Staying Grounded

There are lists upon lists of things you can do to help the environment. You’ve read and perhaps tried many of them: reducing, reusing, recycling; walking, biking, or taking public transportation; using less water and energy; eating less meat. Continue to find ways to live more simply as an individual and in community, and that you’ll encourage your church and government to protect the environment.

As you do this vital work, you may be discouraged and disheartened to see progress come slowly or seemingly not at all. You may be tempted to give up or to give in to easy excess. You may feel hate toward the “enemy” that is destroying creation.

Here are three practices to keep you grounded, loving, and hopeful:

Stay close to nature. Reconnect with creatures and plants, whether in an animal shelter, your garden, a city park, or the wilderness. Actually touch the living soil with your bare hands and feet. Feel the breeze and listen to the birds.

Lament the suffering and loss you see. Let yourself truly grieve for extinct species, for people touched by hurricanes, famine, and disease. Cry and wail aloud. Beat a drum. Tear a piece of cloth. Create and bury a litany of loss.

Celebrate the beauty and mystery of our universe. Write a poem, chant a psalm, paint a picture. Say thanks for the abundance of air, water, food, and shelter you receive every day. Praise the Creator who is gradually bringing all of creation to fullness and wholeness, through your participation.