20 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Differently

In previous years, as Earth Day approached, I have posted suggestions for actions to take. I started this list after organizing the drafting of the Pagan Community Statement on the Environment. I anticipated criticism of the statement as purely symbolic, but the statement concludes with a commitment to action:

“to use our abilities and resources to promote policies and practices that foster the changes that our world so urgently needs … to educate members of our community to foster intelligent and focused sustainable living, and help the world recognize that everyone, whether Pagan or not, is part of our precious Earth … [and] to promote the current and future health of our entire Earth, including the water, air, land, and the web of life.”

So I created a list of suggestions for embodying this commitment. The list went beyond the usual suggestions to change light bulbs or take shorter showers. Instead, the focus was on collective action working toward radical social change. My last suggestion was to beware of lists, especially those premised on an individualistic value system. Most of these kinds of lists–“Things You Can Do to Save The Earth”–-focus on changing your consumer habits, and therefore leave the underlying structure of capitalist society unexamined.

There are good reasons to change our individual consumption habits.  I look at these as a kind of spiritual practice.  Changing how I consume is one way of transforming my relationship with the earth.  So I included a few of these kinds of things on my list. You can click each on to read more:

Remember, though, our challenge is not so much to try to navigate destructive social systems with personal integrity, but to help change those systems. And we will never change those system until we stop thinking about change as something that individuals do.

The most radical thing we can do in a capitalist system is to build community.  Capitalism alienates us from each other and nature.  Any action which connects us to the wider human and other-than-human community is a form of resistance.  Several items on my list address this:

And of course, we cannot forget about more familiar forms of political action:

I included some ideas for spiritual transformation as well. As the Pagan statement says:

“In addition, there is a deeper and more profound change that is needed. Fundamentally, we believe that a change in spirit is required, one that fosters a new relationship between humanity and other species and Earth as a whole.”

I hope you find something in this list that helps you honor the Earth in a new way.  Happy Earth Day!

Published by John Halstead

John Halstead is the author of *Another End of the World is Possible*, in which he explores what it would really mean for our relationship with the natural world if we were to admit that we are doomed. John is a native of the southern Laurentian bioregion and lives in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago. He is a co-founder of 350 Indiana-Calumet, which worked to organize resistance to the fossil fuel industry in the Region. John was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.” He strives to live up to the challenge posed by the Statement through his writing and activism. John has written for numerous online platforms, including Patheos, Huffington Post, PrayWithYourFeet.org, and Gods & Radicals. He is Editor-at-Large of HumanisticPaganism.com. John also facilitates climate grief support groups climate grief support groups affiliated with the Good Grief Network.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: