Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Not Just for Tree Huggers

I started writing a slightly late Earth Day message on my blog last week.  I began like this:

Happy “Belated” Earth Day!  As a tardy birthday card once said:  “Don’t think in terms of ‘on time’ or ‘late.’  Think in terms of flexibility, fluidity, spontaneity.”

Ha ha.

After all, it’s the thought that counts.  Better late than never, right?

Except that, when we’re talking about environmental protection and the depletion of the Earth’s resources….  “late” could actually be a problem.

I hate to be a Debby Downer... [so, I wrote. And then I proceeded to be one anyway.] 

I just gotta say, it’s so weird—and frustrating—that more people aren’t concerned about the Environment.  I mean, things like widespread habitat loss, staggering species extinction, whole icebergs melting into the sea… these things have been happening over the past too-many years.  Where’s the uproar?

Maybe the problem is these issues just don’t seem real to most people. Folks (including me) who live in towns and cities find it hard to relate to threats to the rainforests.  Plus, people (again, like me) have their own day-to-day problems to deal with, without getting all worked up over the poor whales.  (No offense, whales.)

By the way, the “Save the whales” campaign started in the 1970s.  Yet it’s still being used to make fun of eco-activists.  Is this how far we haven’t come?

Then, there are the environmental disasters:  the oil spills, the nuclear meltdowns, pollution-related deaths, and the rise in environmental diseases

Um, yeah.  That’s pretty much where I stopped writing.  I started depressing myself. And I really don’t want this blog to be gloomy.  Or doomy. 

Coincidentally, I started reading a book last week called The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature, by Starhawk.  In one of the early chapters, she asks the reader to consider what it is you hold sacred.  Ask yourself, she wrote:  “What do I care about so strongly that I can’t bear to see it compromised or destroyed?  What would I take a stand for?  Risk myself for?”

For some reason, this question tripped me up.  What do I hold sacred? 

Of course, the most important thing to me is my family.  I’d risk myself for my daughter. That’s the obvious answer, right?

But then, Starhawk asks the reader to imagine a world that cherished what is most sacred to you, and to think about what it would take to make this happen.  She goes on to say:  “Consider how you spend your time and energies.  Are your best energies directed toward bringing about your cherished vision of the world? Toward service of what is sacred to you?”

Well, geesh.  Not to get all negative again, but this made me think, “What the heck am I doing, anyway?

What is sacred to me?  And do my everyday actions and decisions reflect this?

These are questions I’ve been pondering the past few days.  I’ve got some ideas.  I think maybe it's Life itself that I hold sacred... and the natural world that creates and supports life.  I cherish the whole great mystery of life, and all the possibilities for connection and growth.  This is why I care about the peace movement so much.

But, I’m not done thinking about this.  For sure, I think these are the kinds of questions that should be contemplated frequently.

Coincidentally (again with the coincidences), I also learned about a new group this week called TreeSisters.  It’s a burgeoning movement out of England that connects sustainability with the feminine principle.  Its mission is to create a global network of women to lead a shift towards giving back to nature, beginning with an ambitious plan to reforest the tropics. 

I love it.  Empowering women AND saving trees.  Now this is something I can hold sacred.  TreeSisters, and its founder Clare Dakin, celebrate the natural world and provide an impetus and opportunity for taking action.  This is positive and hopeful.

And so very timely. 


Deb said...

love it. just looked briefly at tree sisters (why didn't we think of that!?) will go back and look more carefully, probably join. thanks for the link!

you should have a reading list on your blog. you're always reading something interesting and blogging about it. i often want to read the book, but am always already in the middle of 2 or 3 myself. but when i'm looking for something to read, i could come back here to remind myself of what i wanted to read but couldn't!

and btw, i'm with you on the outrage over the climate. where is it? i think people feel helpless and so they turn away. denial is a self-protection mechanism that i find quite scary, esp. since it ironically doesn't protect you from anything!

and hey - watch it with that "debbie" downer stuff! :)

Jennifer said...

Thanks, Deb. Sorry about the "Debbie Downer" comment! I was picturing Rachel Dratch on SNL and not any actual REAL "Deb's." Promise! :)

Good idea about starting a book list. I may just do that!