Below is an excerpt from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass.
“Until we can grieve for our planet we cannot love it—grieving is a sign of spiritual health. But it is not enough to weep for lost landscapes; we have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again. Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.
“We are deluged by information regarding our destruction of the world and hear almost nothing about how to nurture it. It is no surprise then that environmentalism becomes synonymous with dire predictions and powerless feelings. Out natural inclination to do right by the world is stifled, breeding despair when it should be inspiring action. The participatory role of people in the well-being of the land has been lost, our reciprocal relations reduced to a Keep Out sign. …
“Restoration is a powerful antidote to despair. Restoration offers concrete means by which humans can once again enter into positive, creative relationship with the more-than-human world, meeting responsibilities that are simultaneously material and spiritual. It’s not enough to grieve. It’s not enough to just stop doing bad things.
“We have enjoyed the feast generously laid out for us by Mother Earth, but now the plates are empty and the dining room is a mess. It’s time we started doing the dishes in Mother Earth’s kitchen. Doing dishes has gotten a bad rap, but everyone who migrates to the kitchen after a meal knows that that’s where the laughter happens, the good conversations, the friendships. Doing dishes, like doing restoration, forms relationships.
“How we approach restoration of land depends, of course, on what we believe that ‘land’ means. If land is just real estate, then restoration looks very different than if land is the source of a subsistence economy and a spiritual home. Restoring land for production of natural resources is not the same as renewal of land as cultural identity.”