Land is to be loved and respected
“That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics.”
The above quote by Aldo Leopold, the late American scientist and environmentalist, speaks to the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s steadfast commitment to “reverence for all creation.”
This March, when 14 other Interfaith Moral Action on Climate protestors and I were arrested at the White House for calling attention to the destructive effects of man’s hands on the environment, my thoughts turned to my five-month-old grandson Jack.
Jack was born on the west coast on the same morning that Superstorm Sandy approached the Northeast. (You may have seen our photo and the poem I wrote in his honor.) When I first met Jack and gazed into his eyes, I asked myself, “What type of world will he inherit? Will the air be fit for Jack to breathe? Will the water be fit for him to drink? Will the earth be ‘clean’ enough to sustain good food?” In order to answer these questions with a positive affirmation, not only for my grandson but also for your progeny and all the children of the world, FOR needs your continuing support.
Do you share my frustration with the value the government is giving to greed and materialism over the need to restore the Earth’s natural balance? Our lands are already toxic. We must not turn a blind eye of indifference to the existing assaults against our planet that stem from wars on foreign soil, nuclear weapons and waste, fracking, and, ominously, the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. According to a First Peoples’ proverb, humankind is only one thread in the web of life. We are all connected; whatever we do to the “web,” we do to ourselves.
The process of “fracking,” also known as hydraulic fracturing, mixes thousands of gallons of chemicals — some carcinogenic with millions of gallons of water. Using extreme pressure, this mixture is then pumped underground to break up rock for the release of oil and natural gas. The effects of this process pose an immediate threat to the public health in both rural and urban communities — from the Great Plains to the Appalachians to here in metropolitan New York.
Similarly, if the Keystone XL Pipeline receives the go-ahead to carry tar sands oil (considered to be one of the dirtiest fuels) from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf, the water and ecosystems of the surrounding areas are in further danger of contamination. In just the past month, two huge oil pipeline spills in Arkansas and Utah dumped tens of thousands of gallons of oil, contaminating our wilderness and endangering our communities. We can’t afford another similar mistake.
As you know, another issue of great concern to FOR is the environmental impact of a militaristic presence in the Middle East. Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq have continued to suffer the abuses of war via the pollution of their waters and soil rendered toxic by chemical residue and heavy metals. Droughts have furthered increased desertification and the loss of natural wildlife. Research must continue, but initial studies reveal that the lifespans of Afghan, Pakistani, and Iraqi children have decreased due to possible war-related environmental conditions.
An active member of Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, FOR is part of a growing coalition of organizations and individuals that are advocating for our Earth’s protection. Celebrate Earth Day in your local communities and join FOR in taking a stand against global warming.
What kind of earth do you want to leave as your legacy?