Earth Day 2021, Earth Optimism?

We live in a time of much anguish and concern (and also bald-faced denial propagated by certain media moguls and political hacks masquerading as representatives of our democracy) about the future of our common home, this planet.

Extinction Rebellion protest, Inverness, Scotland. Photo by Ma Ti on Unsplash

It is good, therefore, to receive an announcement about a series of online conversations on “Earth Optimism.”  I am indebted to my friend and student, engineer Bernard Amadei, founder of Engineers Without Borders, for alerting me to this happening.

As Bernard pointed out, there is the Via Positiva in this conversation series.  There is also lots of Via Creativa, for in many ways it invokes the creativity behind much science and technology to birth solutions to our pressing earth crisis.  There is also, of course, plenty of Via Transformativa in it as well—strategies that bring eco-justice into play and therefore compassion so that future generations of human and other beings can play and thrive on this special planet. The Via Negativa plays a big role also since facing our own and others’ extinctions is a dark night indeed for our entire species.

Video on the Earth Optimism movement, celebrating a change in focus from problem to solution, from a sense of loss to one of hope, in the dialogue about conservation and sustainability. Uploaded to YouTube by Earth Optimism.

To mark Earth Day 2021 and in anticipation of the Leaders Summit on Climate hosted by President Biden, an Earth Optimism” Conversation Series is happening April 19-21. The conversations are:
The Ocean: Turning a Climate Change Problem Into a Solution / Monday, April 19, 2021, 10:00am – 11:00am ET
Hydrogen – Fuel of the Future? / Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 10:00am – 11:00am ET
Offshore Energy: Favorable Winds for Renewables? / Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 10:00am – 11:00am ET

These efforts at saving the earth through new technologies are, of course, commendable.  But they are also clearly not the only pathways we need to consider for saving the earth.  Technology alone will not save the day. 

Planting a new story in Zimbabwe: Zimconserve members maintaining a bed of Moringa seedlings. The trees, held to be sacred by cultures around the world, will be used for water purification and food. Photo by Trees for a Future on Flickr.

We also need a new story, a new myth, that presents values common to all humanity and draws the best from our spiritual, psychological and sociological traditions:  To combat greed.  To combat the superiority complex of our species.  That teaches us to eat differently so that vast land areas now dedicated to raising livestock can give way to trees that can process carbon dioxide poisons. 

We need a breakthrough about the radical sacredness of Mother Earth and all her creatures for, as Thomas Berry tells us “eventually, only a sense of the sacred will save us.”

See Matthew Fox, “A Dream: ‘Your Mother is Dying—A Crucifixion Story for Our Times,” in Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 11-34. 

And Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.

Banner Image: Mother Bears Pray For Earth Healing sculpture by artist Stewart Steinhauer is located on the Campus Saint-Jean of the University of Alberta. Photo by Viola-ness on Wikimedia Commons

Do you agree that only a sense of the sacred will save us?  And that combating greed and diets that emit carbon dioxide is integral to loving and saving Mother Earth as we know her?

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

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1 thought on “Earth Day 2021, Earth Optimism?”

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    Oh my God, Matthew! YES! YES YES! What is clearly lacking in our culture and in our world is a sense of the sacred within and without and all around us! I just got your book “The Tao of Thomas Aquinas” yesterday, and I am absolutely blown over by the depth of Aquinas’ understanding of the most profound truths regarding the union between Science, Nature, and the Bible. Thank you so much for this incredible book! I loved “Julian of Norwich,” but I had no idea I would fall in love with Aquinas! He was so demeaned by the “religious -know-it-alls” of my day that I’d never even considered looking him up at all while still a nun.
    Of course, greed is a major component of what is ailing us today, as is the misuse of all the elements that bring about the destruction and extinction of so many species, (including us, as you’ve pointed out previously). It is wonderful to see so many people waking up and being so very creative in fixing the problems as much as is possible.

    Thank you for all you’ve done and are doing to wake us up, Matthew! God’s grace and beauty and power be with you always as you continue the work you have been called to do. Namaste!

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