By Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, director of La Vista Ecological Learning Center
Originally Published on the website of OMIUSAJPIC
For fifty-two years, Earth Day has been commemorated on April 22nd since Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson initiated the event out of his deeply felt concern for our deteriorating environment. Interestingly, he elicited the cooperation of a Republican congressman to be his co-chair. Together they launched an effort that has gained momentum and branched out as its significance deepens during our present climate crisis.
This year our Earth Day celebration took place inside the Buckminster Fuller Dome on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville which provided the perfect ambience. As I looked up at the continents etched into the dome and then around at the participants drumming and dancing underneath, I felt a deep gratitude for being alive, and isn’t that what an Earth Day Celebration should evoke?
Others felt equally moved. One woman commented, “I felt blessed! I enjoyed sharing thoughts and memories, catching up with old friends, meeting new ones. And the drumming and dancing was awesome!” Another participant wrote a thank you saying, “What an uplifting blend of celebration, inspiration, education and call to action. It was perfect for the Easter season of hope and renewal!”
This event was offered by the Confluence Climate Collaborative, of which La Vista Ecological Learning Center is a member. We had just read and discussed the book All We Can Save: Truth Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, and during the afternoon we shared our favorite quotes, thoughts, and poems. One that especially touched me was by Geneen Marie Haugen: In our time of disturbance and radical change, we are crossing a threshold, a portal, or an unseen bridge from one world to another. It could be said that the bridge is either collapsing beneath us, or being made as we walk together, in the long twilight hours when one civilization gives way to another.
I truly felt that we were making the bridge together as we shared ourselves during the afternoon. And being together ignited my hope that one civilization really is giving way to another, to one that believes in solutions to the climate crisis that hear both the cry of Earth and the cry of the poor. I also felt blessed!