Caring for creation

My fieldwork developing water quality indicators of wetlands at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) took me to a range of ponds in Minnesota, from extremely polluted to biologically diverse. Wading into one pristine wetland at sunrise, I experienced a sacred aura as the mist lifted, frogs began calling and a rosy sun cast a pink reflective glow on the water.

Later, my awakening sense of care for all creation deepened when I observed the Cosmic Walk, a candle-lit litany celebrating the evolution of the universe and life on earth, performed at St. Catherine's University. After this, my spirituality integrated with my work at the MPCA, protecting wetlands biology, and also with my earlier, childhood love of natural areas. My spirit became whole. This gave me strength to lead the state's contentious investigation into deformed frogs and inspired me to lead the Caring for Creation Committee at Macalester-Plymouth United Church.
Judy Helgen, Roseville, is a retired research scientist in biological monitoring. She authored "Peril in the Ponds: Deformed Frogs, Politics, and a Biologist's Quest."

Pollinators' friend
I am not worried about saving the planet, for she will keep spinning despite our assaults. But, we share this planet with other creatures we depend upon, and are busy making it uninhabitable for them. We need all these creatures, but at the most basic level, we need our pollinators. Pollinators are the tiny giants that hold up the broad base of the food chain that feeds us and other beings, from birds to bears. Despite this fact, pollinators are in rapid decline from pesticides, habitat loss, and climate change. Pollinators make possible our food, our flowers and our beautiful landscapes.

I don't want a drab world. I know I'm not alone in wanting a world full of butterflies and bumblebees or to experience the taste of a ripe, juicy peach and to see a prairie at sunset. I know I'm not alone and we will make our voices heard.
Marcie Forsberg, Stillwater, is the co-executive director of the Pollinator Friendly Alliance,

Born to live green
Many of us find ourselves feeling that creating a list of green "things to do" - using energy-saving light bulbs, recycling waste and shopping for organics - is simply not enough. We want to cultivate a deeper connection between ourselves and the Earth that reflects the desire to live in harmony with all of life.

This can be challenging in a world in which the ice caps are melting, rainforests are being burned to the ground, species are dying and humans are battling diseases - many stemming from exposure to environmental toxins.

I awakened my innate eco-intelligence as a 16-year-old teenager when I was seeking a remedy for my "mystery illness." My environmental illness is thought to have originated during my embryonic development. My mother handled toxic chemicals at her job, prior to her pregnancy.

In my self-healing journey, I learned about the relationship between my health challenges and Mother Earth's. I discovered that we cannot dump toxins into the Earth's terrestrial body - including the bodies of animals and plants - and assume they won't return to our bodies. Humans and the Earth are an interconnected, interdependent system of life that is designed by nature, to exchange energy.
Candia Lea Cole, Mahtomedi, is the founder of Eco-Learning Legacies.

Earth Pledge
I pledge allegiance to our Earth
(the planet on which we live).
And to fresh air, pure water, healthy dirt,
Life giving plants and all the animals.
One Earth - four oceans - seven continents -
Millions of lakes and rivers!
And I accept my duty
to be an honorable citizen of this Earth,
with respect and consciousness towards ALL.

- Patricia Hauser, ©1988

This Pledge, written to the rhythm of the Pledge of Allegiance, was originally composed to develop and enhance planetary consciousness in the hearts and minds of the wonderful young second and third graders in my class.

At our daily "morning meeting" the class "president" of the week reads the Earth Pledge with each line being repeated by the entire class. Following the pledge, the President chooses one student to point out and name the four oceans on our wall world map and then chooses a second student to point out and name the seven continents. Each named ocean or continent is repeated by the entire class.

Whenever global events are brought up in class, someone volunteers to locate the continent and country in which the event is occurring. This begins the expansion process and realization that we, on Mother Earth, are all in this together and what each one of us does makes a difference.
Patricia Hauser, Shorewood