Connect to Mother Earth

Martha McCormickOutdoor Education, Social JusticeLeave a Comment

I walked into the kitchen and had to squint. The morning sun was shining brightly through the door. It’s been a challenging winter; judging by the number of people walking and running outside yesterday, we’re ready for it to end. The cardinals, goldfinch and house finches are emptying my bird feeders again.

I’m itching to get back into my garden—fantasizing about trimming my redbud tree, opening my pond and hanging a set of Japanese lanterns above the Old Pond Garden. It’s time to bring the compost bucket back into the kitchen and thaw the lid on the composting bin. These are all ways I connect with my mother, the earth.

John Muir, naturalist said, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” Earth is where we come from. One of the strongest connections we have, but we rarely think of it.

I’m taking my classes outside to collect materials for spring art projects. Their resistance reinforced my concern that many kids don’t have the love of the soil and all that grows from it. Richard Louv’s article is hopeful abut helping kids connect to the earth, and how it will help us create the solutions to our Mother Earth’s challenges.

In a speech at Drake University last fall, President Olafur Grimsson of Iceland highlighted the connections between ice, energy, and food. “As the Greenland glaciers and the Arctic sea ice continue to melt faster than ever and NASA issues extreme warnings, some of us ask, a bit bewildered: Why does the political and corporate leadership of most countries honour and respect the Space Agency because it landed a man on the Moon, and recently a robot on Mars, but ignore it altogether when it gives us alarming news about Mother Earth?”

Viewing the Earth as mother gives us a paradigm for our origination from Earth, living as part of Earth, our expected return to Earth, recycled just as all biomass is recycled. When we know at a deep level that we are the Earth, we listen to the warnings and look for the creative solutions.

There are several answers, none really easy. The big answer is, “Use less energy.” Considerably less. Until we have clean energy sources that don’t add to climate change, decreasing the use of fossil fuels really makes a difference.

For me, this involves combining trips in my car, walking or riding my bike when I can. What does it look like for you? Please join the conversation.

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