The Earth Keeper combines science, politics, religion, spirituality, nature, culture and justice–a combination known as integral ecology. The goal is to bear witness to the signs of the times as well as advocate for a world in which the little ones of all species have the opportunity to live well. In this, it also is a blog of prophetic imagination.
Many years ago, an elderly friend told me his experience of December 7, 1941. Two months past his 18th birthday, he was spending that Sunday with friends at an ice-skating party on a lake near his home in northern Minnesota. Someone from a nearby house approached and, with an ashen face, told the group that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor. At that moment, the high school senior knew his whole life had changed, all his plans gone out the window. He felt a strong calling, and knew what he had to do. The next morning, along with many other young men, he went and enlisted in the Army.
The 2016 U.S. presidential election was a Pearl Harbor for the planet. If Donald Trump and his GOP live up to their promises, the window of opportunity to prevent the worst future climate scenarios will slam shut. Many generations will suffer. More than half of all species will be at risk of extinction. Dozens of national academies of science have examined the body of work of thousands of climate researchers from around the world, and all of them agree: continued human use of fossil fuels is placing all of life in jeopardy. We must phase out these fuels as quickly as possible. Donald Trump and his GOP pledge to do the opposite.
Just as the day of infamy in 1941 changed my friend’s life plans, this Pearl Harbor for the planet altered mine. Like him, I heard a calling that night, and have been rearranging my life commitments in response. I am not a warrior, I am a writer and healer. But now I must also be a prophetic witness to the signs of our times that point toward a gathering, growing storm of destruction and a society in denial. When I formally launch this site the first week of April my first post will address that topic.
Success is not my focus, but I must answer this call for my children, for my grandchildren, and for all the unborn of the next hundred generations. I must answer it for all the little ones of all the species at grave risk of being exterminated because of the sinful greed and recklessness of this generation. I must answer it for the land itself, the mountains and valleys, the forests and deserts, the lakes and rivers and seas—all the ecosystems of the world that provide the food, water, shelter and space on which all living things depend, and which are being pillaged by my kind. Finally, I must answer it to be who I am.
I have always been drawn to where the wild things are: the natural world around me, and the wilderness within. As a writer, speaker, and university professor, I have for decades focused on this combination of nature and the human spirit. In recent years, my spiritual journey has added another lens: social, environmental and intergenerational justice. Put it all together and you’ve got The Earth Keeper, a blog of integral ecology and the prophetic imagination. The Earth Keeper may at times make you feel hopeful or inspired; it may make you feel uncomfortable or defensive or even angry. I hope it often will be challenging, and always interesting.
Photo: Loon, Bear Island Lake, northern Minnesota, July 29, 2017