It is Earth Day today and the Earth more than deserves it. Sadly it is too easy to fall into divisions on how to think of the day. I see many folks seemingly fall into one of two camps – either a brief celebration soon to be forgotten like the many Hallmark style holidays that litter our calendars and trash the day after or a time twinged with feelings of guilt and anger.
I like to look it at as a time to start working on repairing and strengthening our relationship with the earth and nature. Because when we do that – we change the ways we are, the way we behave and our actions in the world. Then the two camps above aren’t so important anymore.
Appreciate and Connect
You can connect with Nature with a capital N in the wild, parks, etc.:
And those places are magical and important. When you can go, then go. But it becomes too easy to see the magic of the earth as reserved to special places.
Everywhere is a special place. Celebrate and appreciate them all. Even in the heart of the city you can see magic.
The wonder of mushrooms after a spring rain:
Stop and appreciate them.
Or an indomitable lone mullein poking forth between the street and the sidewalk:
Relish those every bit as much as a distant pristine forest; for nature is all around us.
Nourish and Give Back
Find particular plants, either in the wild or the urban jungle – and connect with them by learning about them and nourishing them. Pick a plant you see regularly and if you don’t know it, then learn about it. Stop and talk to it and spend time with it. Nourish it by bringing a little water or fertilizer – or simply your presence and attention.
Watch the animals in your area and learn about them. See them, the plants and the people as part of the same environment and connected.
You can help things grow in new places like I have extra medicinal herbal seeds from my garden planning that I’ll “seed” around in appropriate areas (all local plants and not invasive exotics!)
Look for groups like this great one in Boston – Boston Tree Party which organizes events to plant fruit trees in public accessible places increasing the nature in the city and providing free abundant foods for folks.
There are bigger groups that not only do advocacy but also protect, nourish and preserve the environment. I’m fond of these:
There are tons of wonderful books on natural history, learning to ID plants, animals, etc. – almost all of worth exploring. But here are some more philosophical ones that I’d like to share.
My Name is Chellis and I’m in Recovery from Western Civilizationby Chellis Glendinning – A very influential book for me that talks about how damaged psychologically we have become by being so disconnected from nature. And how valuable it is to connect to nature and spend time in nature.
Thinking Like a Mountain: Towards a Council of All Beings by John Seed and World as Lover, World as Self: Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal by Joanna Macy – both of these are great books for learning to see our connections to nature and importance of that oneness and actions to recognize it.
Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor by Leonardo Boff – a little more obscure but interesting book connecting Latin American Liberation theology, advocacy for the poor and environment.
Lastly, just go and spend time standing barefoot on the earth. There’s something powerful about connecting your skin to the skin of the earth that is lost in daily life. Try it every day if you can.
Love you Mother Earth! Thank You! THANK YOU!
P.S. Check out the awesome collection of Earth Day Posts that the ever awesome Lucinda at Whispering Earth assembled for her Earth Day Blog Party!