The first Earth Day was in 1970, 52 years ago. It was the beginning of the modern environmental movement in the United States. I remember our school planting a tree for the occasion. Little could I have imagined how many more trees would need to be planted, and that that would become a movement in itself, to offset our carbon footprint– a term which had not yet been invented.
My neighbor was the head of the Natural Resources Defense Council, so perhaps I was more attuned than many, but I truly thought then, and later in my 20’s when I was in charge of the sorting end of the newly begun curbside recycling program in San Francisco, that we had this problem solved. The problem of taking care of our own backyard. After all, we had the technology and all the information we needed. While in that position I was also able to visit gray water and blackwater filtration systems that used plants and water to clean our waste. However, the United States did not really embrace recycling, and legislation about emissions was won only after hard fights, and then was vulnerable to being undone. Packaging on new items has increased incredibly, pollution is still allowed to proliferate. The science community tells us we now have only a small window of opportunity to address this issue. We need to embrace it as the drastic issue it is.
There are things we can do on a personal level, but perhaps our biggest challenge is at the national level. As with all of our systemic issues, we are called to address this issue at a systemic level. Education and legislation is crucial. click here to take action
As people of faith, we are doubly called to this work. We are called to care for the earth as our home. We are called to care for the earth for the sake of our most vulnerable neighbors. In this Eastertide, we praise God prolifically along with the moon and the stars, the stones, and the trees. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we need to accept our part in aiding the resurrection of this created world. We have leaders of many ages in this movement, and we all need to participate, no matter what age we are. Some faith-based opportunities are the Public Policy and Environmental Action Team at St. Luke’s (contact Sarah Braik email@example.com), and the Climate Justice Council of the diocese of Maine (contact The Rev. Jenny Reece firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you are able, I hope you will join us in the Trash Clean up and Invasive Plant Removal organized by Kate Shambaugh through the Portland Parks Conservacy: Saturday, April 22 from 10-12, meet at the end of Marginal Way under Turkey’s Bridge.
Also, please read below for information on our Earth Day service this Sunday!