In her article, “Wisdom from the Women of Standing Rock”, blogger Shannon Kring shared these words from a 37-year-old mother of four:
The land is not a resource.
It is an entity that you have a relationship with
and you respect, like your grandmother, mother, and aunts.
We have to be good stewards.
We have to take care of the land.
We have to feed her and offer her prayers.
In return, we are blessed with good health.
Everything comes full circle.
It’s been said that we will not save that which we do not deeply love. When we feel a deep love for a person or an institution, or for a place, an idea, or a belief, we are more likely to fight to preserve and protect that which we love. However, if we don’t have a significant relationship with that particular group of people or with that place, idea, or belief, we are not likely to experience a strong connection. And therefore, it is unlikely that we will stand up to defend and protect.
April 22nd is Earth Day. For too many people, the idea that the Earth is our home is, at best, only a concept. Too many of us don’t have a deep personal relationship with the natural world. Until we as a society have a strong connection – a sense of love and devotion – to the Earth and to the wonders of nature, we are not likely to do everything we can to preserve it.
In the Lakota tradition, you might be greeted with the phrase, Mitákuye Oyás’i?, which literally means “all are my relatives.” It’s more than just a phrase. For the native peoples, it’s a guiding principle for life – that everything is related to everything else. That includes you. Everything. All people. All of creation.
Too often in public discourse, when we speak of our “natural resources” – trees, water, oil, gas, stone – we speak as if their primary purpose is to fulfill our needs. But, as the Women of Standing Rock remind us, no part of the earth is a “resource.” It’s a living, breathing eco-system in which all the parts are interdependent. There seems to be an intelligence guiding that eco-system – call it by the name that fits within your belief system. The system knows what it needs and will naturally create the necessary balance for the whole system to thrive. In fact, biomimicry has emerged as an exciting new field of technology. Biomimicry is all about imitating the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems.
The Earth – this living, breathing eco-system – is our home. For many of us, protecting our personal homes is important to us. When we take care of our homes, our homes provide shelter, warmth, comfort, and safety.
As individuals and as a collective, we must also take care of our planetary home. We must be good stewards of all that she offers us. If we do, she can continue to provide us with everything we need. However, the only way this can happen is when we stop seeing ourselves as separate from this extraordinary, living, breathing eco-system – as if it is here to serve us – and start seeing ourselves as part of it.
In the coming days, carve out time to be in nature. Maybe even invite some friends to join you. Connect to the Earth and her incredible natural beauty. Look for the beauty and wonder in all creatures and every part of the natural world. And then include time in nature as a part of your weekly activities.
Celebrate our Earth home. Love our Earth home. It’s the only home we have.
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- Earth Day – Celebrating the Fullness of Life
- “The Overview Effect” – A Beautiful Film and a Critical Worldview Shift For Our Time
- Keeping the Earth in the Growth Conversation