Healing Our Culture's
Abuse of the Earth, Part II
FILE OF THIS ARTICLE
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- Healing Our Culture's Abuse of
the Earth (Part 2 of 2)
- by Patricia Dines
- Sonoma County Peace Press, June/July 2011, Page
(c) Copyright, Patricia Dines, 2011. All rights
- In the previous Peace Press, I explored the
idea that we could use the psychological abuse model
to help us steer away from global eco-collapse.
- I define abuse as a mindset where people see
themselves as innately superior, take whatever they
want with no concern for the cost to others, refuse to
take responsibility for the suffering they cause,
punish anyone who doesn't fall in line, and won't
re-examine their approach. Often this dark behavior is
cloaked by charming manipulative stories that hide the
truth until it's too late.
- Doesn't that sound like the way people behave
in so many of our culture's arenas, including the way
we treat the sacred earth?
- So how can we heal this shared abuse mentality
to rescue ourselves and the planet?
I see these key steps:
- 1) Honestly observe our own behavior in abusive
- I feel that abusive dynamics are sustained by
three players -- the abusers, the abused, and the
enablers. We probably all play each of these roles at
- So, for example, we're like abuse victims
when we allow our best interests to be harmed, believe
that we're powerless to stop it, accept the story that
we don't deserve any better, and go along with the
program to avoid conflict.
- We're like enablers when we ignore cries
for help, allow innocents to be injured and
scapegoated, accept charming stories and refuse to see
vital truths, piggyback on abusers' unearned luxury,
blindly obey hierarchy no matter how it behaves, and
require others to do the same.
- And we're like abusers when we build our
own wealth and status in ways that heartlessly
steamroll the well-being of others. We're also abusers
collectively by being part of this culture's excessive
consumption as it undermines the earth's essential
- 2) Decide to shift from abusive to healthy
- For each role we play, we can embody the healing
antidote. So, where we are victims, we can
connect with our inner wisdom, find allies, and learn
to stand up effectively. Where we're enablers,
we can see past the abusers' con games, learn from
victims' truth-telling tales, and help create better
ways. And, where we're abusers, we can take
responsibility for our actions, clean up our messes,
stop benefiting from abuse, and nurture the victims.
These acts of consciousness might seem daunting, but
in my experience they bring unimaginable blessings of
heart, insight, and meaningful progress.
- 3) Learn healthy skills and weed out abusive
thoughts and behavior.
- By working on ourselves first, we better
understand the healing process and its challenges, and
develop the skills needed to engage in constructive,
- There are many books that describe healthy
(functional) approaches, such as Bradshaw's The
Family. I'd say the key principles include:
- a) Caring about others' authentic feelings,
needs, and perspectives as equal to our own;
- b) Seeking win/win solutions that meet the
authentic needs of all players in a dynamic;
- c) Taking responsibility for the results of our
- d) Practicing these principles every day until
they become our new normal.
- 4) Stand up for healthy rules in our families,
groups, communities, and government.
- I believe that applying these principles in our
larger arenas can produce breakthrough positive
results that we now consider impossible. Simply
withdrawing our consent changes the abuse dynamic, and
when we create safe spaces for win/win collaborative
problem solving, we help unleash the creative
solutions needed to generate effective change. This
can also bring us more joy!
- Patricia Dines has been a writer, public
speaker, and educator for over 25 years. For over 15
years, she's specialized in empowering constructive
action on community issues. For more about her work,
- FOR PART I of this article, go to www.patriciadines.info/a_PPHealing0411.html
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patricia Dines has been a professional writer, public speaker,
and graphic artist for over 25 years, serving many thousands of
people through her books, newsletters, articles, workshops, and more.
For the past 15 years, she's specialized in environmental and
community topics, bringing forward useful information that
inspires readers, deepens their understanding, and empowers
constructive action for a better world.
One of her current key projects is the Ask
EcoGirl column, a syndicated eco-advice column with a
geeky superhero twist. She also offers her "insanely useful"
booklet series, with nutrient-dense information on being
green, and provides ongoing eco-information and actions on her
In addition, Ms. Dines is the Editor and Lead Writer of
Next STEP newsletter, which gently educates
readers about everyday toxics and easy effective alternatives. She
also writes regularly for NorthBay biz magazine and other
periodicals, and has written seven books on local organics.
She's been a guest on various TV shows, where she's shared her
cheerful eco-info and tips.
- For more information about Patricia Dines and her
offerings, including her past articles and how she might serve
your periodical or organization, see <www.patriciadines.info>
This entire website is (c)
Patricia Dines, 1998-2011. All rights reserved.
Page last updated 06/03/11