Earth is Our Home. The basis and foundation of all the elements is the Earth. We were made from it and we are sustained by it. We are deeply moved by its mysterious beauty. There are approximately 8.7 million different types of plant and animal on Earth but 90 per cent of them have yet to be discovered, according to new estimates.
“The family needs a home, a fit environment in which to develop its proper relationships. For the human family, this home is the Earth - the environment that God the Creator has given us to inhabit with creativity and responsibility. We need to care for the environment: it has been entrusted to men and women to be protected and cultivated with responsible freedom, with the good of all as a constant guiding criterion." - Pope Benedict XVI
Let's start in the yard. Is it a showcase of only manicured short green grass? Is it a place where children play? Is it a place where adults gather and visit? Does it have a variety of colors and shapes? Is it a place where birds can be heard singing? Where hummingbirds and butterflies bring delight to young and old alike? Do the sounds and sights of our lawn fuel our imagination and feed our souls?
Porches are a symbol of the transition between the private, individual area and the public, communal area of our lives. Porches are the bridge between outdoors and indoors. Do we know our neighbors? How can we create porches in our lives that help us connect our individual life with the life of the community and that connect the outside world of nature with our indoor lives?
In many newer homes today, the garage makes up one-third of the house and is prominently attached on the front of the house, becoming the entrance to the home, obscuring the front door to the activities of the neighborhood. In the U.S., 82% of homes have two car garages or larger. More and more of us are using the space for extra storage instead of for our cars. Look around and see if there are things you could do without.
The living room is a place where families can relax, watch television, play games, discuss important issues, greet and entertain guests. Conversations in the living room might include serious topics affecting individual family members, the entire family or the broader community. Conflicts can be addressed, behavior taught and moral values explored. Such as reflecting on families who are homeless or without other basic needs who have little space for quiet conversation or play.
Food is critical. Holidays dinners, birthday parties, welcome cookies and funeral casseroles are more about relationship than eating. There has been a steady increase in the number of people who go hungry. Notice how you as family, friends or community dine. Give thanks for the fruit of Earth and the work of human hands.
The bedroom can be a little corner of the world that turns into a sanctuary. It is here where we have a bed for resting or intimacy with a spouse, as well as space for personal needs, prayer or meditation. When we look out our bedroom window, what do we see? Perhaps we see the night sky, radiant with sparkling stars and the moon lighting up the sky. Perhaps it is the rising sun bouncing off the river to greet us.
In early history the bathroom was not even part of the house. It was a little building away from the house. In the U.S. the average middle class family home has two bathrooms. Two-thirds of the water used in the home is used in the bathroom. Sanitation is a basic need that for many people throughout the world remains an unobtainable luxury.
An attic is generally an awkwardly shaped space with a slanted ceiling and corners that are difficult to reach. Because of their inaccessibility, attics often provide residents with a place to store items that are considered unessential, unfashionable or unnecessary. Earth has no attics for storage. In fact, she has no real “away” for the things we throw away. As we store up things, are we only delaying the time when we will want to empty out our storage spot?
Earth is the element of stability, foundations and of the body. The Earth is the realm of wisdom, knowledge, strength, growth and prosperity. It is also the physical Earth on which we live and the very heart of life. It is essential in spells and rituals of prosperity, business, fertility and stability. Earth is a feminine element and governs stone and knot magic.
All things on Earth are connected. We need to take care of the Earth. We need to work together for a better future. We need to live together in peace.
- Collect rainwater in a barrel for watering your garden and trees. Cover the top of the barrel with a fine screen.
- Donate some gently used clothes and toys to shelters.
- Get to know a neighbor and find a way to help them.
- Limit your food choices to what comes from within a 50-mile radius of your home or community.
- Go for a walk with a friend and notice all the living things that need our help and protection. Talk about how you would feel if they gradually disappeared and what we need to do to protect them.
- Keep a water journal for a week recording all the ways you use water. Look for ways to conserve water and begin to do so today.
- Imagine that you and your friends are visiting from another planet. Put on a play about what you want to teach the “earthlings” about accepting differences and living together in peace.
- Make a chart and ask each family member to mark it each time they remember to turn off lights or electrical equipment when not in use. Total the marks at the end of each week. Compare the results weekly and try to increase the marks
- Plan and organize a clothing exchange party with your friends and neighbors. Sort the clothes by sizes and items.
- Create and implement plans to recycle, to reduce your use of fossil fuels and to reduce your carbon emissions.
- Plant milkweed in your yard and watch for Monarch Butterflies.
- Start a vegetable garden. Go to a garden centre to ask for gardening tips.
- Work with your family to build a compost bin in your back yard.