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Post: January 2019
Update: April 2019

Be A Change Maker with Nature,
Your Partner in Life's Garden

A message from Machaelle,
written and shared by Jeannette and Beth


Machaelle showed up at the office for coffee, having been hit with a moment of clarity and urgency about our environmental disaster and climate change. For anyone who has just read her new book, Pivot, you can surely understand why she asked us to write this message for her. (Machaelle's writing fingers temporarily abandonded her to relax on tropical beach. They promise they'll return, but she doesn't know when!)

What Machaelle had to say was in part triggered by Sir David Attenborough's remarks to the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Referring to climate change and the speed with which humans have created vast environmental damage and climate instability, Sir Attenborough said: "If people can truly understand what is at stake, I believe they will give permission to business and governments to get on with the practical solutions. And as a species we are expert problem-solvers. But we haven't yet applied ourselves to this problem with the focus it requires."

One of Sir Attenborough's remarks jolted Machaelle: ". . . as a species we are expert problem-solvers." She said, "Humans are expert problem-solvers? You've got to be kidding!"

First off, we humans could stand to have a little humility. To say humans are the experts who can solve the massive environmental crisis that we happened to create for ourselves in a head-spinning short span of time is a smidge arrogant. For one thing, balance is the major ingredient needed in every solution that is required for turning around the crisis. And humans know nothing about balance.

One of Machaelle's favorite words is iatrogenic. If you've never heard the word before, now's a perfect time to learn it. Iatrogenic refers to the adverse effects, unforeseen outcomes and complications that result from a medical treatment. We set out to fix a problem and our "fix" causes a new and different problem. Sir Attenborough said in Davos: "I was born during the Holocene — the 12,000-year period of climatic stability that allowed humans to settle, farm and create civilisations. That led to trade in ideas and goods, and made us the globally connected species we are today. That stability allowed businesses to grow, nations to cooperate and people to share ideas," Attenborough explained, before warning somberly, "In the space of my lifetime, all that has changed. The Holocene has ended. The Garden of Eden is no more. We have changed the world so much that scientists say we are in a new geological age — the Anthropocene, the age of humans."

Machaelle points out that if humans want to continue to control the solutions to climate change, the new era we are entering should be called "Iatrogenicene" because the human-dominated solutions will lack balance and only bring on never-ending new problems to solve.


branch 7.5 Billion Change-Makers

Back to Attenborough and the next point. To suggest that the answer to climate change is for "people to understand what is at stake and give permission to business and governments to get on with the practical solutions." . . . Well, this too misses the mark.

It gives all of our individual power and responsibility away and it certainly won't solve the problem. Attenborough was speaking to a small group of financiers, corporate leaders and government representatives. It is true that they all need to get off their collective butts and do something. But there are over 7.5 billion people who are not part of that group and who seriously outnumber those fine and well-intentioned folks at the World Economic Forum. How we live our lives plays a major role in causing the very problems we seek to address. It's the 7.5 billion people who have to make and demand changes that will solve those problems. It boils down to you, to us — to the individual.

An insightful and courageous sixteen-year-old activist, Greta Thunberg, also spoke in Davos: "So we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future. They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again. We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. The people will rise to the challenge."

Greta gets it. She gets that we individuals have the power to make the change needed. We just need to recognize and believe it. Then use our power and act.

Ms. Thunberg concluded in another talk, "We've had thirty years of pep-talking and selling positive ideas. And I'm sorry, but it doesn't work. Because if it would have, the [CO2] emissions would have gone down by now. They haven't. . . . Yes, we do need hope. Of course, we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere."

If this young woman, diagnosed with Aspergers, OCD and selective mutism, can get past the overwhelm caused by the enormity and complexity of the climate change problem, and step up and do something with her power, then each of us can certainly move past our overwhelm and do our part.

Honestly, it's going to take both industry and individuals to turn this around. We can't sit back and leave it to industry, politicians and scientists to solve it for us.


branch Commit to the Right Side of History

You made the choice to put what Perelandra offers in your life. You are reading this message from us, so clearly you get it too. We don't have to convince you of the urgency. But we do want to help alleviate the overwhelm, which we recognize as a major hurdle we each have to deal with, and give you some simple tools and steps to take.

Machaelle is asking each of us to commit to being on the right side of history about this. Commit to living a life that doesn't add to the climate change problems but instead adds to real solutions. It doesn't matter if your family laughs at you when you make changes in your life that go against the norm, or if your co-workers think you're an over-the-top tree-hugger and roll their eyes when you ask them to recycle that soda can they just threw in the trash. At the end, we want to be able to say to ourselves and our children: We were on the right side of history. We took responsibility for changing our patterns and rhythms which resulted in a life that added balance to the larger picture rather than perpetuating the problem.

Often we here at Perelandra say: "Nature has the solutions." However, that statement alone isn't particularly useful to you. So we'd like to give it context and explain what that means.

For every solution to a problem to have strength, power and stability, it must have balance. So for every decision we make in life, every change we implement, we have to include nature to provide the solution's balance. Nature knows balance. If we don't include nature, we will make decisions that we think should be made based on our own more limited knowledge and understanding. These decisions are what Machaelle calls "human think." They are human-dominant solutions. It's obvious our human-think decisions haven't worked out too well over the years. Ironically, what Sir Attenborough, the world-renowned expert on nature, didn't include in his address in Davos was nature and the unique balance that nature provides for any action or activity.

To do what Machaelle is urging, it is important to take small steps, be patient and have guts. When you bring in nature and ask (for example), "What cleaning products do I use in my kitchen?" nature's first answer is not the final answer. It isn't telling you these are the cleaning products you are to use in your kitchen for the rest of your life. Instead, nature is saying these are the cleaners you should use in order to provide an initial balance in your kitchen now. The cleaners they suggest may not be what you were expecting. This is where guts come in. We have to have the guts to put aside our intellect and accept that maybe nature knows something we don't know. The first step is just that — step #1.

Nature works with balanced timing and will gradually bring you and your kitchen to balance one small step at a time. To adjust your kitchen cleaning for different variables like changes in who is using the kitchen, what activity is going on and how you have changed, you must continue these incremental steps with nature. Once the first step seats into place and when the time is right, ask the question again, "What cleaning products do I use in my kitchen now?" Nature provides the information you need to raise the balance of your kitchen to the next level. When this second step is in place and the time is right, ask the question again and act on the new information. The magic in this is noticing the differences in your kitchen each time you and nature bring the kitchen up to the next level of balance.

In short, you are building balance. You are allowing nature to take you on a balance journey that will enhance the planet, not damage it. You will experience nature leading you as you gradually and carefully unwind the imbalanced aspects (all those iatrogenic "solutions" that have been applied to it over the years) and rewind it in balance. Now is the time to commit yourself to this journey.


branch Nature, Your Partner in Life's Garden

Machaelle suggests you set up simply and consider your life a Gut Garden. The Perelandra Garden Workbook tells you how to set up a Gut Garden and how to work with nature. It's the easiest partnership setup she offers. Although the Workbook steps for Gut Gardening are set up for plants, you only need to take the Gut Gardening approach and principles and apply them to any aspect of your life. We're not talking about the more complex setup we use for "soil-less gardening." When gently weaving nature into the various aspects of daily life in an ongoing basis, Gut Gardening is the easier way to go.

To learn Gut Gardening, you can put in a little 3-foot-square garden or start a couple of clay pots. This is your training ground. From there you can choose a simple aspect of your life and, using what you've learned, set it up as a Gut Garden. Start asking questions, start making changes and start taking the needed steps that will lead you in the direction of balance in that area. When you see what this will give you, you'll want to apply Gut Gardening and your partnership to other areas of your life.


branch Be a Consumer Warrior

Part of being on the right side of history is to understand you are in the power seat as a consumer interfacing with business and industry. Remember, it's your money. Don't spend it on anything that adds to the climate change problem. Every time you make a purchase, you are in control. You have the power to say to each business, "If you want my money, you have to make the product correctly and environmentally sound." Simply by saying "you aren't taking my money" to those industries and businesses who are part of the problem, puts you in charge. Nothing changes a company faster than the realization that what they are offering is being rejected and their profits have plunged. So don't be afraid to be a consumer warrior!

Here are suggestions on how to get started:

Don't try to take on every single decision in your life all at once. Start with one aspect.

  • Which cleaning products do I use in my kitchen?
  • Which lettuce, which carrots, which butter or which meat do I buy?
  • Where do I get my groceries?
  • Where do I buy my clothes?

Pick one thing. Make the change. When you have that in place, go to the next thing.


branch Remember: Your goal is to get to the end of your life and be able to say to yourself: "Yes. I did it. I was on the right side of history. For the planet, for the environment, for nature, for humankind — I chose the right side." That's no small thing.

Thanks for being part of our Perelandra Warrior Team,
Machaelle, Beth and Jeannette


P.S. If you haven't yet met Greta Thunberg, you will want to. (And where have you been?!) Her 2018 TED talk on climate change is remarkable. It will inspire and knock you out of your overwhelm. Also watch and listen to her speak to industry leaders in Davos.