Raise your stardard’s and heed the call, the Eco-warriors rise!
Witchcraft, rightly or wrongly, is often conflated with the worship, reverence and general love of nature. Whilst it is true many Witches do revear nature as part of their religion witchcraft itself is a craft, not a religion, and therefore nature worship doesn’t apply or appeal to everyone. Whilst it is fair to say most humans are interested in / aware of ecological issues to some degree or another my identification as a Witch doesn’t make it a requirement that I become a card carrying member of the Green Peace protesting team.
There are issues which appeal to Witches more than maybe others, or maybe should. I mentioned about the ecological issues surrounding crystals and semiprecious stones and how awareness of the issues are not is widespread amongst Witches and new age practitioners as it should be so I am not going to cover that particular issue again. Instead I’m going to look at a couple of other things in brief.
Call of the Warrior
Fracking is a massive issue not just in the UK but around the world. The sustainabilityof this method of extracting natural gas, it’s water consumption, impact on the landscape and water sources are just a few of the questions raised about this protest. This issue appeals to pagans on a number of levels, not least the anamistic belief in the Mother Earth, and the pagan community has reacted to this situation in the form of The Warriors Call This group engage in ritual and protest action in order to both protect the land and stop the trend towards fracking.
Sustainability of energy resources is a broad issue. Carbon based energy sources are not only a finite resource but as avalible dwindles the methods of extraction become increasingly damaging to the environment. Campaigns about pollution and deforestation are linked by association to carbon fuel, as is the ecological balance of the oceans.
There are so many interconnecting examples of cause and effect around energy sustainability that it dizzying, and people are drawn to different causes based on the way they connect with them. I want to move on to another area before I get too bogged down….
Animal Rights and Sustainability
One big conflict that often appears in forums is the use of animal remains in Witchcraft and the debate as to whether or not all Witches should be Vegetarians. Opinions vary on both subjects with some finding animal remains integral to their practice whilst others find it an offense. Let’s take each aspect in turn.
Fox hunting and badger culls are just two examples of animal welfare issues that pagans may become involved in. The issues usually revolve around animal cruelty and the necessity of the cull in the first place. I am of the opinion that hunting should be done for food and materials only, with the greatest part of the animal used. It is not just a jolly old lark but an act with a purpose, carried out with respect and in a way which is as humane as possible. I also feel that culls are sometimes necessary for the sustainability of the landscape and animal population. Like hunting it should be done as humanely as possible with the animal remains being used as much as possible, and one of my prefered sources for remains is responsible and humane culls. This may not always be possible where a cull relates to infection control but any cull undertake for this reason should be based in clear science and I am not yet convinced about TB in Badgers requiring quite that level of death.
But what about vegetarians and vegans? Well everyone has a right to live their lives in any way they choose. I have no time for militant anything. I think we have a mixed set of dentures and require multiple sources for our dietary needs for a reason. That said I respect that this issue comes from the same anamistic concern as culls and hunts. Although I do think it is carrying it too far to call animals our brothers and sisters (a personal pet hate of mine) but I understand the sentiment. So long as the process is as humane as possible, and in truth there is no perfect slaughter process, then I will have no problem with the beef stew I am having for tea tonight.
The 3 R’s of the New Age
Leave Reading, Writing and Arithmetic at school, the new three R’s are Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If you know any children who like Bob the Builder you’ve probably heard that particular phrase repeated (over and over again!). I think that there has been a recognisable culture of disposal over the last 30 years or so which is slowly being challenged as evidence of its existence, such as landfills and the Atlantic Garbage Patch, growing to the point where they cannot be ignored. It isn’t even something that you only see on the global scale. Fly tipping, littering and unnecessary throwing away of unwanted items are just some of the things that you used to encounter all too regularly in your local area.
Things are getting better. Manufacturers and food producers are more mindful of the packaging they use. Many countries levy plastic bag charges and the use of recycled and reclaimed materials is ever growing. Councils have in place recycling processes for households, though the depth and detail varies from place to pace even country to country. They are increasingly quick to respond illegal tipping, issuing fines and criminal proceedings where possible, and many council tips (at least in my area) have reuse shops and will reclaim as much furniture, clothing and household items as possible. These efforts are positive, but alone they are not enough. These efforts need to be consistent globally and occur in all aspects of life for a real turn around to be achieved. In addition to our personal and local efforts national and international actions need to follow suit.
I am of the opinion that, as members of the human race, we all have a responsibility to protect the planet (and beyond) as much as possible. The form this takes varies from person to person, country to country, based on a whole series of factors. For example I would like an electric car and to have solar panels and a household wind turbine on my roof. The reality is I can do none of these things so I have to address it in different ways such as recycling and upcycle as much as possible, keeping energy use to a minimum and being mindful of a variety of other factors within my control. I sign petitions, donate to worthy causes but for a variety of practical reasons I draw the line at protesting.
Whilst I think we need eco-warriors what we really need is a greater culture of awareness and mindfulness. As adults we are responsible for the earth we leave our children but unless we impart a positive mindset and leave them the begings of the infrastructure needed to allow them to turn things around it will all be for nothing. We have to challenge the established reliance on carbon based fuels and everything that goes with it but this is hard because of the power held by the individuals and companies that benifit from our reliance on oil and gas.
This is why we need warriors, but there is no point having people who can talk the talk but aren’t carrying through in other areas which is why a greater culture of mindfulness is needed, particularly amongst those who do claim to be nature worshiping. This relates strongly to a subject I have highlighted in the part around the treatment of ancient sites and monuments Just as you cannot claim to revere ancient sites and damage them by anointing with oil or chipping/removing stones you cannot honour the earth by leave non – biodegradable materials laying around after your ritual / protest, it’s just a smidge hypocritical if you ask me. I would rather have a community of aware, mindful people rather than a collection of warriors with their eye always on the next battle, not the one just fought.
Current Political Uncertainty
The 9th of November is another day in American Politics with the potential to go down in infamy. Originally I intended to leave politics out of this post but with the elevation of Donald J Trump to role of President-Elect it became impossible to avoid.
Until that point the biggest nation in the world was on board with efforts to address climate change and broad ranging ecological issues. Now they have a POTUS who is a firm climate change denier willing to promote the interests of business above climate This, as with many things represented by this incoming Commander in Chief, shakes me to the core. The issues associated with climate change are huge and for America not to be on board, as one of the largest consumers of fossil fuels and resources in general, may be the defining point in our attempts to create a sustainable future for our children. This may be a turning point for this issue as it is with so many others put at risk by a Trump Presidency.