Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Pagans and Environment

A large part of Paganism tends to emphisize environmental cohesion and the impact that it has on our lives. Of course, I see this manifested in a common statement that Pagans have made in books, on websites, or in person. That statement could be summed up as something along the lines of "Pagans respect Mother Nature."

The environment is something that we need to take care of as it provides us with what we need to survive. We need to learn to use what we need in a way that is not going to harm the environment by upsetting the natural balance of all kinds of life. What is going on in the environment effects how we live, icluding air and water quality, natural resources, etc. I found an article on Yahoo! that gives an example of this concept, which is the inspiration for writting this entry.

Great Lakes Region Works to Save Water.

This article is specifically about a company that manufactures office furniture and their way of complying with environmental regulations. What I found interesting is that it also mentioned how environmental groups have worked towards a great understanding of quality, but have not address the quantity of water in the past , which is also important. I think they make a good point.

We usually think of the environment in terms of the Ozone, atmosphere, global warming, protection of endangered spieces, and the like, but that's not all in the talk of environment. What about our own personal environments - our homes, workplaces, or schools? Everyday our individual environments, or spaces, have an effect on us as well.

Personally, my home is a welcome thought after a long day at work or school. It is a place to relax and let go of the stressers of the day. But if I come home to a messy place with lots of clutter, I go crazy. So for that reason, I tend to keep it clean. That's an aspect of how my environment works on me.

While at school, I also have noticed that I have a tendency to relax in certain areas. One of these areas happens to be at the end of the hall in the psychology department. In this corner, which was previously unused, there are two comfortable chairs with a small table between them with two trees and several plants around them. The environment just happens to be a very relaxing place for that helps me to lower my level of stress. It seems to be a favorite among many students as well, as it never empty.

But there are also some areas that I tend to avoid, such as walking through certain doors. I have noticed that smokers tend to congragate at certain doors and the smoke screen is so bad, that if I were to walk through it, I would be going immediately to the hospital due to my asthma. I have had to alter my patterns due to how others use their environment. (In Minnesota, smokers are supposed to move 50 feet from the doors, but they usually don't. I'm not sure what the laws are in other states.)

All of us, not just Pagans, need to be aware not only our world's environment but also our personal environments and how they effect us as well as the others around us. As I see most statements being made about the world's environment, I am wondering if Pagans consider their personal environment in a similar manner. Anybody?


Wanderer said...

While my experience thus far is that Pagan's tend to spend much more time focusing on the greater environmental issues, I would suggest that this trend is unfortunate. After all, how do we truly expect to impact the macrocosm without changing the microcosm?

If we don't change and improve our personal environment, we can't hope to change the greater environments. The greater is made up of all of the lessers. The first step is to succesfully impact our personal space, then our immediate, then the greater. Every area that you impact out there is someone's personal space. If you ask them to change theirs without touching yours, how do you expect to influence? If you do influence them, how do you expect not to pollute their space with the personal space you haven't cared for.

Apply the rede here to environmental consciesness on the relation of personal versus extra-personal space. What you do not find within you will not find without. What you do not change within, you will not change without.

Blessed be.

Christina said...

I think it is important to each take personal responsibility for the environment - locally and globally. The relationship between the environment and faith perspectives is interesting. As I have commented before, I am a Christian. And I am concerned about the environment. It seems that at least in Christianity, environmental issues are cemented with left wing politics,and are thus are often dismissed by conservative Christians. I don't think it needs to be that polarised. I do my bit to make a difference - recycling, composting, using recycled papers, avoiding plastics. There is always more to do, but it helps to focus on what can be done. For me, to not care about the environment is to be hypocritical - why would I not value God's creation? I am interested to know more about the spiritual basis for environmental care/connectedness within paganism....

TurtleHeart said...

I've blogged about this issue from time to time. I really do try to be aware. I recycle. I try to reuse when possible. I hate hate hate the billions of plastic bags from grocery stores-- I have net bags I take with me instead, and I recently found a crochet pattern for them. May be making some to give out as gifties soon!

We tried our hand at organic gardening last summer. I try to conserve energy and water-- turn off lights when not using them, keept the heat down, don't let the faucets run, get drips fixed, etc.

But there is so much more I know I could be doing. I'm sure I need to step up my efforts. I wish everyone would. I can't understand why the human race can't seem to comprehend that this is the *only* planet we have.

Sojourner said...

Thanks everyone for your comments so far!

Wanderer said...

Just stopping by to say that I hope your lack of posting over the last month is indicative or a busy life and not of anything unfortunate within it.

Sojourner said...

Thanks, Wanderer.

Yes, life hit me full force in December. Between finals, the holidays, a birth in the family, and a surgery within the family, and moving, I have had little time to commit to blogging. I will start to post again as of today.