Rejoicing in the Earth and giving back to Mother Nature

Both Tantra and Taoism point to the power of Mother Nature as a spiritual doorway, a healer and a part of our intrinsic identity. The globally renowned photographer Sebastião Salgado[1] captured the suffering of humankind and the Earth in his various photo collections. He used photography as a medium to document starvation in the Sahel region of Africa, genocide in Rwanda, the plight of internally displaced persons in various countries, and the burning oil fields of Kuwait – to name just a few of the hugely distressing subject matters he covered. Following years of photographic documentation of these kinds of human and environmental tragedies, Salgado was at the point of giving up his work. As a result of all the horrific situations he had witnessed and experienced, he felt worn out, deluded, depressed, without hope. Fortunately, he eventually regained a sense of inspiration. His salvation came from Mother Nature. He decided to photograph the outstanding beauty of the Earth – wildlife, landscapes and seascapes – as well as the joyful and meaningful existence of indigenous peoples. He remained true to his calling, namely, the raison d’être of his photographic documentary work was to raise public awareness about critically important global issues, in this case the environment and climate change; however, he chose to do this through the lens of the blessing that nature provides to humanity, rather than to focus on the destruction of the Earth through human ignorance, greed, etc.

In addition, Salgado’s wife had the inspirational idea of replanting the rainforest on the land in Brazil where he had spent his childhood. The ground there, around the Salgado family home, had been totally eroded from years of heavy deforestation that had been carried out in the name of development. The Salgados planted more than one million trees, which resulted in nothing less than an environmental miracle: the moribund rainforest came back to life and underground water sources re-emerged. The Salgados had given back to their Mother Earth that which had been grotesquely taken from her by human beings desperately lacking in awareness.

Sam Red, 21 July 2015

 [1] See for example the 2014 film “Le Sel de la Terre” (Salt of the Earth).

2 thoughts on “Rejoicing in the Earth and giving back to Mother Nature

    • Thanks Amitav. From your writings, I know nature is important to you also. Mainstream humanity regularly resorts to “dominating” nature (or at least trying to). I hope we can one day, instead, assume our role as “guardians” of the earth and her natural resources – animal, vegtable and mineral. Warmest greetings, Sam

      Liked by 1 person

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