The world aches with a heart-wrenching longing for hope, for healing, for belonging, for a life-sustaining future. The most pressing moral and spiritual question of the age is—what is our relationship to the earth and how do we set it right again. What is it that needs to be done? If what we have learned from culture and its economic and political systems is a hierarchical worldview that elevates the human species above all others, that markets the insatiable use of natural resources for the sake of a more convenient, easy, comfortable lifestyle (for the privileged few anyway), that values growth and profit above all else; then we shall have to unlearn the arrogance of human preeminence, call for the cherishing of earthly gifts to be shared by all, and choose to value life—all life—over short-sighted ‘progress”. What will it take to turn the tide of human folly? We shall have to move through lament into action, to let go of egoism and embrace imagination, to surrender attachments and unleash collaborative, interdependent energy.
The earth is God’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.
Take time to think about this: ” We shall have to move through lament into action, to let go of egoism and embrace imagination, to surrender attachments and unleash collaborative, interdependent energy.” What does it mean to you? What does it require?
O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures.
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude.
1 Timothy 4:4
We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.
If we fall in love with creation deeper and deeper, we will respond to its endangerment with passion.
Hildegard of Bingen
Even as seas rise against shores, another great tide is beginning to rise— a tide of outrage against the pillage of the planet, a tide of commitment to justice and human rights, a swelling affirmation of moral responsibility to the future and to Earth’s fullness of life.
Every being has its own interior, its self, its mystery, its numinous aspect. To deprive any being of this sacred quality is to disrupt the total order of the universe. Reverence will be total or it will not be at all. The universe does not come to us in pieces any more than a human individual stands before us with some part of his/her being.
All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance: only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity.
The name of our present society’s connection to the earth is “bad work” – work that is only generally and crudely defined, that enacts a dependence that is ill understood, that enacts no affection and gives no honor. Every one of us is to some extent guilty of this bad work. This guilt does not mean that we must indulge in a lot of breast-beating and confession; it means only that there is much good work to be done by every one of us and that we must begin to do it.
Woven into our lives is the very fire from the stars and the genes from the sea creatures, and everyone, utterly everyone, is kin in the radiant tapestry of being. This relationship is not external or extrinsic to our identity but wells up as the defining truth from our deepest being.
We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise.
Preamble to Earth Charter
This we know, the Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth. We did not weave the web of life; we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves.