And our conservationist-environmentalist-moral outrage is often (in its frustration) aimed at the logger or the rancher, when the real power is in the hands of people who make unimaginably larger sums of money, people impeccably groomed, excellently educated at the best universities – male and female alike – eating fine foods and reading classy literature, while orchestrating the investment and legislation that ruin the world.
~ Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild
To argue that the current extinction event could be averted if people just cared more and were willing to make more sacrifices is not wrong, exactly; still, it misses the point. It doesn’t much matter whether people care or don’t care. What matters is that people change the world. This capacity predates modernity.
~ Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
Caretaking is the utmost spiritual and physical responsibility of our time, and perhaps that stewardship is finally our place in the web of life, our work, the solution to the mystery that we are. There are already so many holes in the universe that will never again be filled, and each of them forces us to question why we permitted such loss, such tearing away at the fabric of life, and how we will live with our planet in the future.
~ Linda Hogan, Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World
We have an invitation to go to church in a new way, by praying before the new leaves budding through dormant trees or the wobbly flowers by the side of the road pushing through the solid earth. . . we too can sing with the air we breathe, the sun that shines upon us, the rain that pours down to water the earth. And we can cry with those who are mourning, with the forgotten, with those who are suffering from disease or illness, with the weak, with the imprisoned. We can mourn in the solidarity of compassion but we must live in the hope of new life.
~ Ilia Delio
We sat in silence, letting the green in the air heal what it could.
Life itself is as much a long walk as it is a long conversation, and the ways along which we walk are those along which we live.
~ Tim Ingold, Ways of Walking
Gratitude is most powerful as a response to the Earth because it provides an opening to reciprocity, to the act of giving back, to living in a way that the Earth will be grateful for us.
~ Robin Wall Kimmerer
There’s a song that wants to sing itself through us. We just got to be available. Maybe the song that is to be sung through us is the most beautiful requiem for an irreplaceable planet or maybe it’s a song of joyous rebirth as we create a new culture that doesn’t destroy its world. But in any case, there’s absolutely no excuse for our making our passionate love for our world dependent on what we think of its degree of health, whether we think it’s going to go on forever. Those are just thoughts anyway. But this moment you’re alive, so you can just dial up the magic of that at any time.
~ Joanna Macy
Searching for spring all day, I never saw it,
straw sandals treading everywhere
among the clouds, along the banks.
Coming home, I laughed, catching
the plum blossom’s scent:
spring at each branch tip, already perfect.
~ unknown zen nun from the Song Dynasty (trans. by Sam Hammill and J.P. Seaton, The Poetry of Zen)
We can no longer hear the voice of the rivers, the mountains, or the sea. The trees and meadows are no longer intimate modes of spirit presence. The world about us has become an ‘it’ rather than a ‘thou.’
~ Thomas Berry
What is needed is a new pattern of rapport with the planet. Here we come to the critical transformation needed in the emotional, aesthetic, spiritual, and religious orders of life. Only a change that profound in human consciousness can remedy the deep cultural pathology manifest in such destructive behavior. Such change is not possible, however, so long as we fail to appreciate the planet that provides us with a world abundant in the volume and variety of food for our nourishment, a world exquisite in supplying beauty of form, sweetness of taste, delicate fragrances for our enjoyment, and exciting challenges for us to overcome with skill and action. The poets and artists can help restore this sense of rapport with the natural world. It is this renewed sense of reciprocity with nature, in all of its complexity and remarkable beauty, that can help provide the psychic and spiritual energies necessary for the work ahead.
~ Thomas Berry, The Sacred Universe