Quote of the Day: As we move toward the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, it is a good time to remember what this celebration is really about. As Sister Chris Loughlin of the Crystal Spring Literary Center says it, “We need a change of heart, a change of mind,” to truly solve environmental problems. Earth Day pioneer Arturo Sandoval puts it this way: “We have a lot more work to do to become fully human again. What I mean is that Earth Day began to take off our blinders so that we could reconnect with place again, and build reciprocity with one another. That work to reinvigorate local economies and to take better care of our places continues, in fact it never ends.”
Commentary: Earth Day emerged out of the fears associated with a possible nuclear winter, with the spraying of napalm on forest peoples during the Viet Nam War, with the illnesses that Black and Hispanic farmworkers suffered due to exposure to toxic agrichemicals, and with the decline of fish and wildlife everywhere. The youth of that era wanted fundamental changes in our relationship to the planet. They wanted this day to help us collectively change our minds and hearts so that the earth’s beauty, diversity and capacity to nourish could be renewed.
Suggested Action #38: On your walk today, offer a gesture of renewal to the place you live within: a clearing away of dead brush; a pruning of a tangled, overtaxed apple tree; a sowing of seeds; a placement of branches to slow erosion above a stream bank. Do it to restore nature. Do it to initiate another earthward change in your heart –metanoia- that you need as much as a larva needs metamorphosis to become a butterfly.
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.