Quote of the Day: Many of us have been touched by the comment attributed by Matthew to Jesus of Nazareth: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sister, you do to me.” Well, how Saint Francis chose to respond to this comment was to call his order the Poverelli, ‘the little poor ones’ to ensure that they experienced what the poorest and most marginalized among us experience daily, whether they were lepers, sharecroppers, Muslim slaves or battered women. But then Francis went a step further: He identified with the marginalized animals, from wolves and songbirds to ants and worms.
Commentary: What is interesting about the founding staff of Earth Day 1970 is that they were as much engaged with the peace movement and the civil rights movement as they were with the nascent environment movement.., they were concerned about anyone being marginalized. As we will explore on other days, they went on to work on issues of social justice, farm-worker justice, food justice and of course, environmental justice in a seamless way. They got what Buddhist poet Gary Snyder was bringing to our attention about that time, “Revolutionary consciousness is to be found among the most ruthlessly exploited classes: animals, trees, water, air, grasses.” There is no dualism here: you need not choose whether to help the poor, or restore habitat for endangered species.
Suggested Action #13: As you offer your time in service to others in this world, reflect upon how much of that time is devoted to the most marginalized peoples and most marginalized species. Who are you best at serving? Who do you need to extend your attention to? How often do you reach beyond your own comfort zone?
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.