Caring for the earth is about so much more than natural beauty, though. We all depend on the earth for survival—for food, air and water. When our air, water and food systems are polluted, we get sick. Taking care of the earth is an important part of taking care of people. And taking care of people and the earth is, in my understanding, an important part of our responsibility as people of faith—no matter what your faith tradition might be.
We as a people and a planet are facing some very serious environmental problems, and many of the facts are bleak. In engaging in this work, I don’t expect to solve all of the world’s problems. Or any of them, really. The way I look at it, we have a responsibility to do what we can to make things better and whether things actually get better or not is not ultimately up to us—we are just individual people with limited control over the universe. There is a wonderful Jewish teaching that informs this understanding: “It is not yours to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it” (Pirkei Avot 2:21). This teaching says to me: do what you can to make things better, and don’t give up.
I look forward to getting to know many other Texans of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Unitarian Universalist, Neo-Pagan, Humanist, and other faith traditions—you, who are doing what you can in your communities to make things better for this planet that we share and all the people that live on it. It is by sharing stories, hopes and ideas—and then together, putting them into action—that we will begin to mend some of the brokenness in the world.
Peace & blessings,