The Awe-full and the Awful
EARTH DAY – with reference to Psalm 23 and 1 John 3:16-22
Four letters and a psalm…
Welcome to Earth Day 2018. Today, I would like to offer four letters and a psalm as a way of honouring this day when we look openly, honestly and compassionately at our relationship with the Earth. We begin with reading someone else’s mail – actually, all the letters are someone else’s mail. That’s o.k. Actually, we read the first letter already – but just to highlight…
17… If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. 18-20 My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. (version – the Message)
Now, I’m pretty sure that John wasn’t thinking about Earth Day, when he wrote the letter. Still there is a basic truth that we need to pay attention to. Our faith is not to help us escape this world, but to root us firmly in it and connect us to all of humanity and all living beings. Our faith must be rooted in action, not just pious platitudes.
This was written as a letter to the editor of a newspaper.
I want to draw attention to a situation that likely a few of our people may experience and never know it.
I recently discovered that methane gas has been coming into our house via a floor drain and could have been coming in for years. Marl has been feeling pretty rough such as lack of energy, terribly stiff and sore, shaking, itching and a general malaise. He felt some of this last year as well. I also was stuffed up in the morning so went looking to see if we were being poisoned. Yes we were. Methane gas was coming in through a floor drain close to where we sleep. I now believe it’s been poisoning us for at least two years, and maybe more as this is odorless and invisible and just came in very gently via the floor drain. According to google this is quite a common way to get methane in your home.
Since sealing off the drain, we have been feeling better but it will likely take a long while for Marl to again have his health as it has affected his muscles, skin, brain, lungs, and other organs.
Who would suspect they are being poisoned in their warm, safe home?
I’m reporting this to encourage anyone who has a floor drain to put your hand over it and see if any air is escaping. If so, it may be toxic.
We live in an area where methane gas abounds and we are lucky to have natural gas for our heating, so protect yourself.
Sincerely, Mavis Brown
Mavis Brown is my mother, and, as you might suspect, Marl is my father. I would love to tell you that Dad’s health continues to improve, but he now has shingles!
Letter 3: This is a letter I wrote on Thursday night, and emailed to our Prime Minister. I don’t for a moment envy this man’s job… But when baby Frost is old enough to ask me if I tried to do anything to protect his world, I want to be able to answer YES.
April 19th 2018
To the Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Dear Prime Minster, I heard you addressing the French government about our responsibility to care for the world based on scientific fact. I implore you to take your own advice when it comes to the Kinder Morgan expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Science has been telling us for decades now that we MUST move away from fossil-fuel extraction and move to non GHG producing forms of energy.
I realize this cannot happen overnight, but we absolutely should not be going backwards by increasing our extraction and jeopardizing our coast and all life-forms that rely on clean oceanic water.
Why, in heaven’s name would we subsidize Kinder- Morgan when we federally, provincially and municipally should be encouraging and subsidizing the switch to non GHG emitting energy like wind and solar.
This past week my husband and I had solar panels installed on our home and shop. We did this with no subsidy and I am grateful that we could financially manage it. We also bought an electric car 3 years ago. We really do try to walk the talk and I’m asking you to do the same.
The Kinder-Morgan expansion is NOT in the best interest of the nation. I am part of that nation, the province of B.C. is a part of that nation; numerous First Nations communities who oppose the expansion are part of the nation.
Those who have relied on jobs in the oil and gas industry are part of the nation too, and First Nations communities that have languished in poverty and see some economic benefit for their communities by signing on with K-M are part of the nation. So let’s do right by these groups by slowly decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels and retraining these men and women – indigenous and non-indigenous, to use their skills on renewable and fossil-free energy sources – particularly solar.
On the edge of Earth Day, let us remember that we are global citizens, and our actions now will have profound effect on the most vulnerable of Earth’s people. Let’s show that Canada can be a leader in protecting the environment and employing its citizens in sustainable energy.
With sincerity and hope,
Rev. Juanita Austin, Salmon Arm B.C.
Cc to Hon. John Horgan, Hon. Rachel Notley, Hon. Catherine McKenna, Hon. George Heyman.
“Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the Earth is our mother. The rivers are our siblings, they quench our thirst and feed our children. The air is precious to my people,
for all things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, humankind, they all share the same breath. And what is humankind without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, we would die from a great loneliness of spirit. This we know. The Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth.
Humankind did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever humankind does to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.”
Adapted from Sealth (Chief Seattle), 1854
And the 23rd Psalm… `This shepherding God makes me lie down in green pastures, and leads me beside still waters; restoring my soul.’
Where are your green pastures? Where is that place of stillness, tranquility, safety in the storm of life? Is it a physical place? An emotional place? When you picture those you love – your children, grandchildren – what place of tranquility would you want for them? How can you help protect and enhance such a place for Earth’s generations to come?