Metta-care: saving our coral reefs

Our oceans are in big trouble. Not only are they increasingly polluted with chemicals and dangerous trash, such as plastics, their very nature is being changed by increasing CO2 levels and warming of the water.

Few places are more sensitive to this increase in water temperature and decrease in pH (popularly called ocean acidification) than the world’s coral reefs. Some experts say that as much as 19% of ocean reefs have already been destroyed. And it’s only getting worse, as I explain in my “extreme science” post today called:

“Global Warming and the Loss of Earth’s Coral Reefs.”

Because the problem is so big—yes, global—and because we humans rarely change habitual ways of doing things until absolutely forced to do so, it’s easy to get discouraged. But for this very reason, and precisely because human beings are in fact the cause of global warming and most environmental destruction on Earth, we can’t afford not to do everything in our power to help bring about change.

Cultivating qualities that help bring change

Political, social, and economic change can be greatly enhanced and strengthened by the qualities of compassion, mindfulness, equanimity, and loving-kindness that we bring to our efforts to save the planet from ourselves. And of course, as followers of this blog know, I’m an advocate of directed, radiant metta towards every problem and pain we face.

If you feel the urgency of this problem of global warming, and related environmental issues, I hope you will join me in ongoing metta for our stressed ecosystems and the beings that live in them. Perhaps hardest of all, those very people who stand in the way of meaningful change need our metta too.

At the bottom of almost everything we dislike in ourselves and in others comes some from sort of fear about self—about “me” and “mine.” Whether or not we think another’s fear is justified, or deluded and self-serving, doesn’t matter. Ignorance and fear is the enemy; not other people. And nothing gets at our aversion to others and their shortcomings like metta.

Metta to help our reefs

If you already have a metta practice, then you know what to do. We have to start with loving-kindness toward our own fear and anger. And then, as we gain the presence and spaciousness of love, expand the circle of our love and compassion. If the idea of metta is new to you, you’ll find plenty of helpful instruction at this site. You might want to start with the “Metta Resources” page.

The main thing is that we don’t become complacent or give up to despair. Trillions of beings, little and big, depend on what we do as environmental stewards of this planet. Our metta practice can help us bring more light and less “heat” to the problem of global warming, blessing our own lives and changing societies and governments as well.

Countless reef creatures, like this dear Blenny fish, are depending on us to care enough to act and think with love and wisdom and to help save our reefs.  What will we do?

Blenny Fish -

About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

3 Responses to “Metta-care: saving our coral reefs”

  1. I suppose that it’s a bit of a tangent, but a comment on one of my blog posts a while back opened my eyes to something that I hadn’t been aware of–that there is a belief among some Christians that what we do to the earth we’ve been given is inconsequential, and that (to quote): “The earth was made for man by God and for man it will continue to function until God says time’s up, Jesus will come back and eventually we’ll get a new earth and God will get a new heaven and all will be cool.” I hadn’t realized that there was an actual set of beliefs (or excuses) along those lines… My response was:

    “…the things we’ve been given by God are incredibly beautiful gifts to be cherished and protected and shown the love and respect that they deserve, being God’s creations (that includes the environment, living things, and, of course, everyone around us). When you’re given a gift–especially one from God–you don’t knock the hell out of it like a spoiled child and then expect that you’ll just get another one on your birthday. No wise parent would put up with that, and God is no doubt the wisest parent.”

    I don’t know if it made a difference, but at least now I understand something that I didn’t understand before.

    Yes–mega metta!


    • Brilliant! Couldnt’ agree more. I’ve loved seeing the fairly recent appearing of a “green” consciousnes among some more conservative Chiristians….the idea that we are stewards of what God has given us. This isn’t a new idea in Christianity, but it’s one a lot of American evangelical and fundamentalist Christians lost sight of in their Americanized Christianity. May their tribe increase! We need all the help we can get


  1. Avatar-A Movie that Inspires Loving-kindness « Metta Refuge - 2010/02/01

    […] Metta-care: saving our coral reefs […]

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