Earth Day

The work to reinvigorate local economies and to take better care of our places continues, in fact, it never ends.

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 ...

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If you care to see the diversity of people and species and landscapes on this planet, first decolonize your mind.

Quote of the Day: On April 5 1970, some fifty years ago, a passage of Buddhist poet Gary Snyder’s Four Changes manifesto was read into the Congressional Record in anticipation of the first Earth Day that would be celebrated two and a half weeks later. It was the first expression of “contemplative ecology” to ever go viral, being picked up by over a dozen publications that year, and made into a poster that graced walls from coast to coast. In ...

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How can we get out of our own selfishness, unless we see that other lives matter each and every day?

Quote of the Day: The Patriarch Bartholomew once said, “The root cause of all our [environmental] difficulties lies’ in human selfishness and sin (literally, missing the mark.) What is asked of us is not greater technological skill, but deeper metanoia, (literally, a transformation of mind and heart.) …we need a new way of thinking about ourselves, our relationship with creation, and the Creator.”

Commentary: When Bartholomew talks about a new way of thinking, I sense that it is heart + mind ...

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The Earth is not just about celebrating the sweetness and beauty of life on earth. It’s also about how to reduce suffering.

Quote of the Day: In Debbie Hale’s wondrous book, Consider the Birds: A Provocative Guide to Birds of the Bible, she says this: “Being alive involves a lot: suffering and taste buds and sweetness and muck. The spirit of God is not apart from this.” Whether we call that spirit Creator or Elder Brother or the Tao or the evolutionary process, we still get the muck from which we arose, sweetness in our innocence as children, taste buds and sensuality ...

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The path of the cross winds back to life in the garden. Our new life is one of patient care and abiding joy…

Quote of the Day: In T. Wilson Dickinson’s  wonderful new book, The Green Good News, he reminds us that whether we walk a trail through suffering from disease or hunger, or follow the Lenten Path of tracking Jesus on his way to the hill where he was crucified and beyond, “The path of the cross winds back to life in the garden. Our new life is one of patient care and abiding joy…”

Commentary: It is what we begin to here ...

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If there has ever been a time in your life to set enough minutes of the day for deep listening, it is now.

Quote of the Day: Whenever we go into solitude, we are not acting in a misanthropic manner, we are renewing our wellspring of good will for other. Henry David Thoreau put it this way: “Nothing makes the Earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”

Commentary: If there has ever been a time in your life to set enough minutes of the day aside for silent contemplative work and deep listening to ...

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Go out and preach good news to all other creatures, and only when necessary use human words.

Quote of the Day: Jack Wintz of the Order of Friars Minor insightfully tells us that “in reading Saint Bonaventure’s Life of St. Francis recently, I was surprised by where Bonaventure positioned what was Francis’ most famous story of preaching to birds. He has the story occurring right at the point in Francis’ life where Francis is struggling with a deep personal dilemma: Should he retire from the world and devote himself entirely to prayer or should he continue traveling about as a ...

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We are not ever alone, especially during a moment of crisis.

Quote of the Day: Irish-American poet Saint Brian Doyle once wrote that “I have never thought that prayers of request can be answered; I do not think that is the way of Mercy; yet we do whisper prayers of supplication; I think we always have, since long before our species arrived in this form. Sometimes I think that beings have been praying since there were beings; I suspect that all beings of every sort do pause and revere occasionally…”

Commentary: Some ...

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All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and amended by silence, and silence is the consecration of the universe.

Quote of the Day: When Herman Melville reminded us that “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and amended by Silence, and Silence is the consecration of the universe,” he may have been out at sea, chasing whales, or in the solitude of his writer’s desk next to a fireplace, chasing dreams.

Commentary: Now many of those around us—and perhaps all of you reading this as well—are dealing with a degree of enforced solitude, with more silence all around ...

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How does the soundscape around you express what is happening on this planet?

Quote of the Day: In Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, she makes the most remarkable comparison about the kinds of music in our world, “It was reassuring to know that far away, whales swim [and sing] in Baltic waters, and monks in arcane times zones chanted ceaselessly for the salvation of the world.”

Commentary:  My late great friend, Richard Nelson of Alaska, called this Earth we lived nestled within the Singing Planet. Whenever I wake up and go outside, I hear the ...

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What ways can you be part of volunteers to offer others help, in ways that enrich your life?

Quote of the day: My good friend Native American biologist Robin Wall Kimmerer offered this wisdom with regard to our current crisis: “When times are easy and there’s plenty to go around, individual species can go it alone. But when conditions are harsh and life is tenuous, it takes a team sworn to reciprocity to keep life going forward.”

Commentary:  Times are not easy for the poorest of the poor, the elderly, and many others in our midst. They are invisible ...

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How many times do you get the balance right in consumption of food, fuel, materials, and other stuff?

Quote of the day: In Mark Van Steenwyk’s delightful parable about St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio, A Wolf at the Gate, Sister Wolf asks Francis, “Beggar King, why do some people eat big meals while other eat small meals…and still others rarely eat anything at all? The cows and pigs eat far better than many of the beggars on the street?” Francis the Beggar King replies, “Some people eat big meals because their hearts are empty. Some people ...

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What can you do to tear down such silos and see the world afresh?

Quote of the day: In his caring for creation encyclical, Pope Francis suggests that “We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationship with other people.”

Commentary: It has struck me as both ironic and sad that the Laudato Si encyclical fell on deaf ears both among some Catholics and even some Franciscans, as if one more prophet was not welcomed in his own ...

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Ask yourself, whether you regard our home, our planet, as sacred or secular?

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 ...

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If fear is a disease, tranquility and contemplative silence are the cures. Turn the uncertainty into a gift.

Quote of the day: In Richard Hedrick’s recent poem, Lockdown, we hear the contemplative voice emerge out of the pandemic of fear and chaos:

Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation.Yes there is panic buying. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death.

But, they say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise, you can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet, the sky is no ...

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In your imagination, remember the very first place you felt scared, and care for it.

Quote of the day: “What I stand for is what I stand on,” poet-farmer Wendell Berry once quipped. Or is it just a quip, a minimalist aphorism?  Is it instead all-encompassing if you take it for all its dimensions?

Commentary: The great Jewish scholar and theologian of the prophets, Abraham Joshua Heschel once contrasted religions that are deeply rooted in place with the more universal, cosmopolitan ones that have become placeless, able to be practiced anywhere, somewhere or nowhere. Saint Francis ...

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As you walk along your path, contrast your fears with your hopes…

Quote of the day: African-American environmental activist and coalition leader Carl Anthony was once asked how he felt about what the environmental movement has failed to achieve. His answer surprised me: “I’m actually a bit of an optimist about all this…I believe that there are changes that take a long time to come to fruition but when they happen, they are big. Right now, the biggest challenge that we’re facing is global warming and climate change. But [the current demographic ...

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We need an Earth Keepers Movement as diverse as life itself!

Quote of the day: Civil rights activist Dana Alston once noted that “people of color have gathered together not in reaction to the environmental movement, but rather to reaffirm their traditional connection to and respect for the natural world.”

Commentary: Each culture on this face of this earth has a different gift or charism to offer the environmental movement. It has a different way of praying for threatened lives, and blessing those who have survived and been restored or revived. We ...

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What if we as a society actually embraced an expansive vision of what just the world should look like?

Quote of the day: My friend, Carolinian poet Nickole Brown has A Prayer to Talk to Animals that ends with this phrase: “I want to open my mouth and sound a language that calls all language home.”

Commentary: It is curious to me that the goals of the first Earth Day were about inclusiveness, to listen to both threatened animals and marginalized peoples. The daughter of ED Founder Gaylord Nelson put it this way: “My father’s original vision was of an ...

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Go out and listen/talk with a person of another race, culture, gender or creed about how environmental issues are of concern to them.

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 ...

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