“The bounty of the earth is for the community, not the individual.”
-Deborah Adele
Humans unconsciously take from the earth. People buy more than they need and oftentimes, products have extra packaging which creates more waste. This waste ends up in landfills and outdoors, often containing materials that take a very long time to biodegrade. Corporations and governments take ownership of land and natural resources with a focus on creating wealth rather than supporting people and the natural world. These are gross examples of how humans steal from the earth, others, and themselves.
Our language uses terminology like “I, me, mine” emphasizing possession. Modern humans claim ownership over land, natural resources, people, and many other things. Deborah Adele suggests that if “…we view everything in our possession as something precious that is on loan to us. And for the time that it is on loan to us, we are asked to care for it.”

This week, view your possessions, body, and natural resources as “on loan”. Ask yourself these questions and consider writing down your answers:

  • What actions can you take to create a smaller footprint?
  • What possessions do you own multiples of?
  • Your body is sustained by the earth and natural resources. How do you steal from your physical body and the earth simultaneously?
  • When using utilities (water, electricity, heat, gas, etc), is there a way to use less?
  • What if each time you take something, you give something of value back to the earth or a community member?

Ways to practice Asteya in relation to the earth:

  • Bring reusable silverware with you everywhere. Keep it in your bag or car and choose to use stop using disposable silverware or use it less often
  • Carry a reusable coffee mug and/or water bottle at all times
  • Choose to stop using plastic straws. Purchase a reusable metal or bamboo straw to bring with you
  • Take smaller portions of food, knowing you can get a second helping if you need it
  • Walk, bike, carpool, or use public transit when possible
  • Choose to purchase products that are local, organic, and made with primarily recycled materials, use products and containers that are biodegradable.
  • Bring reusable bags with you everywhere, including vacation. Stop using plastic bags as much as possible.
  • Give away unused clothing and home items to shelters and organizations that distribute donated items free of charge to those in need.Purchase second hand clothing and housewares, creating less demand for production of new items in the manufacturing market.Consider how your purchases and actions will affect the next seven generations of people, plants, animals, oceans, forests, lakes, etc.
    Is it a necessity or a desire? Identify when you’re choosing to purchase an item based need versus desire.

Gaby Goldberg
Gaby is one of the lead faculty in our upcoming Yoga Teacher Training. Join Gaby for classes on Thursdays for Vinyasa I/II 5:45-7pm, or Friday’s Community Class 4:30-5:30pm.

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