Our earliest mythologies tell us we all start as
a little bit of dirt.
These stories carry a profound message: each of us is born with a deep and abiding connection to the earth, one that many of us have lost touch with.
The Silent Spring for today’s environmental activists, Earth Calling: A Climate Change Handbook offers an invitation to reestablish our relationship with nature to repair our damaged environment.
You have a chance to win a copy of this must-read handbook—a beautifully written book that helps us make the connection between spirit, nature and earth.
But first we hope you’ll listen to this Green Divas Radio Show interview with co-author Ellen Gunter and read the excerpt below. Great podcast. Great woman. Great book.
Exclusive excerpt from Earth Calling:
There is a Zen saying about becoming a pilgrim on a spiritual
quest: “If you’re not going to finish the journey, it’s best you
never start.” Because there is no going back, no unscrambling of
the egg. Making that commitment ignites a fire that alters the axis
of your life’s orbit. And when that axis shifts, it can begin as such a
gentle touch that you don’t have the slightest clue that your life has
just taken a 180-degree turn.
Ted and I hatched the idea for this book during just such a
gentle shift in the summer of 2007, when my husband and I were
visiting him and other friends in Maine. We had often talked by
phone well into the night about what was happening to the earth
and what the two of us could possibly do in response. One day I
joined him on a visit to some of the places he and his firm had done
landscape design for. As I looked around at the stunning landscapes
he had helped nurture, my understanding of how we can relate to
the earth changed. I asked him to describe what he did in his work.
“I help create sacred spaces in people’s homes and yards,” he
said, “and I teach clients how to see and hear how the earth speaks
Ten years before that, such a declaration would have made me
raise my eyebrows and roll my eyes; now it made perfect sense. My
own lifelong spiritual questing had slowly shifted my “bandwidth,”
my capacity to see differently, and made room for a bigger truth.
This, as Ted and I have learned, is the way the cosmos reveals itself,
gently drawing you in one direction, then almost imperceptibly taking
you someplace you had not imagined.
That bigger truth became this book.
Until I met Ted, my idea of a landscaper was someone who
threw plants into the ground in strategic places and sent you a bill.
But what he did was profoundly different. Walking around some of
the properties he had transformed just felt good. There was a magical
sense to each space, a sort of aliveness in the air that turned up
the senses. For him, working with the earth isn’t a job, it’s artistry, a
calling—something he does with reverence and respect. To Ted, the
earth is an extension of himself.
Here was common ground we shared. We had both grown up
with a distinct reverence for the earth, a deep sense of wonder about
its mystery and majesty. I had spent much of my childhood in Miami,
Florida, in the mid-1950s. Violent weather patterns—particularly
hurricanes—were a fact of life. A short time after a hurricane passed,
the DDT trucks would drive through the neighborhoods, dousing
them in thick clouds of insecticide to keep mosquitoes from hatching
out of the pools that lay stagnant after a storm. All of us kids
would go out and play in those foggy plumes, jumping on our bikes
to follow along behind the spraying trucks. Nobody knew there was
anything wrong with that then. In fact, old public service ads from
those days show people sitting on the beach getting blasted with a
cloud of DDT, and everyone acting as though it was as refreshing
as bath powder. One ad showed a scientist demonstrating its benign
nature by spraying it on his porridge—then eating it. No worries;
that was the message.
The way we treat the earth did not seep into modern thinking
until Rachel Carson began to educate us about pesticides like
DDT in 1962 when her pivotal book Silent Spring was published.
It forever altered my understanding of how the world worked. I was
astounded, not only at the news it conveyed about the devastation
being done to the planet and to all of the species that inhabit it,
but also with how obvious it was, after the book’s publication, that
many of the people at the center of the controversy about pesticide
use—government agencies, farmers, and particularly the chemical
companies—wanted to keep things just as they were.