…outdoors we are confronted everywhere with wonders; we see that the miraculous is not extraordinary, but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread. Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air, and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances, will hardly balk at the turning of water into wine — which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes.
– Wendell Berry
Earth Day Reflection
Much like Fashion Revolution Week, Earth Day is not going to miraculously give us clarity on what needs to be done to preserve our global home. But it is a small reminder, in the midst of a busy season, that we are fundamentally creatures, wholly dependent on the earth.
There is no such thing as “the wild.” The earth is expansively wild, even if we barricade ourselves in human-built cities and suburbs. There is no such thing as innocence or independence in a global ecosystem in which all of our behaviors impact the livelihood of others.
And, while it’s tempting in light of climate change to think of Earth Day as a day of mourning, it’s worthwhile to think of it as a day of thanksgiving. The fact that flowers grow in sidewalk cracks and raccoons thrive in cities, that so much persists in our created ugliness, is a miracle. It is worth thinking about how beautiful and beyond-reckoning the earth is.
We can’t fight for climate justice, advocate for endangered species, or march for people pushed to the margins without first loving the earth and all that it contains. We can’t get so lost in ethics-talk and obligation that we forget that the work is worth it because so much beauty and love is at risk.
This beauty and love is not only worth preserving, it is worth cultivating. And that can start anywhere in any context, even if we don’t have the right tools or the right organizations. Even if we don’t know what to say.
I will continue to donate to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the ACLU, the NAACP, and the First Nations Development Institute. I’m hoping to start composting soon, and plan to take a course on environmentalism next school year.
- Climate Justice Organizations
- Get involved: Sunrise Movement
- Nonfiction: Books and Current Resources, Recs from Wendell Berry
- My Favorite fiction authors writing on the environment: Barbara Kingsolver, Carl Hiaasen
- Fashion-Relevant: Why Is Fashion Talking About Regenerative Farming?, The new buzzword in fashion
- Church Resources: Liturgical Materials for Honoring God in Creation
What has helped you sustain a love for the earth and all its creatures?
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Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.