The Sacred Earth Project is a program of the Green Brain Initiative.
This Project was inspired after discussions with several prominent religious leaders in the Mid-Hudson Valley who recognized a poverty of inter-religious dialogues on the natural environment, and the necessity to commence dialogues with local organizations and leaders to begin a structured and considered process of guiding our communities to envision (rather, re-vision), and transforming them to build, a resilient and sustainable future for our future generations through ancient wisdom and enlightened living.
There is an old Cree Indian proverb that says, “Only when the last tree has died, and the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught, will we realize that we cannot eat money.” Our insatiable demands and shortsighted greed have shoved the Earth’s resources and its ability to comfortably sustain us to the verge of collapse!
The destruction of our biodiversity and the changes in our climate — this present grave state of our planet — are all consequences of human behavioral problems. We are inundated with an abundance of information and statistics on the state of our planet — we know the facts — but yet the problem continues to accelerate. Certainly, we need the strategies, regulations and legislation from our governments to alleviate the crisis, but this environmental quandary was spawned by human actions, and can only be assuaged through human actions.
Certainly, ecology and religion are inextricably linked. As man continues to be a dynamic component in his own environment, his perceived right to master the earth has proven to be the principal source of its chaos and destruction.
Understanding that, “Spiritual teachings and practices can celebrate and consecrate our ties to the non-human world, reminding us of our delicate and inescapable partnership with air, land, water and fellow living beings,” the significant role of the ancient wisdom of world religions in the contemporary environmental crisis is, thus, lucid.
As the earth continues to be ravaged by the advancing cancerous archetypes of militarism, consumerism, materialism, economic growth, and the like, there continues to be a movement away from the core ethics and human values, which should form the center of our struggle to preserve our fragile, interdependent ecosystems.
Our environmental impoverishment is, at its core, a spiritual impoverishment – attitudes and actions toward nature devoid of a resolute moral and spiritual foundation, and a broader vision of kinship, interconnection and interdependence of man and nature. We cannot hope to successfully address this monumental challenge without drawing on the wealth of wisdom contained in the narratives, symbols and ritual practices of the religions, which are unparalleled repositories of knowledge that have the potential to play a critical role in leading, inspiring and arousing us to awaken and heed the urgent call of nature in peril.
Contemporary theology is recognizing the escalating significance of, and must now fulfill its role in the ongoing dialogue, re-visioning and actions toward sustainable development and environmental well-being. Whether through the reinterpretation, expansion, synthesis, or creation of new ideas and spiritual practices, the religions are charged with the immense, but sacred, task of continually challenging itself to find avenues to reconnect spirituality to secular environmental ethics and ecological activism.
With these urgent and profound concerns before us, the Sacred Earth Project aims achieve these overall objectives within the Hudson Valley:
Already, we have begun to partner with key religious leaders and organizations to explore, develop and advance programs in these main areas:
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