Quote of the day: When Gaylord Nelson announced in the fall of 1969 that he would sponsor a national or global holiday the next spring to honor the Earth itself, he was surprised by the universal response, “The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern for what was happening to the lands, rivers, lakes and air—and they did so with spectacular exuberance.”
Commentary: Senator Nelson could not have predicted it, but the first Earth Day engaged on in every ten American citizens, becoming the largest public celebration in U.S. history. But Earth Day did not “belong” to the U.S. alone. By 1990, Earth Day was celebrated by 200 million people in over 140 countries, making it the largest “secular” event in human history. Or was it a “secular” event? Are not many ethnicities and faiths around the world celebrating this day because for them, the Earth is deemed sacred, as the highest expression of the creative process or “Creator” alive in all of creation?
Suggested Action #25: Okay, I’m going to put you on the spot today: As you walk along your path, ask yourself whether you regard our Home, our Planet, as sacred or secular. Is its presence explained simply by the materialistic processes identified by physics, astronomy and geology, or alternatively, by wonder, or by both? Is the planet itself dead or alive, heartless or in love you and every other critter from here to tarnation? Deciding the nature of the Home you live within is to some extent asking you to decide how you will live your life and why.
Gary Paul Nabhan aka Brother Coyote is a professed member of the Ecumenical Order of Franciscans, a graduate of the Living School, a conservation biologist, orchard-keeper and story-teller.