Category Archives: Deep Ecology / Environmentalism

Why I Quit and Started a Garden

“Certain gardens are described as retreats when they are really attacks.”

— Ian Hamilton Finlay

I quit protesting and started a garden. It sounds absurd at first, I know. But bear with me.

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The Yoga of Despair

This was a sermon or homily I recently gave at Beverly Unitarian Church, in Illinois, and First Unitarian Church of Hobart, in Indiana, on two consecutive Sundays. I began by showing the clip below, from the HBO series, The Newsroom. In the scene, a deputy director of the EPA is being interviewed by a news anchor.

I love that video. It’s funny, but it’s also accurate.  Except for the part about permanent darkness, everything the EPA director says in that video is true.

I especially get a kick out of the reaction of the producer, when the EPA director says, “The person has already been born who will die due to catastrophic failure of the planet.” And she says “What did he just say?!”

I had my own “what did he just say?” moment a few years ago. Continue reading The Yoga of Despair

My Grandchildren May Never See A Monarch Butterfly

Owing to its large size and its distinctive orange, black, and white color pattern, the Monarch is probably the most easily recognizable butterfly in North America. Many people know the Monarch for its annual north-south migration between the northern United States and southern Mexico, a migration which takes two to four generations. Many people may not know it’s also a pollinator species.

And it’s probably going to disappear in my lifetime or my children’s lifetime.

Continue reading My Grandchildren May Never See A Monarch Butterfly

21 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day: Restory the World

Each day of the month of April leading up to Earth Day (April 22), I will be offering a suggestion for how we can really honor the Earth this year. This list will go beyond the usual suggestions to change your light bulbs and take shorter showers. Instead, the focus is on collective action working toward radical social change.

Humanity’s paralysis over the impending environmental collapse is a function of the psychological strength of the myth that things will always be the same. The sun always rises in the morning, and winter predictably (less predictably now) follows autumn which is followed by spring, and privileged people like myself go to work during the week, rest on the weekend, and go on being good consumers, largely unperturbed by war and famine and plague.

It’s easy to believe that things have always been this way and always will be … but they won’t.

It’s likely that our children or grandchildren will live to see a day when our everyday experience, living in in a developed country today at the beginning of the 21st century, will be entirely foreign to the children being born at that time. This is not apocalyptic catastrophizing. It is simply a recognition of the reality of change, specifically climate change. And that recognition is the first step toward making the system-level changes which are needed to address the environmental disaster which is already happening.

Continue reading 21 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day: Restory the World