Saturday, April 12, 2014

Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which events are held Worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection.  It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.
 In 1969, at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, peace activist McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace, to first be celebrated on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere.  Originally a teach-in on environmental issues, it has since become a global moment where we collectively stop and take stock of how we are treating our home.
April 22 was established as International Mother Earth Day by the United Nations in 2009, but many cultures around the World have been celebrating the Earth for thousands of years.
Modern Pagans have a special sacral relationship with the natural World.  Our Gods and Goddesses can be found in oceans, rivers, forests and mountains.  In many cultures, Earth is the primal Mother of most acknowledged Goddesses and powers.  Some pre-Christian cultures envision a World Tree that binds the universe together.  In Norse mythology, Jord was the personification of the Earth.  In Greek mythology, Gaia was the primeval Goddess personifying the Earth. 
Rites often mark the changing seasons and once tracked the progress of crops essential to our survival.  Deity is not merely a transcendent force separate from creation, deity is everywhere and within everything.  Each of us holds the potential to be like the Gods, and we acknowledge that the Gods and powers walk and exist among us still.  So it isn’t surprising that many Pagans feel a special urging to advocate for the environment and the protection of the natural World.
For some Pagans that don't celebrate Easter, Earth Day activities are often mixed in.  Other mix it in with the Spring Equinox.  Most honor the Earth throughout the year.  Try one of the following:

Å      Turn off the lights you're not using
Å      Pick up garbage
Å      Ride a bike to work instead of driving
Å      Plant a tree
Å      Use cloth grocery bags instead of paper or plastic
Å      Plant a garden of your own or buy from local growers
Å      Build a birdhouse
Å      Adopt a stream
Today, with immense environmental challenges facing us, from climate change and the destruction of natural ecosystems to the impending fresh water shortages, the ideals and message of Earth Day are more vital than they have ever been.  Regardless of how you observe this day, even if it's just for a few minutes, take the time to thank the Earth for her gifts and take a moment to be glad we're part of it.
Joyful joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment,
Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise,
Now we must resolve to protect her,
Show her our love throughout all time.
With our gentle hand and touch,
We make our home a newborn World,
Now we must resolve to protect her,
Show her our love throughout all time.
With our gentle hand and touch,
We make our home a newborn World.



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