Our Responsibility to Nature

Week 28 (N): nature

As the tired adage of naturalists and hippies goes, the Earth is important. For one, it’s the only planet we’ve got that’s habitable in any practical sense of the word. While I’ve been annoyed by this somewhat overused refrain since college, I can still see the truth in it. Jacqueline Basham‘s art, particularly the one that admonishes us to “live gently upon this Earth”, reiterates this excellent point.

Part of my flavor of paganism is the belief that the Earth is important. It’s not called a nature-based religion for nothing: nature is sacred. Part of it is because the Earth is where we live, but I think it’s more than having a simple respect for one’s house. Go outside and look around. Most of the time, staring at trees or walking barefoot in the grass, causes deep, inexplicable shivers in my spine. This was true even when I was a kid, before I found my Pagan path, which explains why it felt like coming home. I had finally found other people who saw nature as I did: as a deeply spiritual, magical, all-encompassing experience.

Erin Konsmo, a Native American artist who works with the Native Youth Sexual Network, did this beautiful piece that I stumbled across on Tumblr. It speaks to me, both as art and as an apt sentiment.

by Erin Konsmo

by Erin Konsmo

Book of Mirrors tackled this topic last month and expressed her irritation at the idea that Pagans are responsible for healing the Earth. I respectfully disagree. However, I take a broader approach: I think that, as people (rather than just as Pagans), it’s our responsibility to live responsibly and take care of what is our home. I think that practices like fracking, non-sustainable farming techniques, irresponsible manufacturing, and others are an affront to humanity. These things damage the Earth. And, as one of the species who live here, we absolutely have a duty to be respectful.

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