10/25/2013 12:14 pm ET | Updated Dec 25, 2013

Awakening... becoming aware of our essential self... of our connection to and inclusion in the living tissue of nature is the first step on the path to environmental recovery and the primary focus of this blog. In a very real sense, the denial of man's essential connection to nature paves the road to environmental collapse.

Last week when I arrived at my favorite beach in Honolulu, I could not avoid overhearing a discussion between several people who were sitting on the sand next to me. Their conversation sort of went like this:

"I'm so glad that they finally passed a ban on smoking on our beautiful little beach."
"Absolutely! People might finally start realizing that this is their beach and that they need to take care of it."
"Hey, they might even start waking up to the reality that we need to manage our world better before it's completely ruined."

Wow, I thought, the ban on smoking is great. Bravo! The politicians have passed a law that protects the environment, perhaps, even going a bit contrary to a segment of the tourism and retailing monolith that might see a loss of revenue as an outcome of such a law. Then I reflected on the conversation I overheard from my beach neighbors. They liked the law and would respect it... but... their beach... manage our world. Really?

Something, it occurred to me, is very wrong with this picture and it goes to the absolute heart of the matter. Are we truly the owners and masters of this world?

It seems odd that we could maintain and balance this view... to see ourselves as the most intelligent, highly evolved, superior life form and... at the same time, to know, beyond doubt, that we have brought an entire living world... our host environment, to a point of ruin and non sustainability. In the face of this epic contradiction we still labor under the fictional belief that the world was (and is) an inexhaustible warehouse of expendable resources, provided for our exclusive and unaccountable use, to do with as we please as though it had no meaning independent of our needs, whims and pleasure. We fashioned ourselves as little versions of gods who created us in their image when, in fact, it was we who created the gods in our image.

Can the accelerating momentum of environmental decline be broken without exposing and replacing the underlying beliefs and mindset that fuel the engine of human destruction? Is it possible to finally wake up now, when It is unavoidably clear that our history of identifying with and attempting to navigate an unreal world simply failed? Our brief reign as masters of the world is proving to be nothing less than suicidal. Yet, here we are, without a clue, on the eve of extinction, wondering: what went wrong? Why are so many humans disconnected from obvious realities that even the simplest life forms grasp instinctively and unequivocally?

Again, awakening means allowing a growing awareness of our essential connection to all life, to the universe itself, to gradually prevail, as our primary navigational device, as the lens through which we see the world. This can be the only true fix.

It is strongly emphasized that this is not a commentary concerned with good and bad, right and wrong but exclusively with issues of survival and extinction, of evolutionary paths and choices. To say that humanity took a wrong turn or plotted a course using faulty navigation is not to apply moral judgment or blame. It is simply to conclude that human history has unfolded on a path leading to its possible extinction. In an evolutionary sense, this would constitute an unsuccessful choice; no more no less.

Much of the text of this blog was excerpted or paraphrased from Joseph Carlisi's book, "Playing God on the Eve of Extinction," which is available from Amazon: )
His paintings can be viewed at: