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Denis Hayes: I never dreamed how fundamentally Earth Day would alter the political, cultural and economic landscape.

Quote of the Day: Denis Hayes, national coordinator of the first Earth Day, recently wrote how he had high hopes for the first global environmental teach-in, as it was initially called: “Organizers had sweeping demands for breathable air and clean waters as well as for banning DDT, halting offshore drilling, saving the whales, and removing lead from paint and gasoline. I thought we would score some victories, but I never dreamed how fundamentally Earth Day would alter the political, cultural and economic landscape.”

Commentary: It, in fact, did more than that: it ushered in a new paradigm of ecological thought, one that revealed interconnectedness and heightened our awe of all of creation. It also altered the spiritual landscape through the emergence of what is now called contemplative ecology, something that no single organized religion could covet or own alone.

Suggested Action #14: Walk a bit until you find a tree you can sit under. Stop for a few minutes and ask yourself what you and that tree have in common. Ask yourself if that tree has standing in your religious practice, or whether it has already been chain-sawed out of the way of your spiritual sensibility by the narrow ways contemporary society has divided in the world into silos… religion here…nature there… never the twain shall meet (or you might be called an animistic, a pagan or a druid!) Say goodbye to such limited presumptions and embrace the lives found immediately around you as deeply as Buddha, Jesus,  Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Clare or Francis did. Welcome that tree to your congregation. No more ecological apartheid!


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.


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