April 22nd marks Earth Day. A day to reflect upon the beauty and vulnerability of the natural world. A day to acknowledge that we humans have profoundly messed our nest and that generations to come, will inherit a planet profoundly diminished by human consumption, greed and willful ignorance.
We humans know this to be true. Many simply don't care, preferring convenience and short term profits. Humanity watches as our non- human neighbors are degraded and erased and our very survival as a species brought into question.
We know this. Scientists have told us for decades that a tipping point is coming, even as merchants of fossil fuel heat the planet, as their political toadies enable and benefit. In our heart of hearts, we know this to be true.
The answer to mitigating the worst of the fallout is clear: Invest in clean energy, stop using fossil fuels, limit consumption, stop polluting, stop clear cutting forests which trap carbon etc. This isn't rocket science. We know what to do. But we don't.
Is there any hope?
Terry Tempest Williams, the environmental activist, mystic, poet and prophet, tells us that our hope is found in prayer. Not a prayer that is passive or as an alternative to action. Rather, she invites us to approach our relationship with the natural world with a sacred stance. A way of leaning into the world so as to listen, learn and be transformed. She writes:
I pray to the birds.
I pray to the birds because they will carry the messages of my heart upward.
I pray to them because I believe in their existence, the way their songs begin
and end each day - the invocations and the benedictions of the Earth.
I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love rather than what I fear
and at the end of my prayers, they teach me how to listen.
Imagine a day when the Earth is not viewed as a commodity, rather as a sacred trust. Imagine a day when science and the sacred kiss. Imagine a world where enough of us give voice to a rallying prayer that all the earth and all that lives within (birds, muskrats, cattails, water, bears and bunnies and humans) are equal, essential, sacred.
Imagine what happens when Earth Day is more than a day, rather a way of being. Imagine a day when more and more of us remember what we love and from a place of fierce love, refuse to be complacent or quiet. When enough of us say 'no more' to the merchants of fossil fuels and their enablers. No more to those who dishonor the natural places we call home.
Imagine a day when every day is Earth Day. A day when we pray to the birds and are blessed.
With you on the journey ~ Kent Harrop
Note: You know what to do! Get involved: with the Audubon Society audubon.org , the Trustees of Reservations thetrustees.org , 350.org Third Act thirdact.org Sierra Club sierraclub.org ... Ask around your local community and see who is helping to protect the natural places you call home. Add your voice, open your wallet, vote your values...and, pray to the birds.