Sunday, February 14, 2010

10 Weeks left to Earth Day: Week 7: LOVE!

How appropriate that this week’s post should fall on Valentines Day, and since I am following the Principles of the Little Earth Charter, Principle No. 7 is Love!  Beautiful!

Everyone has an opinion about love; a story, a poem, a song or a sigh.  I personally think that the word love has been cheapened, that it’s tossed about so frequently in today’s world that the depth of its meaning is diminished, but that is just the way I see it;.(As I said everyone has an opinion!)   Since these Blog posts are related to Earth Day, I thought it appropriate to share this poem from Wendell Berry
A Homecoming
One faith is bondage.  Two are free.  In the trust
Of old love, cultivation shows a dark and graceful wilderness
At its heart.  Wild
In that wilderness, we roam
The distance of our faith;
Safe beyond the bounds
Of what we know.  O love,
Open.  Show me
My country.  Take me home

So, for this day, which has become the poster day for the word love, I am going to reflect on how love is related to this Earth. 
When I participated in the  Council of All Beings workshop in 1989, the purpose of the experience was intended to help each of us hear the sound of the Earth crying.  The exercises, songs and poems were crafted together so as to awaken that remembering in the depth of our beingsthe recognition of our integral interconnection to this living planet that birthed us.  If our mother were hurting, would we not cry?

Most of the Indigenous peoples of the world believe that the Earth is their mother or father; they have a sacred relationship to this planet, which guides all aspects of their lives.  Children grow up knowing that they must respect the Earth as they respect their parents.
The Kogi people who live in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta of Columbia call themselves the Elder Brothers and refer to the rest of the people in the world as Younger Brothers.  They were one of the only groups of indigenous people in the world, who because of the particular nature of their surrounding, were able to keep themselves apart and sustain their culture.  In 1988, they were so concerned about the state of the Mother (Earth) that they sought out a BBC journalist to tell these concerns to the world, endangering their isolation which has since led to terrible consequences for them all.  Sadly they are no longer isolated.  Video: The Kogi - Journey to the Hearth of the World

Lesson Plans
1.  The Little Earth Charter Principle No. 6 is Love!!  Acts of Kindness are a great way to show Love!  An act of kindness doesn’t have to cost any money, you can give a smile, make a card, sing a song, give good wishes, or just listen to someone who needs to talk.  Make a list with younger children of all the good things you can do!  The Random Acts of Kindness organization has some good ideas.  
2.  Invite students to learn about some of the people who have loved this planet so much that in many cases they dedicated their life to protecting it.  Examples St. Francis of Assisi , John MuirJane Goodall or Wangari Maathai (Green Belt Movement)  What was it that inspired these people?  Look for others who have been so inspired, there are plenty out there, maybe even some in your own community!
3.  What is love for the Earth? How do your students perceive it?  Ask them to draw, paint, write or make a video of their interpretations of love for the Earth.
 4. Share with older students the literary work of some great writers who have been and continue to be inspired by their love of this Earth.  There is poetry by Mary Oliver – (I love Wild Geese)  or books like Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by environmental activist, writer and poet, Janisse Ray and the wonderful Alison Hawthorne Deming  Here is an amazing interactive book: Thoreau's Legacy: American Stories on Global Warming
5.  Watch the Film – The Man Who Planted Trees

Interconnections:  Love for this world can translate into incredible actions such as the Green Belt Movement  started by Wangari Maathai or Roots & Shoots started by Jane Goodall. Actions that come out of love can last for a long, long time and benefit a lot of people.

Green Action of the Week! 
What are your actions of love for the planet?  They might be as simple as pledging to do one thing a day, or to join a group like Roots and Shoots.  Perhaps there is one in your neighborhood?  Here is a LIST of organizations that’s were started by Kids to help others.  We are all part of this Earth and each person, being, corner of this planet, we help, is helping a part of ourselves..

StoryThe Giving Tree by Shell Silverstein  
Song:  Bruce Cockburn: If A Tree Falls in the Forest Does Anyone Hear It? Lyrics and Video  I would also like to offer my love song to the Earth - Dream of the Earth!

We are living in a Finite World, and we must face the fact that we are fast using up the natural resources of this planet.  Here is a very thoughtful article by the founder of the Greenhouse Neutral Foundation, Bob Williamson. Consumption in a Finite World: How can we sustain a Future that isn't Finite? 

Valentines Day is special to me because my father passed away on that day in 2002.  My father gave me so many gifts and to be with him during this important passage was truly a gift of love, for it helped me to understand my own mortality and the eternal nature of my being!  And finally, a valentine message to my son and daughter - I love you D & D!

Happy Valentines to you all!
In gratitude for this Earth and life!
Animation by JC Little

1 comment:

  1. I think the earth is crying. Thank goodness to people like you who make it your passion to educate our future generations on how to wipe away her tears and heal all the pain.