A Findhorn-based former race and rally driver from South Africa plans to walk 40,075km (25,000 miles) with a message about treading more lightly upon the Earth.
Environmental activist Geoff Dalglish, who is a member of the Findhorn Foundation’s Living Education Apprentice Programme (LEAP), vows to walk the equivalent of the circumference of the planet to raise awareness about the need to live lightly and sustainably.
The first steps begin on the sacred Isle of Iona on July 7 and will take him back to the Findhorn community where he has found his inspiration and life purpose.
“It is payback time,” says the 62-year-old former race and rally driver, 4×4 adventurer and magazine editor. “While my personal journey has been a rollercoaster of fun, it hasn’t been kind to the Earth. My carbon footprint has been huge and my formerly extravagant lifestyle simply not sustainable.
“Now I walk as an Earth Pilgrim who takes time to appreciate the wonders of Nature and interconnectedness of all things; recognising that we humans are but a strand in the intricate web of life.
“Gaia Earth or Mother Nature is a miraculous self-organising, self-healing and interdependent system – and we humans are part of it but don’t own or control it. My aim is to raise awareness about the magnificence of our planetary home and the benefits of treading more lightly upon it.”
For me it is a transition from skidmarks to gentle footsteps: from a life of materialism to one of reverence and gratitude.
Geoff believes that a planetary shift is under way with many recognising that it is time for change.
Mahatma Gandhi famously said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and “there is enough in this world for everybody’s need, but not enough for anybody’s greed.” Geoff found these words disturbing and challenging and knew he had to find a better way to live and ideally one that might even encourage others to re-examine their impact upon the Earth.
“For me it is a transition from skidmarks to gentle footsteps: from a life of materialism to one of reverence and gratitude. And the final shift happened at Findhorn last year where two events were important catalysts. I attended a workshop on Exploring Inner and Outer Landscapes with Satish Kumar, and I came across a book about Peace Pilgrim, a silver-haired woman who walked for 28 years with a message of peace.
“The inspiring lives of the founders of the Findhorn Foundation community – Dorothy Maclean and Eileen and Peter Caddy – also taught me the power of absolute faith.
“It’s about choices. If you see Life as a miraculous journey it will take you to amazing places. It’s also about recognising that feelings are the language of the soul and honouring the wisdom of those inner promptings – even if it means massive upheaval and a dramatic change of direction.
“Now I choose a simpler and more sustainable way of living that is joyful and fulfilling. Instead of acquiring ever-more things while chasing the mantra of materialism – Bigger, Better and More – I’m enjoying having enough but no more than I need. And I’m appreciating that unnecessary possessions become unnecessary burdens. The more things you have the more you have to take care of them.”
His initial walk to Findhorn honours the role the community has played in his life and he suggests that many might wish to make their own pilgrimage to Findhorn in 2012. “The community, which is a founding member of the Global Ecovillage Network, will be celebrating its 50th birthday and role as a centre of light and love.”
Among Geoff’s well-wishers are Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former head of South Africa’s ground-breaking Truth and Reconciliation Committee, who invites him to: “Walk gently on Mother Earth. She is the only one we have.”
He adds: “Thank you Geoff for reminding us to be reverent and caring for the environment. God go with you.”
Geoff will write regularly about his experiences – which we will post for you here – and will happily talk to anyone interested in his objectives. You can visit Geoff’s website here.