Earth Day – Strengthening Our Connections

Posted on April 22, 2012. Filed under: Nature, Random Musings | Tags: , , |

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.:

Magic Tree (Image by Michael Blackmore - Mad Crow Herbals)

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:

Spring Rain Mushroom Bounty (Image by Michael Blackmore Mad Crow Herbals)

Stop and appreciate them.

Or an indomitable lone mullein poking forth between the street and the sidewalk:

Street Mullein (Image by Michael Blackmore Mad Crow Herbals)

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:

Learning More

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.

Last Thoughts

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.

Earthing - (Image by Michael Blackmore - Mad Crow Herbals)

Love you Mother Earth! Thank You! THANK YOU!

the Earth - NASA composite image

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!

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16 Responses to “Earth Day – Strengthening Our Connections”

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A lovely post full of inspiring ideas Michael. The mullein picture is so gorgeous.
Joanna Macy is one of my favourite writers too, I loved ‘World as Lover, World as Self.’ I like the sound of Thinking like a Mountain by John Seed too. That will be another one for the ever expanding Amazon wish list!
Happy Earth day x

Isn’t it a great mullein? I just love it.

Joanna Macy is always a favorite of mine. (I know what you mean about ever expanding Amazon wishlist – oh, boy do I!)


Another wonderful and heartfelt post. There are as many ways to celbrate the Earth as their are spirits will to do so. Engage!

[…] Michael over at the always entertaining Mad Crow Herbalism has reminded us of the many ways we can strengthen our connections to the earth, even if we live in the middle of the city. Read his ideas and reflections here. […]

I think appreciating and acknowledging is how we begin to nourish. And touching the earth with our skin, our feet, is a fantastic way to connect with the earth….indeed powerful! Happy Earth Day!

Agreed on both counts!


Really enjoyed your post, and glad to have found you. Thanks too for the reminder to put my bare feet on the earth, I don’t do that enough – Maggie x

Thanks! (Shame around here is now become so raining and cold that my bare feet may have to stay away from the earth for a little bit!)


Lovely thoughtful Earth Day posting. It is sad that so many people have lost their connection with the Earth, the land and all it does for us the human race. Without it we are nothing…we could not exist. A bonus of the recession is that many people are returning to growing their own food and thus reconnecting.

Definitely. I hate to put it this way, but the downturn may be proving to have some profound positive changes if people embrace those sort of changes!


Such a wonderful post with gorgeous photos. Love the magical tree:) Thank you for some book ideas! xxx

Thank you for the book ideas. Love your magical tree and other photos, especially bare feet in the earth! Such a recharging experience! I love to garden barefoot:) xxxx Leslie

Thanks! The magical tree was just an awesome moment and I was so glad to be able to capture a tiny bit of it to share via a photo.


So many important things here to remember – I was esprecially struck by the reminder not just to get out in pristine nature, but to find and appreciate the wildness that is already right there around us. It is always so heartening to see a plant bursting up through the cement on a city sidewalk, isn’t it? Even in the most unnatural environments, nature is still there, bursting through the seems. I haven’t read any of these books so I’m afraid my amazon wish list has just gotten longer too! The first book you mentioned made me laugh – I think I’ll have to read that first 🙂

Very nice post! You are so right, we so need to connect to Mother Earth on a daily basis. I taught a class this week to some “city” girls…as we walked my wild paths picking different wild edibles and the more common “weedie” medicinal plants, I told my students you always thank the plants for sharing with you or giving up their lives for you. I was so tickled to actually catch them in the process of gathering the herbs for their projects, whispering “Thank you” to my plant friends.

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