, until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when our population hit 1 billion due to advancements. And then it just kept on climbing from there (see graph).

Now, the Industrial Revolution was the real beginning of environmental degradation. Factories would discharge highly toxic effluent into aquatic environments and polluted the air with gaseous plumes; not having any regulations to abide by. And when the discovery of using natural gas and oil for modern conveniences occurred, carbon-rich, nonrenewable fossil fuels were extracted and burned in vast numbers; polluting our atmosphere with high concentrations of greenhouse gases.

Then came plastic. Most plastics are photodegradable, not biodegradable. Extreme light exposure can break them down over time, but only into smaller pieces- plastic never goes away. Let that sink in for a bit. Even the broken down particles still end up in scavengers that collectively add to others up the food chain; collapsing entire ecosystems.

So, here you have the Earth that is used to this small, sustainable population of humans, balanced with all the other beings for thousands of years, suddenly skyrocket in number, and almost all of them are using machines to create pollution and devastation to all the other beings, including themselves. And though that's just summarizing, you can at least understand how this quickly became very overwhelming and how we dug ourselves into such a deep hole before we even knew we were holding a shovel.

 

World population (in billions)

 

How It Affects Us

 

Most of us hear about climate change, global warming, and pollution but don't really see the everyday effects from it.

The more greenhouse gases that are released from burning fossil fuels, the more we prevent the Earth's heat (warmed by the Sun) from escaping our atmosphere. This warms the Earth beyond a balanced temperature which then evaporates the soil and bodies of water, adding much more water into the air; dumping it all in extreme storms. But if the ground is so dry that it cannot absorb this amount, it results in devastating floods; ruining communities and farmland. This of course, is assuming vast fires haven't already ravaged it all due to the drought. As above, so below.

Global warming also affects the balance of ecosystems like coral reef bleaching, Arctic regions dwindling, marine food chains collapsing, migratory animals disrupted from habitat loss, soil erosion, and the list continues.

The sea, lakes, and rivers act as a natural carbon dioxide filter, provides us food, water, recreation, rain, and a threshold between this world and the Other. But thanks to global warming, agricultural pesticides, urban pollution, oil spills, and plastic; the health of Earth's water is decreasing. 

Sacred trees fallen for deforestation for the sake of lumber and livestock also affects us by raising global temperatures with more CO2, ruins habitats for other beings, alters the planet's water cycle, and can lead to soil erosion where nothing will grow.

Imagine how effective a Witch's craft is when they use genetically modified herbs that strip the soil's nutrients. Or a Faery Wiccan who tries to call the sidhe of a field sprayed with pesticides. Or a Heathen preparing a Yule feast of imported meat from a deforested livestock pen that releases large amounts of methane and carbon dioxide. Environmental degradation affects the spirit of the Earth and so, our spirit as well.

  • The Earth has lost 46% of its forests

  • 200 km2 of forests disappear every day

  • At current rate, in 30 years, all coral reefs will be gone

  • There is a garbage island in the ocean over twice the size of Texas

  • 150 species go extinct every day (up to 1,000 times the historical rate)

  • For 400,000 years, atmospheric CO2 levels were at most 280ppm. They are now at 411ppm.

  • In 2016, 44.7 million tons of electronics went to waste

 
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We Can Still Make a Difference

 
 
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It's not too late to generate a change. To heal the Earth. To make a difference, and right our wrongs. But first, we have to decide to change ourselves, our habits, our routines, and our mentality. We are the consumers that direct the flow of the market. We are the democracy that can exercise our critical thinking skills and our free speech, and we are the decision makers for all of the options life offers us on a daily basis. But if we don't start, then we fail our responsibilities as both humans and as Pagans.

Great journeys, however, are accomplished one step at a time. One of those steps can be using canvas bags for your groceries or reducing some of your household energy with a solar panel.

 

And sometimes our decisions are inhibited by the politics of our surroundings, and by the market catering to the majority that believe otherwise. And so sometimes those steps for our great Journey have to be made by standing up to those politicians and to the people and making our voices heard. Sometimes environmentalism is hard. 

Pagan Earth Alliance began as an idea. An idea to support you. To stand with you. To help offer better options for you and to educate you. Because we believe that an Earth-based spirituality is just that: Earth-based. And by the gods, we can create change to make it a better Earth!

 

"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect." -Aldo Leopold

 
 

*citations researched by Jillian Ash

Everyday is made up of choices.

All we have to do is make the right ones.

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