"We cultivate a spiritual deepening with The Divine, each other, and our planet.”
This sentence is a portion of Spiritual Life Center’s Vision Statement and seems particularly relevant since Friday, April 22nd, is Earth Day. Earth Day is an annual global event that celebrates the environmental movement and raises awareness about maintaining a healthy and clean planet. The issue of climate change is probably not at the forefront of most people's minds. There are so many things going on in our world today–the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the lingering effects of a pandemic that hasn't fully completed itself, people's concerns about pocket-book economic issues, and a polarized political environment.
Nevertheless, thanks to the ongoing media coverage and the work of dedicated individuals, nonprofits, and scientists, most reasonably objective people are at least somewhat aware that climate change is legitimate and poses a real challenge to humanity and our planet. Still, for many of us there is a disconnect between that awareness and our emotional engagement with the issue. But as the safety warning on the side mirror of our car says, "objects in mirror are closer than they appear," the threat of climate change is more imminent than many of us probably acknowledge. After all, problems posed by climate change often seem like a distant, invisible slow-moving train rather than something that requires our immediate attention.
That train, however, is much closer than it may appear. Physical and biological changes confirm that climate change is no small concern. The changes include the rate of reduction in glaciers worldwide and the increased intensity of rainfall events. There are visible changes in the timing of the leafing out of plants and the arrival of spring migrant birds. And while there is debate about how much of the change is caused by humanity and how much is due to natural climate cycles, it behooves us to give climate change the attention it deserves. After all, if the planet is rendered uninhabitable, all the other challenges we face won't matter.
Considering the reality of climate change, a question we might ask ourselves is, "What can I do?" It's a good question. However, perhaps a better one is "What can we do?" It's a more appropriate question since we need to think less as individuals, and more as collective humanity at this critical time. It's about leveraging the power of what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called "Soul Force" and welcoming everyone to be part of the climate movement so that we can shift the public discourse on the issue.
We are all in this together. As Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a marine biologist and policy expert writer, notes, "A vibrant, fair, and regenerative future is possible, not when thousands of people do climate justice activism perfectly, but when millions of people do the best they can."
A second question worth asking is, "How can I use my special skills to contribute to a climate solution?" Not everyone needs to do the same things. Some people march; others will encourage people to vote; others have the resources to donate money; others may be skilled at getting the word out through social media. Collectively, we can have a significant influence to help bring about climate solutions.
The challenge of climate change is closer than it may appear. The planet and all of us are inherently interconnected and we are here to deepen that connection spiritually. Let Earth Day be a reminder for us to do that very thing.
Peace and Blessings,