We who live in the West have had our share of wildfires the last few years and it is very sad to see millions of people now undergoing the same calamity in 16 states and in many of our largest cities these days.
And of course in Canada too, where the current wildfires are emanating from. Pictures of the reddened sun and the deep haze over New York and many other cities makes graphic why so many cities issued extended air quality alerts Thursday. Sensitive groups like children, those with underlying respirator conditions, and those over 65 are especially vulnerable.
Flights to New York were stopped and in Philadelphia everyone was urged to stay inside. Of course, pets too are endangered and questions like: “Dare I walk my dog?” and “can children play outdoors?” become pressing.
In Canada, significant fires are burning in every single province and territory except for Prince Edward Island and Nunavut. One expert predicted that if fires continue to burn as they have, by September there would be more scorched forest than has ever been recorded.
Already this year there have been over 2200 wildfires in Canada that have blackened more than 3.3 million hectares of Canadian wild lands—which is more than five million football fields!
What spiritual lessons can we learn from this catastrophe? One is that more wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, draughts and floods are a sign of our times. And Yes, most of them are due to climate change.
Politicians who are as in denial about wildfires and these other realities as they are about assault weapons that kill innocent people should be voted out of office. Fossil fuel companies that lie about what they know and have known for decades–like the manufacturers of cigarettes did–ought to be fined with the money earned invested in finding alternative energy sources.
A spiritual response also includes realizing not to take the health of Mother Earth for granted including clean air, healthy forests, healthy children, animals and human beings. It is a call to recognize the inherent sacredness of Mother Earth.
It also reminds us how national boundaries are man-made as are red and blue states—the deadly smoke wafting about is no respecter of country divides or of political identities.
Also, emergencies like this bring out generosity on the part of many: Currently firefighters from the United States, France, South Africa and many other countries are arriving to assist Canada.
See Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson and Jen Listug, The Order of the Sacred Earth.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using GOES 16 imagery courtesy of NOAA and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). Photograph by Colin Seftor (SSAI).
Queries for Contemplation
What does this news of the “signs of the times” caused by climate change do to your view of the world? Are we being invited to move beyond our boundaries and nations and states with red and blue identities to find common ground to defend Mother Earth?
The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature, to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God
Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action
By Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jen Listug
In the midst of global fire, earthquake and flood – as species are going extinct every day and national and global economies totter – the planet doesn’t need another church or religion. What it needs is a new Order, grounded in the Wisdom traditions of both East and West, including science and indigenous. An Order of the Sacred Earth united in one sacred vow: “I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be.”
Co-authored by Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jennifer Berit Listug, with a forward by David Korten, this collection of essays by 21 spiritual visionaries including Brian Swimme, Mirabai Starr, Theodore Richards, and Kristal Parks marks the founding of the diverse and inclusive Order of the Sacred Earth, a community now evolving around the world.
“The Order of the Sacred Earth not only calls us home to our true nature as Earth, but also offers us invaluable guidance and company on the way.” ~~ Joanna Macy, environmental activist and author of Active Hope.