Category Archives: Ecological Devastation

Thomas Berry on the Natural World as Our Sacred Community

IMG_7786“The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human. To damage this community is to diminish our own existence.”

~ Thomas Berry

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I Walk in Beauty: Morning Time with the Living Earth

IMG_7703I kept my promise to myself and spent the start of my morning visiting the wetland near Claire’s camp. Font Hill Wetland in Columbia, Maryland. I am reminded that in returninng to the same place again and again, a palpable sacred relationship comes into play and divine expression is more easily revealed.

Beauty was all around me.

Bright raspberries against a background of green leaves,

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mushrooms growing vertically from a moss-covered fallen tree,

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the sky and tree tops captured in a puddle at my feet.

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And from these holy glimpses I recalled the Navajo prayer that Thomas Berry—my mentor/teacher/beloved friend—sent me in a letter long ago.

In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
Beautifully will I possess again.
Beautifully birds . . .
Beautifully joyful birds
. . .
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.
With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me may I walk.
With beauty behind me may I walk.
With beauty above me may I walk
With beauty all around me may I walk.
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.

I am thirsty for beauty right now, not only for inspiration, but to heal the deep sorrow I feel as a witness to the destruction of the living Earth; as a witness to the overwhelming destruction inherent in a culture focused on consumption without conscience. This destruction extends all the way to the very survival of the human species. We won’t survive unless we find a new orientation, one that brings the living Earth into our community as a beloved member of our family—a  mother that sustains us unselfishly and deserves our respect, our reverence, and our full attention.

“Our fulfillment is not in our isolated human grandeur, but in our intimacy with the larger earth community, for this is also the larger dimension of our being. Our human destiny is integral with the destiny of the earth,” wrote Thomas.

I am walking in beauty for myself for now, trusting that in these small, intimate moments of being present to the living Earth I will find the strength to come back into the world anew, less overwhelmed and better able to contribute to the critical shift we are being called to make, a shift to a world that lives first and foremost in harmony with this amazing, living Earth.

Don’t you just love the color of moss?

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Seeing the Living Earth Anew

IMG_7883I have come to the realization that we need to fall back in love with the Earth. Only when we fall in love with this extraordinary living planet we call home will we be willing and able to make the necessary changes in our lives that will halt the destruction inherent in our consumer-driven society.

My courtship with the living Earth has begun anew, and I am making an effort to spend quiet time in her presence. Thankfully, my daughter’s camp is near a small wetland, and I have vowed to start my morning there for the next two weeks—taking in the call of the red-winged blackbirds and the brilliant markings on their wings, drinking in the way morning light plays on green leaves and small streams, watching the whimsical flight of the butterfly, dragonfly and damselfly, listening to the chorus of the cicadas, enjoying the croak of a frog that takes me by surprise.

Then there are the cattails, which I have always loved,

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and flowers I do not know that meet my eye and pull me to them.

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Wetlands are a treasure trove of Earth’s creativity and expression.

I have come to the realization that sitting in front of my computer writing about the living Earth without spending time in her presence doesn’t make sense. I am grateful for the wake up call. And the gift of delight on this Monday morning.

How to Take Long Showers and Still Save the World From Drought

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.37.26 PMNASA research says California only has a one year supply left of water in its reservoirs. With mega droughts looming as climate change intensifies, this requires all of us to tune in and be part of the solution. This is an excellent article by Adam J. Rose with spot-on suggestions on how we can help save water for California and us all. Best to kiss those burgers goodbye…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-j-rose/how-to-take-long-showers_b_6875644.html

Horton Hears the Whos of Calvert County and Dominion’s LNG Lies

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Most of us know the story of Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Suess. The beloved elephant Horton, with his great big ears, hears the cries for help from the Whos on Who-ville, a planet the size of a dust speck that rests precariously on a clover. Horton, with his big heart, commits to saving them because “a person’s a person no matter how small.” Yet, sadly, he can’t get others to hear their cries and acknowledge their lives.

And so it is with the citizens of Lusby, Maryland who live precariously close to a dormant liquid natural gas (LNG) import facility that Dominion Resources of Virginia is planning to turn into an LNG export facility as soon as they can get away with it. Continue reading

Finding Rachel Carson

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I feel as if this is a confession and an embarrassing one at that.  I say this because, as a passionate “environmentalist,” I should have already known intimately the work of Rachel Carson.  But, in all honesty, I only knew about four sentences worth of who she was, a true hero that brought scientific light to the blind irresponsibility and profoundly toxic effects of spraying the chemical DDT on the living Earth.  With the publishing of her monumental book Silent Spring in 1962, Carson set in motion the first laws in this country to safeguard the environment.

Yet it is only now that I have found her words, and I am grateful beyond measure. It is like opening up a treasure chest and finding pure gold.  Nothing beats an insightful, poetic biologist.  At the same time, her words are deeply disturbing to hear because, 50 years later, we are still irresponsibly contaminating our world and ourselves with toxic chemicals at an alarming rate.  We are still ignoring science.

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May the Fleece Be With You?

I don’t remember what year it was when I first encountered fleece.  What I do remember is that it was love at first wear.  Its softness, warmth and lack of itchiness were a godsend to me.  Prone to being cold, I’ve been wearing it ever since, from fall through early spring.  I couldn’t image being without fleece – until last week, when I learned that it’s poisoning the oceans.

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Lego Fractivists!

Even the little plastic people have had it with fracking.

Fracking IS Poisoning Children

At the 2012 Shale Gas Outrage rally in Philadelphia, people whose water has been contaminated by fracking came up on stage to speak of their experiences.  Carol French, a dairy farmer from Pennsylvania, was one of them.  As she spoke of the serious health ramifications that befell her daughter, deep sadness arose with her words.  Her daughter was being poisoned by the nearby fracking wells, as are so many others people in her county.  This assault on our children, on our citizens for the sake of cheap natural gas is not acceptable.  No one deserves to be sacrificed for this country’s energy needs.  No one.

Josh Fox Explains How Fracking is Consuming Our America

At the Frack Attack rally, I caught Josh Fox talking on the sidelines.  I am always in awe of his capacity to communicate.  He is articulate, accessible, compelling, funny, genuine and spot on.  The anti-fracking movement is so fortunate to have him as an international spokesperson, though his film Gasland is clearly one of the main reasons the movement exists.

In this clip, he explains how our country is literally getting eaten up by our addiction to fossil fuels.  I’ve known this for a while now, but as he was explaining it, it hit me differently, perhaps because I was at the rally in the front of the Capitol with people from all over this country that have been personally affected by fracking in horrendous ways.  Whatever the reason, I could literally see our country getting eaten up, and it fueled my fire to continue fighting to extinguish the madness.

Clean energy is our only chance for a viable future.  Our only chance.