Earth Day, Sacred Days, Many Risings

Posted April 22nd, 2011 in Blog, Featured 2 Comments »

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

Sorry for the long silence. My computer was victim of a massive virus invasion that had to be cleaned up from scratch. I am still recovering stuff. Who are these people that think this fun or interesting? Anyway, that and a trip to DC to give a workshop on the Wisconsin political scene for the conference of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition made it impossible to get any writing done.

Photo: Margaret Swedish

It’s a gray, cold, gloomy day in Milwaukee right now. I left behind me the Washington spring, warm and luscious. April almost never disappoints, always one of my favorite months there (if you ignore the green dust of the oak pollen that knocks you out for days at a time).  Coming back the other day, I drove through rainstorms and fog in the mountains of Maryland and West Virginia. So beautiful the way the white fog rose out of valleys, wrapped around the mountainsides. A couple of times, I drove into a cloud and out again, always a thrill.

Across northern Indiana, the earth was soaked, lots of standing water and rivers and streams out of their banks. This was true back east, too. This spring has been a wild one, no? with record numbers of tornadoes, torrential downpour after torrential downpour. The weather is changing in response to climate change. Most people know this or feel it or intuit it. Since we are doing so little to address what it will mean for our lives, we will end up mostly in reaction mode, facing disasters and disruptions on an ever-larger scale. The impacts will accumulate. Ask insurance companies right now what they think about climate change and weather.  They have stories, and lots of concerns.

Think of the fires in Texas and Oklahoma. Think of all the raging fires of recent years out west and in the southeast. These will be part of the new normal, just as these powerful storms have become.

Earth from Galileo - NASA photo

Earth Day. So much popular culture has come out of Wisconsin, as many are learning in these days of protests all around the state. Earth Day, too, founded by our old Gov. Gaylord Nelson.

This year, of course, it falls on Good Friday and many folks will be in church pondering the Christian story. I hope they remember their home planet. I hope they make the connection. I hope folks will think about what the beatitudes and woes, the story of the rich young man, Matthew 25, Jesus taking mud, earth stuff, and putting it on the eyes of the blind man to help heal him, or the absolute inclusivity of his community (women at the core, Samaritans and Roman soldiers with access to healing and salvation, the cultural outcasts, the tax collector, etc.), and the way in which he dismissed those who claimed special access to God or that people must go through religious leaders to access God – I hope folks will ponder what these stories mean in the context of today’s world.

I hope they think about what a loaves and fishes spirituality might mean in a world facing looming scarcities of food, water, energy, the things we need for life.

I hope they might put the Passover story of liberation in today’s context.

Spring, and the time of many risings. The cold that has held its grip over southeastern Wisconsin will eventually give way. The daffodils I see across the street tell me that. But it will be a late planting season as the ground needs to warm a whole lot to receive the seeds.

I always look forward to that time, to putting my hands back into the earth, to prepare it for the seeds and the summer harvest. Right now, what I have is a little patch in a friend’s yard, a patch that seems to get a bit larger each year. We carefully tend that earth and it gives amazing abundance in a very small space. For the first time this year, I will plant seeds that I myself saved, heirloom pole beans that keep on giving from July until October. The friend who started me on them said they go back a few generations in her family.

A lot different from Monsanto fields, GMO seeds sprayed with pesticides, dangerous food to eat. Sad that we made a world in which food grown in fields is dangerous to eat. How ’bout that story yesterday showing that pesticides lower children’s IQ!

Redbud in bloom in the Maryland mountains. Photo: Margaret Swedish

I love this precious Earth. I love my home. We have done it great harm, and more harm is intended by all sorts of corporations that make profits off the destruction, and off the scarcities. We have learned to live wrongly on the planet and now we don’t know how else to live.

But among the risings we honor this weekend are those that represent the earnest efforts of thousands and thousands of people around the country who are beginning to relearn how to live rightly on the planet.  This is what we intend to write about more on this blog, to help surface these many endeavors where people are taking to heart the great challenge of our times – to salvage and renew the human species before we do so much damage that the Earth can no longer hold us, to re-plant the human community within the eco-communities of which we are a part and without which we do not live.

Working towards that renewal sounds like a good future to me, a great human project. And then, of course, it is also necessary, essential, a matter of our survival.


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2 Responses

  1. D.Bheemeswar

    This year is pretty worst already, unseasonal rains, devastating natural calamities etc. What else we have to see is not known. People are all crazy and it is nerve chilling silence, the human genome may explode any time as new and new health problems are cropping up. Specially all the so called self styled leaders all are mad for their own reasons. There is a lot of unrest over the world, due to ethnic problems, that too triggered by the unhealthy practices. We are facing ecological problems one side, natural disasters from other and social unrest due genome. this genome is mainly due to those persons who think they only have brains.

  2. D.Bheemeswar

    The problem of the genome is who is better in the genes, white, black or region, which religion is great. To my knowledge none. Only the race and religion that thinks that all humans, and the who ever has better wisdom is having the better genes.The genes that try to bull doze or show muscle power is not great. We are now living among the people who are literally high and illiterate totally as they are the worst uncivilized ones.