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OUR ONLY WORLD

I came across this post by Bruce on Earth Day, but have been busy attending and presenting at two conferences and completing work with student teachers. My delay provided me with room to reflect on what Earth Day means, raising questions for me about its meaning. Quite often, we relegate one day a year to celebrate a particular event and, once done, we relegate it do a shelf for another year. I think Earth Day is treated that way.

What Bruce’s reminds me of is the daily wonders I experience when I consider Earth Day an ongoing event. In this particular post, he draws on Wendell Berry who is an elegant voice on the concept of caring for the nest we share with each other. In his writing, Wendell Berry reminds me ecology and economy come from the Greek oikos, meaning household. My mother used to say “Even pigs do not poop where they live, eat, and sleep?”

Humans are not separate from nature. We are an integral part of nature and how we treat nature, including one another, speaks to who we are as part of nature. Do we exploit nature for 364 days without any consideration for tomorrow? Or, do we conserve its beauty and while over its worth and common good? I think a word that is often overlooked is prudent. Do we live within our means? Do we care for our household with prudence and care?

I understand the political notions of conversativism and progressivism as a false dichotomy. What does it mean to converse? What do we want to conserve? When we progress, what do we throw out? Both sides, if it can understood as sides, do little to conserve. In fact, I contend that, if we solved our environmental issues, the people who stand on opposite sides would be unhappy. They would be left with nothing to argue about and unable to point accusatory fingers at one another.

The post concludes with: “Only the present good is good. It is the presence of good – good work, good thoughts, good acts, good places – by which we know that the present does not have to be a nightmare of the future. ‘The kingdom of God is at hand’ because, if not at hand, it is nowhere.” In a Judeo-Christian biblical narrative and despite what many claim, we were left to be stewards of nature, to care for it, and allow it to flourish so we might flourish. This is not unique to the Judeo-Christian traditions. There are teachings attributed to The Buddha that speak to how we should treat animals. This includes their habitat, food source, water source, etc. and is not simply the treatment of pets and livestock. As well, Indigenous people share an understanding of the interconnectedness of nature and the universe.

I leave with you three quotes and I found many others.

Religion is what binds us together. It is not a set a beliefs, but faith in a community to do what is proper and share with one another.
Indifference is the opposite of love.
Share words and acts of grattitude and love for Nature.

About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

16 responses »

  1. You said it well. We have to protect our natural world. I’m thinking that those people who throw litter out the car window are not caring about nature at all. And those people who kick animals (that is so upsetting) are likely to mistreat their family and friends as well. We truly can see how a person’s respect for nature, unfortunately, shows their respect for those they meet in their daily life as well. This love of nature has to be started at a young age but who will be responsible? Did I overstep my limits?

    Reply
    • Thank you Bev. We each need to do our little bit to make the world a better place. Imagine, if we did our little bit, what that might add up to?

      My brother, who I am at polar opposites in terms of politics, will go pick the garbage someone throws out in a parking lot, go to the vehicle, and say “I think you dropped this.” He gets few arguments.

      Reply
  2. Great post, it has to be a group effort for us to accomplish real change! C

    Reply
  3. Yup. Earth day is every day in our world. Wish everyone felt as we do, Ivon. 🙏🍃

    Reply
  4. Carving out one day, or ‘holiday season’ to celebrate, care for, be better, has always seemed rather ‘short term answer to make folks feel good, while not really gaining any long term gains in ‘better’ – – included in this is being kind and good only one day a week for religious services – or, here in USA – the gift of generosity only expressed during Christmas season – for food, heat, etc. Sigh – –

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    • Oops! Didn’t type out the ‘to me it seems’ portion of this!! Sigh – My oopsie!!

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    • Theere is something to be said about making the world a better place one day at a time.

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      • well, to me? One day at a time is still, overall, a lifetime endeavor! Things change – what known yesterday not the same as what we know today – better, I find ‘peace’ in history – overall – and those in history that both spoke up, did what they felt was best, even in face of opposition – quietly – I recently watched the biography of Rachel Carson (author, Silent Spring) she died from cancer – had cancer/was struggling with it while her book was walking the publishing path, but she didn’t want to talk about it – why? “They’ll think what I wrote is just because I have cancer” and she just chose to ‘ignore/not share’ that part of her/her life – There is, to me, both a beauty and a sadness all at once, in that story –

      • I agree. If we have learned something from the times we live in, is we are always collecting data in real time. I prefer to think of it as non-quantitave data.

        What a lovely and sad story about Rachel Carson. Her thining was prescient.

  5. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    THE BEST OF HUMAN WISDOM

    Reply

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