Roger: There is a new book by Edward O. Wilson called, The Concilience. In the final chapter he describes the stress the human population is putting on the Earth. What does the ancient wisdom tell us about our relationship with Mother Earth?

Paula: To understand Earth as nurturing Ė rather than us in charge. You respect she or he who nurtures you. In my tradition itís Mother Earth and Father Sun because both Earth and Air are critical. Air is considered food. You would no more dirty the air than dip your food in tar.

If your system is not self-sustaining, you need to redesign it. Once you start extracting ore or cutting trees faster than they will self-replace, you are mining the Earth . . . no longer living with it. We have developed a non-self-sustaining system, which means two things. We will either totally destroy Earth as nurturer or we will crash into the wall and learn. Iíd like to think it is going to be the latter.

Roger: Are you hopeful?

Paula: I donít expect anything other than that which then happens. In my tradition you do the best you can to foresee . . . to warn yourself and others about possible oncoming circumstance. But that goes hand in glove with accepting it as it evolves. So I donít ďhopeĒ human beings sustain themselves. If we donít smarten up we have no right to sustain ourselves.

Roger: But it is going to take new ways of thinking.

Paula: They arenít new; they have been here for thousands of years. Self-organizing
systems . . . honoring Earthís diversity . . . respecting the needs of Earth herself. Itís going to take respect, self-wisdom, honor . . . all of those things. But, weíre capable.