Quote of the day: In 1991, African-American activists Dana Alston and Benjamin Chavis, Jr. brought 300 African, Asian, Latino and Native American leaders together for the first National People of Color Environmental Leadership Conference. There at the event, Dana Alston noted that “people of color have gathered not in reaction to the environmental movement, but rather to reaffirm their traditional connection to and respect for the natural world.”
Commentary: While Franciscan Orders and environmental organizations in the US remain primarily populated by so-called “whites” primarily of European descent, that was neither the intent nor the preference of Saints Clare and Francis, and the Earth Day founders. They strived to reach out—across races, cultures, genders and professions—to recruit others who understood that earth justice and social justice are ultimately one and the same.
Suggestion Action #19: Today, go out and listen/talk with a person of another race, culture, gender or creed about how environmental issues are of concern to them. Which do they feel have the most significant impacts on their lives? When you are engaged in walking meditation, think how we can let dualisms – people vs environment, jobs vs. conservation – vanish for good from our hearts and minds.
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.