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:
- Organize Your Community
- Protect Biodiversity
- Use Your Privilege for Good
- Build Community
- Support Front Line Communities
- Talk About Climate Change
- Reconnect With Nature
- Fight Capitalism
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.”
- Ground Your Religious Rituals
- Restory the World
- Let Yourself Grieve
- Face Your Death
- Take Care of Yourself
I hope you find something in this list that helps you honor the Earth in a new way. Happy Earth Day!