Science provides us today, in exquisite detail, not only the damage we have inflicted upon the ecosystem(s) of the planet but the consequences as well. Why then, are we not changing our behavior? Are we feeling environmentally helpless in our ability to make changes that make a difference?
Those words introduced this website, Restoring the Waters, now several years ago. Since that time two things have happened: my closest human friends are in intimate and active relationship with the earth community; and the seeming uncrossable chasm between my small circle (and other like circles, of which there are many) and those who plunder and destroy the very planet that is home to all of us, has only grown wider. So, perhaps I am moving into more clarity and less forgiveness. I don’t know if that is or isn’t a good thing. I do know that the powers that cannot get enough of anything that has the word “power” attached, aren’t listening to the likes of me. These powers include Corporations, Politicians, and Churches, just for starters.
There is danger in moving to a “we” and “they” divide. I try hard to include myself among “them”, with good reason. I am that “them”. And yet, together, we and they are crossing the rubicon, or have already done so, taking all forms along.
What if there was a process that would move us from our sense of environmental helplessness to a state of eco-spiritual awakening and eco-activist empowerment that would bring about profound change?
This is still a valuable question. I am a believer in the persuasive power of all of us, as long as we don’t give up, and as long as we don’t choose to stay asleep. Significant partnerships are still missing: between science and spirit; science and the arts; the arts and a new economic vision; a new economic vision and medicine; medicine and integrated health; integrated health and ecological healing.
If we are to become, in the words of Fritjof Capra, systems thinkers, then we have to be embracing all of it, teaching ourselves and each other, forming working friendships across the disciplines.
Three years ago I wrote this: Restoring the Waters offers people this mind-and-heart-changing process through art, poetry, music, ritual, philosophy, and even theology (when useful). Through this process, we become empowered as we remember that the earth community is sacred, begin to understand creation spiritually – according all life forms, human and non-human, their true sacramental value.
I stand by much of that, without now the arrogance of solutions, but instead, the art of wondering, of embracing paradox, of radical hope. I read this poem by Banaro Overstreet daily:
(To One Who Doubts the Worth of
Doing Anything If You Can’t Do Everything)
You say the Little efforts that I make
will do no good: they never will prevail
to tip the hovering scale
where Justice hangs in balance.
I don’t think I ever thought they would.
But I am prejudiced beyond debate
in favor of my right to choose which side
shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight.
I invite you in; I yearn for the conversation; I have no answers. Yet I cannot help but keep putting these ideas out into the world. I have always, and continue to be, what my friend Marjorie says of herself, “A writer widely unknown.” I am grateful for that description, because it speaks of our insistence to keep on speaking out, to keep on writing, to keep on protesting, getting arrested and fingerprinted. Whatever the ways we are able to participate, the invitation is to keep on.
Welcome to this new and revised effort. We are all in it, the human and the more-than-human community. Not only do we need one another, we breathe, eat, drink one another and live by one another’s breath.
With deep appreciation to Rex Nelson and Diane Varner for many of the photographs throughout this website.