Interdependent Web: Celebrating Earth Day

Interdependent Web: Celebrating Earth Day

A weekly roundup of blogs and other user-generated web content about Unitarian Universalism


A short practical guide to grief

The Rev. Dan Harper shares a short, practical guide to grief, based on professional and personal experience.

The first seven to ten days after the death, the grief is pretty raw. You may find yourself bursting into tears at the slightest provocation; and if you find yourself laughing at some memory the next instant, that’s normal too. It often helps to be with family, or if you don’t get along with family, then to be with good friends. You know how Jews sit shiva for a week after someone dies? That makes total sense. If you only get two or three bereavement days off from work, still you can cancel all your other commitments. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, April 19)

Celebrating Earth Day

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg introduces a post about climate justice with a story about the earth as a closed, interdependent system.

A few years ago, a park ranger was leading an environmental awareness tour for a group that I was a part of that included a visit to the county landfill. The part of her talk I remember most vividly was that, “We are deceiving ourselves whenever we think we are throwing something away in the trash. There is no ‘away.’” We can try to throw something away from us into the trash can, but there are impacts on the environment from landfills and all the other ways we dispose of our waste. We are always already part of the interconnected ecosystems of this planet. (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, April 19)

The Rev. James Ford writes that it would be good for us to remember that we are primates, close relatives of the apes.

[It] seems to me if we were able to see ourselves as a species of ape, we might take a little more care about our place in the web of life on this little planet. And this poor planet could sure use some help in that regard. (Monkey Mind, April 21)

Kat Liu reminds us that “ Mother Earth does not need us to save Her.”

It is we humans and our cousin species who are in serious trouble. Our populations are built around predictable sources of water, and as weather patterns change with rising temperatures, some places suffer drought and others flood. Either way, sources of clean water become scarce, and people fight for control. The violence in both Darfur and Syria have been linked to climate change and things will only get worse. Not to mention the poisons we're digging up and sending into our air, water, and soil. So the need to act is urgent, particularly for those of us who are poorest, most vulnerable, as we saw with Katrina and with Flint. But Mother Earth, Pachamama, Gaia... She will ultimately be fine with or without us. (Wizduum, April 17)

Alison Leigh Lilly shares instructions for an Earth Day game of “Phenology Bingo.” (Holy Wild, April 20)

Personal stories

Emily De Tar examines her UU privilege.

To many of our members in rural areas of the country, surrounded by conservative religious voices it can be scary to be a Unitarian Universalist. For many of them it might really feel as if our faith is discriminated against. However, the ways we get targeted because of our liberal values and LGBT inclusion, is not the same as the ways other faith traditions have historically and systemically been treated in the American religious landscape. I think there is an important difference between noting when we have prejudice and assumptions cast on us as Unitarian Universalists, and between faiths that have societal wide and government discrimination. (Voices of Liberal Faith, April 15)

Shauna Ahern explains slavery to her seven-year-old, white daughter while her two-year-old black son listens.

So you explain the concept of slavery and the Biblical context. And she's horrified. And then you explain this isn't just in ancient history or the movies. And you tell, in brief but urgent stories, about slavery in the United States and watch her look at her brother and you with open mouth of horror. And you explain that this is why you have been saying lately, that there are people in this country who will judge her beloved brother harshly, horribly, because he is black. Because in some ways, it never ended. And you tell her that the story of America is the story of lofty ideals in stark contrast to the reality of this hatred. And that many people don't want to look at this, have tried to forget this history or pretend it doesn't exist. But you won't ever do that to her or her brother. (Facebook, April 21)

The Rev. Amy Beltaine learns from others’ reactions to her cancer diagnosis to more aware of her own assumptions.

Now that I’ve been “N.E.D.” (No evidence of disease) for a year I notice this happening to other people. I try to respond to people who share a cancer diagnosis with “What is your experience?” and “Tell me more. What do you need?”

What internal narrative do you have that might not be true? Well, it is almost impossible to see it when it is your own narrative. (Nature’s Path, April 18)

The Rev. Catharine Clarenbach struggles to reconcile UU and Pagan identities.

How am I to reconcile the practice that shaped my heart, soul, and sense of Divinity with the neck-up practice I find in the great, great majority of our congregations, whether fellowships, societies, or churches?

I don’t know.

I just don’t know. (Nature’s Path, April 20)