How sustainable living can complete the circle of life
The year was 1859 when renowned thinker and biologist Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution in the book, ‘On The Origin Of Species’. Fast forward to a few centuries later, and his learnings still hold true as new species evolve from older ones to maintain balance in the universe. This cyclical evolution of beings is often referred to as the circle of life, a phenomenon that holds deeper cues from anyone seeking to reintroduce balance in their lives and the environment around them.
What is the circle of life?
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to be seen than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
Some say, “Eat or be eaten”
Some say, “Live and let live”
But all are agreed as they join the stampede
You should never take more than you give
In the circle of life
It’s the wheel of fortune
It’s the leap of faith
It’s the band of hope
‘Til we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle, the circle of life
There’s a good chance that the words ‘circle of life’ inspire a flashback to this poetic verse from the beloved classic, The Lion King. The circle of life is the term bestowed upon nature’s ability to take and give life back to earth. Natural ecosystems are designed as a complex, interconnected web with millions of species thriving in co-existence. When one dies, another takes life in its place, thereby ensuring an infinite flow of energy in the circle. A quick example would be the life cycle of natural beings — after being birthed in soil, living organisms reproduce and eventually die and decay in the soil, where growth occurs once again. And thus, the circle of life is continued as newer organisms take the place of older beings to make for a self-sufficient cycle. Each species has a role to play in the web which is cinched together with an innate sense of balance.
“We do not inherit the land from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.”
This acute sense of balance is tantamount to the premise of a sustainable life. As proved in the Native American proverb stated above, the concept of introducing balance in our lives is predicated on the belief that we must achieve our own needs without sacrificing the capability of our future generations to do the same. Balance becomes key to ensure that overconsumption and unchecked utilisation of resources won’t compromise the future generations’ potential to lead a stable, happy life.
How to complete the circle of life with sustainable living
Much like the circle of life occurs in nature, the same applies to material goods in our possession. It is essential to understand that material goods have a life cycle of their own as well — one that lasts long after we have discarded it. Consider this: A single plastic bottle of water can take up to 450 years to decompose. It is manufactured in bulk at factories, packaged in more plastic, delivered to retail outlets via diesel engines and eventually sold in plastic bags (that take another 500 years of their own to decompose). All of this for a plastic water bottle that is meant to be discarded after one single use. Now, do a quick count back to the starting of this day and take note of how many instances of single-use plastic you’ve indulged in already.
The circular economy imagines an ideal world where products are reached back to the manufacturer after they are used. Biodegradable parts would be contributed to agricultural activities while mechanical elements could be recycled to generate new products. Much like how living organisms are born from and return back to earth in nature, all material goods would also be rebirthed over and over again, thereby negating the need for producing ones and eventually, easing the burden from the environment. This can be supplemented by consciously making the decision to opt for biodegradable goods so that we can ensure whatever we take from the earth will also go back to it and maintain equilibrium in our consumption cycle.
The Earth Circle was born from a desire to live in a more balanced world, one where we don’t just take from the environment, but also give back in full measure. When you choose to make your lifestyle sustainable, you are contributing to the circle of life to ensure that all beings can exist in harmony and balance for generations to come. And it all starts with one simple choice.