→ Transcript | Youtube (coming soon)
The Climate Revolution podcast episode 7:
‘Fostering of an ecological awakening’
“Vita is the belief that nature is sacred,” explains Guy Lane, who founded the new religion Vita in 2001. He sees it as a new way of thinking and talking about our relationship to the Earth and to each other. The Vita Religion is based on the belief that all life is interconnected and that we have a responsibility to care for the planet.
“The environment movement has many many people who are already motivated – motivated spiritually,” Guy says. They just don’t call it that. “If people are spiritually motivated to protect the planet, they will go the extra yard. So through spirituality is this pathway for profound, radical, rapid personal behaviour change. That’s what I’m trying to tease out. So we want to have programs that awaken people spiritually to nature, and create the framework for them to go forward as powerful agents of change,” explains Guy in this podcast interview.
The Vita Religion has a number of unique beliefs and practices. One of the most notable beliefs is that humans are not separate from nature, but rather an integral part of it. This belief leads to a deep respect for all life and a commitment to living in harmony with the natural world.
“We are not exclusive. We’re not trying to stop people being Christians, for instance. We just want them to adopt a reverence for nature. That is what it is about.”
The number of followers of ecospirituality and green spirituality recognising the interconnectedness of all life on Earth is said to be growing, and they are having a significant impact on the global conversation about sustainability and social justice.
The values which Vita Religion shares with many of the ecospirituality and green spirituality are the respect for nature, a commitment to sustainability, and a belief in the interconnectedness of all life. Vita has a number of practices that are designed to help people connect with nature and with their spiritual selves. These practices include meditation, yoga, and spending time in nature. The religion also emphasises the importance of service to others and to the planet.
“If we are going to persist with religions, we really need a religion devoted to the living planet. All institutions have brought us to the point of climate and ecological collapse. Everything needs to be reviewed, and then reinvented to make it sustainable.”Guy Lane, founder of Vita Religion
. . .
Guy Lane is a Brisbane-based environmental scientist, and a writer. Guy holds a Bachelor of Environmental Science with Honors from Griffith University. He has written nine fiction novels and two non-fiction books.’
The interview with Guy Lane was conducted via Zoom on 21 October 2023.
→ 12 page booklet: vitasapien.org/vita-religion
Podcast content – in order of appearance
00:14-00:26 Bird song in East Geelong
00:20-00:32 Guy Lane: “Nature is sacred”
00:38-01:06 Mik Aidt: Introduction
01:06-01:12 Movie clip: Marvel: “How bad is it?”
01:12-01:33 António Guterres, United Nations General-Secretary: “We are hurdling towards disaster.”
01:44-01:51 Movie clip: Marvel, Thor: Kaorg speaks to Thor about revolution
01:51-01:53 “The climate revolution”
01:56-02:23 Mik Aidt: “Survival of all life”
02:23-02:34 Guy Lane: “A revolution in spiritual affairs”
02:36-04:09 Mik Aidt
04:10-04:31 Movie clip: Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “You seek the holy grail…”
04:58-05:19 Mik Aidt: “Guy Lane is an environmental scientist…”
05:20-06:03 Guy Lane: “Room of Vita”
06:05-06:15 Mik: “This is a journey really worth exploring…”
06:15-10:18 Guy Lane: “Billions of years, multiple religions…”
10:21-10:28 Movie clip: Marvel, The Avengers: “All personel: Evacuation order…”
10:28-10:52 Movie clip: ‘Black Sails’ Netflix series season 1 episode 4 at 39:50: “They will say that it was inevitable.”
12:21-13:20 Gilbert Rochecouste: “Sacred activism”
13:22-14:06 Mik Aidt
14:06-14:15 Movie clip: Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “I have seen the grail!”
14:16-14:50 Guy Lane: “Environment movement”
14:57-15:28 Mik Aidt
15:31-32:27 Guy Lane
32:27-32:49 Movie clip: Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy: “I have a plan”
33:03-1:04:37 Guy Lane
1:04:37-1:07:21 Movie clip: Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy: “To give a sh*t, for once”
1:07:19-1:09:01 Mik Aidt
1:09:02-1:09:04 Tadhg: “What we need is a revolution”
1:09:08-1:09:27 Mik Aidt
1:09:28-1:09:33 Jose Ramos: “What is my role and my place?”
1:09:34-1:09:27 Mik Aidt
1:10:26-1:10:45 David Attenborough, excerpt from BBC’s ‘Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World’: “There just could be a change in moral attitude from people world-wide, politicians world-wide, to see that self-interest is for the past, common interest is for the future.”
1:10:53-1:11:09 The Kookaburra laughs
00:00-00:55 Travelog: ‘Savannah’
00:10-00:41 Kemble Piano, East Geelong, private recording (also 02:55-3:20)
01:10-01:25 Alex Aidt: ‘Icecream’ (also 04:31-04:57 and 1:09:24-1:10:25)
01:49-01:55 Twin Musicom: ‘A Dream Within a Dream’ (also 37:16-37:47)
01:55-02:25 El Secreto: ‘Yung Logos’ (also 04:55-05:20)
02:25-02:54 Louis Wilson: ‘Droplets’
03:24-04:10 Travelog: ‘Nubian Tragedy’ (also 32:43-34:10)
05:20-06:17 Serge Pavkin: ‘Dawn’
06:19-08:10 Density & Time: ‘Ether-Real’
10:47-13:10 Serge Pavkin: ‘Reflections On Life’
13:20-14:05 Aakash Gandhi: ‘Waterfall’
14:49-15:53 Hang Massive: ‘Heritage of Queens and Kings’
1:09:44-1:09:27 ‘New Oddyssey’
Paul Hawken: Regeneration can restore a broken world
“Today, there are no more mockingbirds where I grew up. The frogs are gone too. In the past two hundred years, humans have erased half of all life on Earth. Biological chaos is climate chaos. To reverse the crisis requires reciprocity, giving more than we take. When reciprocity prevails, everyone benefits. When absent, injustice prevails. Regeneration means stitching together the broken strands that separate us from life and one another. The way to heal a system is to connect more of it to itself. This is true of an immune system, ecosystem, or social system.”Paul Hawken
“People say: “There’s a fight on our hands — a fight for our children’s future! How can you be so irresponsible?” As a martial artist, ex-doorman and someone who’s been in a few violent confrontations I can tell you with certainty that if there is a fight, it’s not the angry, anxious person who wins. It’s the person who is very, very calm. (…) We can’t all join a five-day protest and we’re not all ready to sit in a circle and talk about our feelings but that’s not what’s being asked of us. The invitation is to start building the new society from inside each of us.”
~ Max St John, ex-business leader, international leadership consultant, trainer and facilitator
→ The Conversation – 18 October 2023:
Have we reached the end of nature? Our relationship with the environment is in crisis
“Ecologists are recognizing that “othering” the natural world is meaningless, and the study of natural processes has to include those modified by mankind. Indeed, the idea of ourselves as distinct from all non-humans is considered by some to be the fundamental driver of our current planetary crisis.”
→ Network for Business Sustainability / Medium – 18 October 2023:
Questioning Our Beliefs to Change Unsustainable Behaviors
“A business scholar and a parenting coach explain how gaining awareness can provide new opportunities to address the climate crisis.”
→ Climate Foresight – 30 October 2023:
Towards a nature-positive economy
” ‘We need now to integrate private sector actors, take advantage of innovative technologies and AI, and train future generations.’ Healthy and well-managed ecosystems provide a range of services that support climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. The achievements and upcoming priorities when it comes to nature-based solutions in the words of Nathalie Doswald.”
This wonderful example by Nicola Curtin demonstrates the ethos & framing of #COP28 necessary to address climate change. Competitive & callous self-interest is not an immutable human characteristic. Care, compassion, fairness, trust & integrity are the norms we need to foster. pic.twitter.com/CFgG2MnKUK— Kevin Anderson (@KevinClimate) November 13, 2023
Unless someone like YOU CARES a whole awful lot,— Linda J. Crane (@EarthKeeper22) November 6, 2023
Nothing is going to get BETTER, IT'S NOT… Dr Seuss
The biggest challenge we face as a species is shifting human consciousness, learning to become caretakers & guardians of Earth in order to protect & sustain the health &… pic.twitter.com/7z42aqBbry
“The world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point.”
~ Pope Francis
→ Inside Climate News – 5 October 2023:
Pope Francis: ‘Irresponsible’ Western Lifestyles Push the World to ‘the Breaking Point’ on Climate
“The 86-year-old leader of the 1.3 billion-member Catholic Church bluntly urges more aggressive action to curb emissions at the next U.N. climate meeting in eight weeks.”
Charles III opens Parliament for the first time on Tuesday . This is the #KingsSpeech we need to hear .— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) November 6, 2023
This our last , best chance for legislation – the #CEBill – to restore nature & deliver a just transition that leaves no one behind .
Back @cebill_now https://t.co/SCNurGmkTu pic.twitter.com/YpLQ9EWby7
“We will never solve the climate crisis or collapse of nature, when the very people in power, economists, politicians and corporate elite – whose only understanding of nature is how much of nature they can exploit plunder for profit – for infinite economic growth on finite Earth.”
We will never solve the climate crisis or collapse of nature, when the very people in power, economists, politicians and corporate elite – whose only understanding of nature is how much of nature they can exploit plunder for profit – for infinite economic growth on finite Earth pic.twitter.com/U0mcHp6he1— GO GREEN (@ECOWARRIORSS) November 5, 2023
The eye of a god
“Every hour is now an ‘if only’ moment: offering a better chance of avoiding collapse than the hour that follows. Grim as our time on Earth is, future generations will look back on it as a golden age. A golden age of wildlife, of mild weather, stability, prosperity, of opportunities to act. Our living world is a grey shadow of what it once was, but a vibrant paradise in comparison with what it will be. Unless, unless.”
~ George Monbiot in The Guardian
“I refuse to become numb to a melting planet, the erasure of entire ecologies and cultures. So much life has been lost, but so much remains—the treasured past of a future not yet sealed in ice. If we can learn anything from glaciers, it’s that time both melts and freezes, moves slow and fast. We humans think in scales too small; Earth is continuously changing between states, and we are part of that change whether we see ourselves reflected in it or not. We can wallow in despair, frozen in inaction, or we can do everything in our power to preserve that which has yet to vanish.
Once, in a universe of rock and fire and ice, there was a circle. A perfect circle cast in space, from elements scattered by stars that reconstituted themselves in more combinations than we can count, contoured by love and war and weather. I cannot convey the size of this circle in histories and kingdoms and cartographies, I can only say that it might be the eye of a god. In it, we can see the gaze of every lifeform, our own humanity staring back. Blink, and we might miss it.”
~ Willow Defebaugh, Editor-in-Chief, Atmos Magazine – Climate and Culture
Trees: we eat their fruit, they provide us with shade and they are nature's power plants, from the gas carbon dioxide that we exhale, they make the oxygen that we breathe. But above all, trees are beautiful and worth protecting – and the older they get, the more valuable they are pic.twitter.com/YdMzUmmNQ2— Green is a mission (@Greenisamissio1) November 7, 2023
"Humanity’s war on nature is ultimately a war on ourselves.— Mike Hudema (@MikeHudema) November 7, 2023
It’s time for the world to adopt a far-reaching biodiversity framework — a true peace pact with nature — and deliver a green, healthy future for all." @antonioguterres
No time to wait. #ActOnClimate #biodiversity pic.twitter.com/Wzdychc7EQ
Envisioning an Ecological Civilization
Global warming is accelerating, much faster than predicted by IPCC— GO GREEN (@ECOWARRIORSS) November 6, 2023
For nearly 40 years, Hansen has been warning world of dangers of global warming
Since 1988 many of Hansen’s basic scientific predictions about Earth’s climate future have come true.https://t.co/e8QrSW8qg8
The abuse of nature to create $— Rebecca Woodward (@rwclimate) November 10, 2023
& privilege for a relative few
is linked to the same mindset that supports
the dehumanization of certain people
to create dominance & push war.
It's infuriating that our "leaders"
keep taking us down this suicidal path.
Only we can stop them. pic.twitter.com/mJiL1lapAl
religion, nature, climate, revolution, planet, earth, humans, spirituality, belief, spiritual, sacred, idea, anthropocene, sacred activism, Vita, thinking, create.
Guy Lane: Nature is sacred. That’s what Vita religion is about: nature is sacred. And what we’re doing to the planet in the annihilation of life, the destruction of climate stability, is wrong.
Mik Aidt: If we take a deep look at ourselves and at society, what if the main reason that we now find ourselves in this escalating climate emergency is, in reality, that we, and those systems that we’ve built and all that we’ve created, lost their connection with nature, ignored that we are part of all life on planet Earth? And what if this question turned out to be really important, much more important that we tend to think?
Movie clip: How bad is it?
Antonio Guterres: Climate policies are taking the world to a 2.8 degree temperature rise by the end of the century. That spells catastrophe. Yet, the collective response remains pitiful. We are hurtling towards disaster. Eyes wide open – with far too…
Movie clip: How did you end up in here? Oh, well, I tried to start a revolution but didn’t print enough pamphlets. So hardly anyone turned up, except for my mum and her boyfriend who I hate. But I’m actually organising another revolution and know if you’d be interested in something like that? Do you reckon you’d be interested?
Female voice: The climate revolution
Mik: What if our survival and the survival of all life on this blue planet Earth depends not on technological solutions and not on the gods have some 2000 year old Testaments or old scriptures, but on a new ecological awakening, a renaissance where we humans begin to realise, rediscover and explore that we are deeply connected to nature?
Guy Lane: A new global movement, a revolution in spiritual affairs, advised by indigenous and eco spiritual worldview, and framed by environmental science.
Mik: Sounds too far out, you think? Well, welcome to the climate revolution. This is the seventh episode of The Climate Revolution podcast series. And today, we will be going far – and far out, maybe – at the same time as we’ll be looking inwards at the inner climate revolution.
That sort of feeling you can get, I certainly have experienced it on a quiet night, when you’re out in nature, and you’re watching the full moon rise. And suddenly you have this sensation of history, planetary history, something that rising moon is trying to tell us very quietly, and actually so quiet that very few people listen.
Today in the climate revolution, I’ll introduce you to one Australian man who’s been listening. And it was actually a plastic bag and laid on a bird that got him started on this journey. So he got this idea, this… – some would say this crazy idea to start a religion devoted to the living planet, and a spiritual reverence for nature.
Movie clip – Monty Python: We’re looking for the Holy Grail, that is our quest. Our quest is to find the Holy Grail. Yes, it is. And so we’re looking for it. Yes, yeah, we have been for some time. Ages!
Guy: This is a hypothesis, right. It’s a hypothesis that says if we can spread this thing out far enough with the proper resources, that we can change the trajectory of human civilisation away from the abyss, this program could have this equivalent impact as renewable energy. That’s my hypothesis. I need the resources to test it.
Mik: Guy Lane is an environmental scientist and a writer. He holds a Bachelor of Environmental science with honors from Griffith University, and has written nine fiction novels and two non-fiction books. One of them titled ‘What comes next – climate change, the future, and you’. He’s based in Brisbane.
Guy: At the very heart of Vita is the fusion of environmental science with ecological spirituality. When you come into the room of Vita, Vita religion… You know, the word religion puts everybody off, but just think of it as a belief that nature is sacred. That’s what’s in Vita Religion: nature is sacred. And what we are doing to the planet in the annihilation of life, the destruction of climate stability is wrong. It is simply wrong. It is wrong at the deepest level of human beings, because we’re destroying it, if nothing else, we’re destroying our life support system. So what’s the difference between shooting yourself in the head and continuing to expand the fossil fuel industry? It’s the same thing.
Mik: Trust me here, this is a journey that’s really worth exploring, and spending some time on. A journey that reflects a perspective of what our history and our future holds.
Guy: I’ve worked around sustainability for 20 years and been around all sorts of people. And if you ask them, ‘How long does sustainability last?’ Most people don’t think about that question. And if they did, they would tend to say: til 2100, or so. Something is sustainable if it… if you can survive, you know, the best part of a century. And so my inquiry was: Well, how long have we actually got on Earth? What does science tell us about that, and the science of cosmology, and the study of main sequence stars tells us that our sun will eventually consume most of its fuel. And as it’s consuming the fuel, it’ll swell and become a red giant. And eventually, as it swells, it will bake Earth lifeless. And that’s some one to two billion years away, maybe longer. But that’s sort of a timeframe. And there’s other things that can destroy the ecosystem, before that, or to really wind it down and make it uninhabitable for Earth.
So this is where the idea of the galactic year comes in – that conceivably we could last 200 million years on this planet, conceivably. And this is why we use the icon of the Nautilus. The Nautilus is a creature that has remained largely unchanged for nearly 600 million years. You go and find the fossils of the Ammonites, they call them almost identical to a Nautilus, which you can still find drifting around in the ocean. So that’s our icon. We aspire to live as long as seafood. That’s the aspiration there.
And that should be in all the religions. They should have that in them, but they don’t because they were founded 2000 years ago.
I was at a campfire one time with some friends. And I was telling them about Vita, and I said, ‘You know, now that I’ve actually got the first one through, I’m thinking, what’s the next one? What’s the next religion?’ Because it’s a simple model. It’s the belief in the supernatural and the canons of conduct. So I said, ‘What about a religion devoted to campfires?’ And they’re like, ‘Naaah’. Then I said, ‘What about a religion devoted to beer?’ They said, ‘Naaah’. ‘What about a religion devoted to the beach?’ They said: ‘Yes. Yes’, The beach is sacred. And here’s the practice: clean it up. Look after it. Okay? Understand it, learn your coastal geomorphology. Visit it periodically. They got it straight away. The religion of the beach.
And here’s the thing as well: Buckminster Fuller says: ‘If you want a better system, don’t run interference on the old one, create a better one,’ which is really the model.
So then the thinking is, well, rather than just having one, Vita Religion, you know, the idea is… I say to people: Listen, if you want to go on to the website, grab the contents, change the name, submit to the Charity Commission, you get a nature based religion, because you will have a different audience to mine. Because you’ll tell the story differently. And so religion devoted to the beach or religion devoted to whatever nature by saying, there shouldn’t be a whole bunch of them, because then we got more options.
You know, one of the reasons why Buddhism is so popular in the West is because it’s not Christianity.
Right? It’s a counter foil to the normal narrative. And so really, that’s a part of this, you know? I’m somebody… I’ve got, like, the ideas. I’ve done the homework. But I’m constrained by resources. Once I’ve got resources, then we can really start actually building some pretty amazing things, including potentially some other religions that just said: ‘If you’re a religious… you know, if you’ve got some people who have religious fervor, wouldn’t it be good if they could have religious fervor over beach maintenance, as opposed to polishing crystals in the church? Or whatever, you know. More options!
Movie clip: ‘All personality evacuation orders have been confirmed.’
Movie clip: ‘Success is close at hand. Nobody will believe it’s possible until we show them. When that day comes, you know, then they’ll say that it was inevitable.’
Mik: Nature is my religion, and the earth is my church. A book from 1989 called ‘A Native American approach to education’ quotes a Native American woman called Winona LaDuke, as saying, ‘Nature is my religion, and the earth is my church.’
Guy: The mainstream religions are ecologically unsustainable, the teachings are ecologically unsustainable. Not because they specifically are asking us to destroy the planet. But they’re asking us to regard the planet as something that is not as worthy of reverence as the mythical creature in the sky, right? So where Vita comes in, Vita is sort of like a plugin, or a patch. You get computer software, glitchy. You bring Vita in. Fixes it, right? So it can help make Christianity ecologically sustainable.
Gilbert Rochecouste: We’ve just formed the first IDG hub in Melbourne, the inner development goals – because the top scientists in the climate change movement have realised that we can’t get to climate justice because we don’t have our inner awareness and self awareness in place. So the inner development goals of being thinking, relating, collaborating and acting… Think about it: being, self awareness. All of these things are going to be important now. And we’re going to have to really step up in this space of what I call sacred activism – and fill the hope budget, because the despair budget is just gonna go through the friggin’ roof. And I think young people are the ones copying it at this stage – in a massive way, massive way. So we as elders in the room need to step up. So let’s step up and make some good trouble. Thank you.
Mik: Said Gilbert Rochecouste, who’s a city planner from Melbourne, who’s got this vision that we need a revolution of the imagination, as he told us in The Sustainable Hour recently and he told the audience at a Melbourne town hall meeting where he was speaking, a climate emergency meeting back in September.
Sacred activism, huh? Is that the new name for what we’re talking about here? Certainly Guy Lane talks about the same thing. The Holy Grail is not to create a religion where people disappear into themselves and meditate out in nature. No, the Grail is about the way that spirituality can help create very powerful agents for change.
Movie clip, Monty Python: ‘I’ve seen the grail.’ ‘You’re seeing the Grail.’ ‘But there is one small problem.’
Guy: The environment movement has many, many people who are already motivated, and I suspect they are motivated spiritually. They just don’t call it that. If people are spiritually motivated to protect the planet, they will go the extra yard. So through spirituality is this pathway for profound, radical, rapid personal behavioral change. That’s what I’m trying to tease out. So we want to have programs that awaken people spiritually to nature, and create the framework for them to go forward as powerful agents of change.
Mik: So that’s the starting point of The Climate Revolutions today, the inner climate revolution, and the idea of creating a religion – in Guy Lane’s case, it’s the Vita religion. But as we’re going to hear, he sees that actually as an ‘open source’ for many religions, for a whole field of religions that could start blossoming on this very central belief that nature is sacred. But first, let’s hear how it all started for Guy.
Guy: In 2015, Pope Francis put out this document called the encyclical, Laudato Si. And it was, broadly speaking, it was a papal teaching that said that it’s sinful to kill the planet, right? And I thought, when that came out, I thought: ‘This is great!’ Because here we’ve got this institution that’s got 1.2 billion followers, it’s hierarchial, it’s almost like: ‘The King has made a decree’. And I’ve been involved in environmental sustainability stuff since, I think, since 1993, when I was working in the oil industry and I saw these plastic bags drifting past the ship off the coast of Taiwan. That was really the moment where something triggered in my mind that something was wrong. I didn’t know rationally why it was wrong. I knew emotionally that it was wrong. And it’s taken me years to be able to answer why it is rationally wrong. And so I was really excited: The Pope is gonna save the planet.
A year later is 2016. And the Pope goes to Poland, big visit, international news. And I saw the footage of him stepping off a private jet. It’s 1,200 kilometers from the Vatican to Poland, and you can take a train. And I’m like, Whoa, ‘Where’s the planet saving Pope?’, you know! And then I thought, ‘What am I thinking?’ Right? This is an institution that’s founding documents go back over 2,000 years. This is an institution that’s got over two millennia of practice, which is often hostile to the living planet, not to mention women, children, indigenous people. It is inconceivable that the Catholic Church or the mainstream religions can pivot far or fast enough to make a meaningful difference to the climate and ecological crisis.
That was the insight that I had. And I wrote this down on a blog. And I said, if we’re going to persist with religions, we really need a religion devoted to the living planet. Specifically, what I wrote was, ‘We need a religion devoted to Gaia.’ Okay?
So Gaia, Gaia theory: the living planet behaves in the manner of a single organism maintains homeostasis.
Anyway, I posted this 1,200 word rant. Well, it wasn’t a rant, it was well thought through. And I said, ‘Look, if we’re going to have a religion…’, then I went and looked at the Charity Commission’s guidelines of ‘What is a religion?’ So, you know, I said, ‘Oh, it’s a belief in the supernatural and the acceptance of canons of conduct to give effect to the belief.
So, well, that’s easy! We’ve got Gaia, right? Supernatural, sacred. And the canons of conduct is what environmentalists do. So there was actually a religion just sitting right there. Just needed to be hobbled together. So I put this together in this blog, and I put it on LinkedIn. And then I went on and did something else. Because it wasn’t the primary focus of my life. It was just that thing that triggered me on that particular day.
A couple of days later, I got contacted by a Malaysian guy who was running a big international conference, funded by the British Royals. It was called Emerging Leaders Dialogue Asia, and he says, ‘Would you like to come to Kuala Lumpur and share the idea of your nature based religion?’
What?! It was just a blog! I said, ‘Yeah, okay.’ So I’ve worked on it for two months. And I went to KL. Did my presentation. And I’ve been working on it ever since.
When I first incorporated the vehicle… So, to actually get it registered as a religion, you’ve got to put the paperwork in through the Charity Commission. You got to register a vehicle, it was a public company, limited by guarantee, we did that in March 2020, took about six or eight weeks to get the paperwork through.
I’ve sort of been working on it pretty much full time since then. But when I first started telling people that I created this new religion, and what I realised was: Religious people already had a religion. And non-religious people weren’t really looking for one in the first place. So in a way, I’d created something that wasn’t, you know… it’s like oyster ice cream: It’s theoretically possible, but not many people out there are going to want to eat it.
And so and so what I did was I started to delve further into the idea, go back to the original conception. I realised that it wasn’t just religion, it was sort of philosophy. There was a philosophy that was missing.
And it was the spiritual aspect as well. The spiritual connection to nature. So I started to delve into all those different spaces, the big space. And that is what’s happened recently. So this is where Lifewise philosophy came from.
And this is where all of the thinking around spirituality, including the question of where did spirituality come from in humans in the first place? I mean, everybody just assumes that spirituality is there. But my inquiry was, where did it arise in human evolution? And so this then frames part of the broader thinking in this space? And to answer that question, it seems that the homo sapiens evolved around 300,000 years ago, but for most of that time, we will what they refer to as archaic humans, relatively primitive tools hadn’t really changed much in a very, very long time.
But then around 70,000 years ago, there was this profusion of advanced toolmaking, evidenced in many cases by archery arrowheads, because it’s very complex to actually develop arteries. And what I come to understand was that this revolution of technology was associated with a whole bunch of cognitive capabilities that came out of an advanced central nervous system with language is the origins of spirituality in humans, it might have been there in a proto form, but it existed in an advanced form from 70,000 years ago, in Africa. And the real evidence of it is in Europe from 40,000 years ago, they call that the Upper Paleolithic revolution started in Africa spread out, there’s a lot more anthropologists in Europe than Africa. So that’s where they’ve got most of the evidence. So the Cromagnon people were the first people to really have this full expression of, of spirituality, but also art, funerary practices, advanced technology, and so forth.
So I’m starting to create this sort of like a deeper understanding of this whole space, the religion side of it, the philosophy side of it, the spiritual side of it. And that’s really what I’ve been working on.
Now I’ve got a pass to get to COP28, I was at CBD, COP15, in Montreal in December – CBD is the Convention for Biological Diversity, hugely important. This was their Paris Agreement moment, the Montreal Declaration is really an agreement about how humans will conduct themselves with respect to the biosphere over the coming decades.
And this COP in Dubai is also hugely important in terms of the relationship between humans and nature. It’s like, in part, because the fossil fuel industry is running it… This is the first COP which is actually run by an oil man. So part of my aspiration was to go to these places, these incredible forums where so many deep thinkers in this space gather – that I can share my message there. And as I’m sort of preparing for COP28, a number of things happened that I thought it’s time to go back to the idea of religion. So I packaged all of that thinking up. And I’ve put out a little 12 page document that explains it. And there is a faith and Earth program at the top.
You find these in a lot of big forums, they’ll basically have, you know, religious people come in and talk about how their religions interact with the ecosystem stuff. And so I’ve applied to basically have a speaking arrangement there. I don’t know if I’ll get one. But the idea is to actually launch Vita religion in Dubai at the COP. And that’s what I’ve been working on over the last few years.
Mik: Religion means a lot more than a 12-page paper. It has songs, it has rituals, and it has a congregation, people who gather and do stuff.
Mik: Have you thought about that?
Guy: Okay, so in the first instance, the definition of religion that I’m working on to keep it really simple, is religion involves a belief in a supernatural being thing or principle, and the acceptance of canons of conduct which give effect to that belief. So from the perspective of the work that I’ve been doing, that is the starting point. Okay? So this is a religion because A) it demonstrates the belief in the supernatural and the canons of conduct. And secondly, is because that work that I put forward has been accepted by the Australian Charity Commission.
So in that regard, it is a religion in the regard that you’re describing, then, it is a proto religion, that is yet to actually have its songs, its rituals, and its mass follow. Okay. So this is the beginning of the process. And that is exactly where we intend to go. Just to be clear, I am not guided in the development of this work by the mainstream religions, right? I’m unguided in the development of his work by my inspiration from nature, and also from Shinto religion. So in Japan, my understanding, if you ask the average Japanese person if they are religious, they would tell you no. But if you then ask them how often they go to the Shinto temple ritualistically, wash their hands, throw the coin in the box, ring the bell, like, vote, they’ll say, Oh, we do that every week.
So they partaken in what can only be described as religious practices, but they don’t regard themselves as religion. Because Shinto is actually more of a secular belief system, than a religion in the way that we understand it in the West. And that’s how I envisage Vita will be successful. Not grandiose, not dictatorial, not with all this fuzzy God business. It’s simply about a reverence for nature, understanding ourselves as part of the living planet, and the acceptance that there are certain practices that one might undertake, if one holds those beliefs. And that’s all ahead of me.
And where I am right now, is trying to figure out how to go from this proto stage to actually expand rapidly, because if, if this is going to have an impact, you know, we were on like you’re being on an airliner, where all the engines have cut out, we’re heading down very fast. If feeder religion is going to have an influence in preventing the collapse, and fostering the transition into a sustainable age, then it needs to expand very, very quickly, and it needs to be very thorough and needs to be done properly.
And the mechanism by which it actually changes the outcome is in the first instance, we think there’s around 53 million people who will take this up in the first instance, we’ve called them latent Vitans. Vitan is somebody who follows – latent means that they… it’s like the person that doesn’t know that they’re gonna love the oyster ice cream, right? But our numbers suggest that 10% of the population is going to go bananas, right? So they’re the latent oyster ice cream people, they just haven’t come across oyster ice cream yet.
So latent Vitans are people that haven’t come across the documents yet. So we think there’s 53 million people in the first iteration. And that number comes from basically, around a quarter of the cultural creative people in the Western world can argue as whether it’s a quarter or a fifth or a third, but that’s just the number that we’re using. That gives us a grasp. That’s about 8% of the Western public. Right? That’s also about half of the spiritual but not religious people. Right? Make up about 15% of the West.
Now you might go: Well, will people who are spiritual but not religious be interested in a religion? – but it’s not a religion in the classic sense. It’s more of a secular belief system. So all we’re really doing is you’re just taking the best of environmentalism, thinking about the possibilities for the future, the possibilities of humans actually living sustainably with nature.
We call that the Vitan age, actually understanding what lies ahead of us, which is that the sun eventually consumes its fuel, turns into a red dwarf, burns off the planet, we’ve got maybe 2 billion years of life left on the planet. What part of that life can humans conceivably enjoy? Maybe 230 million years, to give a number. That’s a galactic year, that’s about the time it takes for the solar system, our solar system, to spin around the galaxy.
If you go back in time, 230 million years, you find yourself around the Permian extinction, The Great Dying. So there’s this sort of these natural weight points that help us to create a Cosmo vision, a timeframe that gives us a sense of where we are in relation to the past and the future.
And these are all things that you’d expect to have in a religion then that you have in the narrative of Vita Religion.
Mik: Religions, though, also have priests. And typically a system where people are donating, and that’s a way to finance the church.
Guy: Yeah, yeah. So that’s what I’ve been working on over the last few years. And part of the reason why when this was conceived in 2016, was incorporated in 2023. And Bill said: What have you been doing? Well, I’ve been working on all of those things. And one of the things is the creation of some icons. So this is one of the icons, this is called a Quinn, q u e, and it basically is stainless steel. There’s the symbolism of the queen – that it’s the symbol of the Anthropocene epoch. Right? So the Anthropocene is the modern era in which humans are the main drivers of change in the climate and environment.
And, it’s similar to the Anthropocene because if you think of the lower rings representing the living planet, and civilization and the outer ring representing a continuum, that continuum was broken because humans are not presently in balance. With Nature, the Anthropocene is characterised by this imbalance, the upper circle there with the sort of little eyes and see that symbol represents the Vita or the Vita Age, the potential future time when humans and the living planet thrive in synergy, deep into the long future.
So from within the Anthropocene comes, that is the seed of the Vita Age. That’s the symbolism. So this is a laser cut of stainless steel, stainless steel wire with the magnetic clasp.
I’ve been where this thing’s every day for the last three years, and it’s a good solid piece of kit. And when people see it quite often people go, Wow, that’s really interesting. And you just pluck it off like that, and then it creates a space for a conversation.
So that’s one way that we can fund our operations, the sale of icons, there’s a whole bunch of other icons as well. So there’s jewelry, there’s also an archery tradition. So if you look at archery, one of the backhand, just back into Vita for a moment, the practices: one of the practices is called reinventing New Year, and which is really a call to support the reinvention of all institutions. Because if you imagine, all institutions have brought us to the point of climate and ecological collapse and that everything needs to be reviewed, and then reinvented to make it sustainable. And so if you go into an archery shop, as in bows and arrows, you can stand there and you would think it’s an extension of the fossil fuel industry. It’s all made of plastic and fiberglass so the idea of Vietnam archery is very simple. It’s just archery using all natural materials.
If you’ve eaten, Archer should be able to put his archery kit, right, his bow and arrow, the arrow string, the sleeve, that the bow sits in the arm guard as the whole thing should be able to go into a blender and make a smoothie out of it. And it’ll be a tasty, nutritious meal. Can’t do that with normal archery. So the idea is to create like the v2 version of various things, in this case, archery, and then that potentially generates a revenue stream. And you might say, Well, you don’t really want to be selling goods and services because they’re unsustainable. Okay, but we’re trying to make these things sustainable. You know, is there a material that we can make a bow out of, for example, which is beneficial to nature? In which case, we want people to have them. Sort of like cork: cork is a sustainable material because the cork industry keeps the cork forests alive.
So that’s part of the thinking is to develop these enterprises based on vegan principles that can then help to fund the spread of the religion. And then of course, there’s books and podcasts and all the rest of it.
The Inner Climate Revolution: Fostering of an ecological awakening | Interview with Guy Lane, who founded 'Vita Religion' around the belief that nature is sacred.— ClimateRevolution (@Clim8Revolution) November 7, 2023
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