Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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Easter and the natural environment

Death

Caring about Earth, the environment and the non-human can be a super painful commitment. Every day, as we try to use less water, reduce our waste or use renewable energy, we see so many other people who just don’t seem to care. We are surrounded by so much apathy, inaction and mindless greed. Meanwhile the news – cringe – I feel like I can’t pick up a paper without getting discouraged!

Our precious Great Barrier Reef is dying because of climate change, yet there is no real action. Instead, now we are going to give unlimited free water to Adani for a new dirty coal mine (?!). Rainforests are being cut down and burned because so many of the products we use and eat contain palm oil. New developments are being built completely unsustainably. Our public transport is overcrowded and poorly designed … I could go on all day, and it’s so depressing!

Caring hurts a lot. Tradition reminds us that sometimes we need to sit with all that death and destruction, and face it. Sometimes we have to accept that it is all awful, and confusing, and it sucks – a lot. That’s the Good Friday part.

Then we need to sit with the pain and sorrow, sit with the confusion and hurt, sit with the not knowing and the hopelessness – that’s Easter Saturday.

New hope

But we don’t sit with the bad stuff forever. In the Christian tradition, on the third day, we focus on resurrection – a fancy word for new hope that comes from and through death.

Like a seed that must die and be buried to become a new plant, sometimes hope can come out of the disasters and pain in unexpected ways:

Like how the Franklin River fight became about so much more, and continues to inspire Australian environmental campaigning today, and how the extinction of the Tasmanian Tiger led to the establishment of National Threatened Species Day and inspires so many people to work in conservation.

Maybe Trump being terrible, closing the EPA, removing references to climate change and supporting all sorts of development over the welfare of the planet (the death) will actually help us all to unify and fight harder for the environment around the world (the new life)? As we watch with horror, perhaps we will find new courage to protect what is precious?

Hope sometimes finds a way through the darkness. Somehow a seedling can grow in the harshest of deserts, or the barest crack in cement. It just needs enough hope and determination.

Where is there pain and death in your life that you need to face and sit with for a time? How can you create space and opportunity for new hope and life to come out of, or despite these situations?

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