Here and there and everywhere, let's all live in a world we love.
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Simple practices for resilient happiness from Rick Hanson, PhD

In celebration of Earth Day, this week's JOT is going to be a bit different than usual, with each of the offerings focused on our precious planet and how we can preserve and protect it. I really hope you enjoy it, and find it useful and inspiring!

In particular, please watch my video below about People for the Planet, and share it widely. We can BOTH put more pressure on Big Carbon while also joining with others around the world to go Net Zero ourselves; it’s “both-and,” not "either-or." Let’s claim the power we DO have, together, to save our precious planet!

Are we really so separate?

The Practice:

Love The World.


To simplify and summarize, our brain has three primary motivational systems – Avoiding harm, Approaching rewards, and Attaching to “us” – that draw on many neural networks to accomplish their goals. 

Lately, I’ve started to realize that a fourth fundamental human motivational system could be emerging as well.

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors depended upon their habitats for food and shelter. Today, over 8 billion of us are pressing hard up against the limits of Lifeboat Earth. To survive and to flourish, cultural and perhaps biological evolution is calling us to love the world.

The world is near to hand in the food you eat, the air you breathe, and the weather and climate in which you spend your days. And then in widening circles, the world extends out to include complex webs of life and the physical characteristics of the land, the sea, and the sky.

When you love the world, you both appreciate it and care for it. Each of these actions makes you feel good, plus they help you preserve and improve everything you depend on for your health, livelihood, security, pleasure, and community.

During most of the last several million years, our human and hominid ancestors did not have much capacity for harming the world. Nor did they have much understanding of their effects on the whole planet.

But now, humanity has great power for good and ill. And we have inescapable knowledge (no matter how much some try to deny it) of what we are doing to our own home. As the earth heats up, as many species go extinct, and as resources such as freshwater decline, it is critically important that a fourth major motivation guide our thoughts, words, and above all, deeds:

Love the world.


In terms of the aspect of love that is about appreciating, routinely look for opportunities to enjoy, value, and feel grateful for little things in the natural world.

These range from whatever is close by – flowers blooming, trees offering shade, honeybees moving from plant to plant – to the vast nest we all share, such as the exchanges of oxygen and CO2 through which animals and plants give breath to each other. We can also appreciate the fortuitous occurrence of a rocky planet – Earth – surviving the early formation of a solar system to find an orbit that allows for liquid water on its surface . . . and the even more remarkable occurrence of this universe bubbling into being: the largest nest of all, the extraordinary miracle in which we make our ordinary days.

In terms of the aspect of love that is about caring for, this means to me a combination of cherishing, protecting, and nurturing the world. You naturally cherish what you love; cherishing something, you want to keep it safe; once it’s protected, you want to help it flourish. 

SO much could be written – and has – about cherishing our world, and protecting and nurturing it, yet I must be brief here, with just three suggestions.

For a minute, an hour, or a whole week, touch natural and human-made things around you like you truly cherish them.

Protect something from harm. You could save something you might otherwise throw away, from water running in a sink to food in a restaurant. More broadly, we can take political action to protect our world. Different people will find different paths with this. Personally, I’ve been inspired by young people – who will most inherit the consequences of the 100 million tons of CO2 their parents have been pouring up into the sky each day – who are saying enough is enough.

Pick one thing and focus on helping it grow and thrive. Perhaps a plant, or a business, or a project at a local school, or a collaboration among some friends, or a fix-it repair at home.

At the heart of it, this practice is about our relationship with the world. Do we relate to it as an adversary or distant acquaintance?

Or do we relate to the world as a friend, a child, a beloved nest?

Here and there and everywhere, let’s all live in a world we love.

Want to help others love the world?
Share this Just One Thing practice with them!
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People for the Planet

The climate crisis can seem so big and overwhelming with powerful forces that keep delaying emissions reductions as long as they can. But there is so much that you CAN do individually that — when many of us commit to doing it — can make a huge difference.

Visit PeopleForThePlanet.Org to watch my video about this, sign the pledge, and learn more.


More Good Stuff


Watch last week's meditation and talk with guest teacher Dr. Diana Hill, and if you haven't yet, join me every week for this free, live offering.



Researchers have ingeniously transformed ordinary cork into a powerful tool to clean up oil spills through laser treatments that alter its nanoscopic structure. This eco-friendly approach not only allows the cork to absorb oil while repelling water, but also harnesses the sun's energy to heat and collect the spilled oil efficiently.


UNICEF and the Austrian Development Agency have provided these eco-friendly parenting tips for raising environmentally conscious children from infancy to adolescence. 


Check out 8BillionTrees and TerraPass to calculate how many metric tons/year you're creating, and see ways that you can reduce and repair that harm.

"Together, with millions of us using the power we do have, really, we just might save the world."

Rick Hanson, Ph.D.

JUST ONE THING (JOT) is the free newsletter that suggests a simple practice each week for more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind. A small thing repeated routinely adds up over time to produce big results.

Just one thing that could change your life.
(© Rick Hanson, 2023)

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