The Spiritual Basis of Earthcare

- Posted by Quaker Earthcare Witness in ActivismSpirituality,  | 2 min read
Colors of Fall ~ Along McGee Creek in the Eastern Sierras.
Photo by Kathy Barnhart Colors of Fall Along McGee Creek in the Eastern Sierras.

QEW’s PROGRAMS and publications stem from a conviction and consciousness that the global crisis of ecological sustainability is at root a spiritual crisis. Even as individuals in our network or our steering committee support political and social action in numerous areas, such as globalization, population, genetic engineering, and toxic pollution, each of us tries to bring awareness of the essential spiritual dimension that can be discerned within any given ecological issue. This can be understood as integral with the belief in being “one in the Spirit” that has made Quakers’ peace and social justice work so powerful in the past.

This conviction is closely tied to the principle of Quakerism that our actions necessarily reflect our true core beliefs. Many Friends also share the concern of many mainstream environmental groups that significant changes are needed in legislation, technology, education, and social structures. But without a profound transformation in heart and consciousness, in our fundamental relationship with the rest of Creation, there is little chance, given the destructive powers currently wielded by the human race, of averting a major collapse of the systems that support all life on earth.

Many of QEW’s publications have been written by Quakers who have tried to put these convictions, principles, and warnings into words. For example:

Elizabeth G. Watson, in her booklet Healing Ourselves and the Earth, talks about fundamental errors in our theological assumptions, worldviews, and self-identities that are making it difficult to perceive, much less act on, the growing threat to Earth’s life-support systems.

Jack Phillips, in his Walking Gently on the Earth, and Earthcare Checklist, includes an inspiring essay, “The Spiritual Dimension-Why We Care for the Earth,” which confronts the tragic prospect of losing all the wonders of nature that aren’t of direct utility to humans.

TIME GROWS SHORT for humans to come to our senses and realize that humans are not ordained to be masters of the universe but are called by the Spirit to be conscious, responsible citizens of the Great Community of Life. That is to say, eco-spirituality is about the interconnections that we ignore at our peril. While such relationships and values aren’t directly accessible to empirical science, they are quite evident from observing the behavior of the whole, living systems. These unseen forces have been acknowledged throughout history and across cultures as real and significant.

We invite all Friends and kindred souls to share QEW materials with others that we all may become better grounded in the kind of Earth wisdom that the wider culture is mostly blind to, and then find ways as individuals and groups to be agents for urgently needed changes in the minds and hearts of our fellow citizens. We welcome the writings of all concerned Friends, as articles in BeFriending Creation or as potential pamphlets.