We Simply Need To Treat The Earth Better

treattheearthWe place our most toxic businesses near poor neighborhoods, schools, and other areas where those who are most affected will raise the least protest because they are already so marginalized. We are constantly deciding, as if it is our right, which species of animals and plants can live or die based on how their needs intersect with ours–our needs, of course, taking priority. Like many aspects of systemic or institutional injustice, the list is overwhelming.

Meanwhile, in her age and wisdom, the earth continues to deliver beauty, allowing us to rationalize that the damage being done is negligible or reversible. It is not, and we don’t have to seek out toxic waste sites or oil-slicked seas to discover that. We just need to listen to the most vulnerable among us.

Recently, as I sat in a windowless conference room with about thirty women, we heard a loud noise, like a vacuum cleaner running in an adjoining room. Suddenly, one woman went running out of the …

Religion And Disaster: An Interesting Mix

religionanddisadterI am haunted by an image. Years ago, as I was preparing a story about the Mayan women of Guatemala and their ancient backstrap-loom weaving, a friend sent me a photograph taken in a Guatemalan village shortly after a major earthquake. It shows a woman seated before a pile of rubble–possibly the remnants of her house. Around her waist is the backstrap of her loom; stretched out before her are the bright threads of her weaving. In the midst of ruin, she is being who she is: a weaver. In response to loss, she creates what is both necessary and beautiful.

During the past ten years of an earthkeeping ministry, I have come to see, ever more clearly, the ruin and loss of our “village”–the earth itself. And I believe that we women, as the ones who know what it means to shelter and cradle life, are called–all of us–to become weavers of life.

My earthkeeping journey began when I was a child in Virginia. …