Every Thursday I post a quote or thought for all of us to ponder. Today’s quote is from humanitarian, Lynn Twist, pictured on the right with me in Fairfield, Iowa.
“When a tree falls in Brazil, there is less oxygen in Ohio.”
Lynn is the bestselling author of The Soul of Money and co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance. I had the privilege of taking a long walk with Lynn and my visiting friend and New York Times best selling author, Marci Shimoff, on the walking trails along the lake in my hometown of Fairfield, Iowa. Lynn was visiting our town because she was receiving the Mayor Malloy’s humanitarian award. I found Lynn to be the most genuine down-to-earth yet global thinker I’ve ever met.
Lynn has spent more than three decades working in positions of leadership with many global initiaves including: ending world hunger, protecting the woldks rainforests, empowering indigenous peoples, inproving health, economic, and political conditions for women and children, and advancing the scientific understanding of human consciousness.
She has had many teachers in her life. In addition to being trained by Mother Theresa, some of Lynn’s great teachers are the people she meets in third world countries. For instance, she traveled to Ethiopia during the 1984 famine that killed 1 million people.
I know it’s important in our growth to happiness, not to label everyone. She encouraged us not to label anyone as poor. “They are intelligent, creative, resilient human beings. They exhibit more courage in a day than most of us will need in a lifetime. The human spirit cannot be suppressed. Their desire to feed their children would inspire any one of us. Don’t label someone as rich as it holds them to a certain expectation.”
During the 1984-85 Ethiopian famine, she sat with 7 women in a circle after they all had lost their children to the famine. This is incomprehensible to me but one of the mothers had lost all 11 of her children. The healing circle began with each mother telling the story in detail about the death of each child. First her 16 year old, then 12 year old, down to her 11th child who died at her breast. After each telling, the group of 8 in the circle would wail and grieve for each child. They began to make a commitment to create a new life from a seemingly impossible situation. Today those 7 previously illiterate women have finished school all the way through college. Four have graduate degrees, two are lawyers, and three are ministers in government.
If they can do that, we can do anything! So, if we say they are poor, we diminish them and ourselves.
Her focus now with the Pachamama Alliance is to prevent the destruction of the world’s tropical rainforests. As stated on the Pachamama Alliance website, “The desctruction of the tropical rainforests has reached global proportions. Alarm about the extinction of species, the permanent loss of potentially life-saving medicinal plants, the irreversible damage to the delicate balance of the Earth’s climate control system and the tragic disappearance of indigenous cultures has captured the attention of millions of people around the world.”
“When a tree falls in Brazil, there is less oxygen in Ohio.” We are all family connected on a deeper level than we can imagine. Continued from the Pachamama Alliance site, “After centuries of living in harmony with their environment, indigenous cultures see things very differently. They are informed and guided by the knowledge and spirit imbedded in nature. Rather than viewing the natural world as a collection of separate elements from which humans are apart, they recognize all of creation as an interconnected web, and each of us as an integral element in this miraculous and fragile weave of life. The Pachamama Alliance believes that our ability to meet the challenges that face humanity as we make the transition to the next millennium, depends on our ability to successfully combine the best elements of these two worldviews into a single global vision, an alloy that blends the intellectual and scientific prowess of the modern world, with the deep and ancient wisdom of traditional cultures. This is the commitment which underlies the work of The Pachamama Alliance.” For further insight into the Amazon Rainforest, see this Amazon site.
Did you know that 3.5 billion people live on less than $2/day in a world of opulence? Lynn’s vision is to re allocate world’s finances from fear to love. That’s what she calls fund raising!
Here’s to catching ourselves when we want to label. Here’s to Global support to end world hunger and devastation of our rainforest.
Have you traveled to indigenous areas? Are you a facilitator with Pachamama Alliance?
You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided author credit is included.