Wednesday April 22 we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The day began in the U.S. in 1970 as a response to the environmental crisis. On that day, 20 million Americans (10% of the population) took to the streets and college campuses in hundreds of cities to protest the country’s disregard for the planet. In the U.S., Earth Day eventually led to the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Today more than 193 countries celebrate Earth Day.
In honor of this day, I reached into my “Quotation Files” and selected 15 quotes on nature and the earth from a variety of authors for your reading, pondering, and enjoyment.
1. Every natural object is a conductor of divinity. John Muir
2. A wrong attitude toward nature implies, somewhere, a wrong attitude toward God. T.S. Eliot
3. To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles. Mary Davis
4. Everything about a hummingbird is a superlative. Tom Colazo
5. The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do. Galileo
6. Some birds migrate thousands of miles—and they weigh so little, they could be mailed for a single first-class stamp! Unknown
7. The environment, after all, is where we all meet, where we all have a mutual interest. It is one thing that all of us share. Lady Bird Johnson
8. We might be saved by a flower, a pebble, a bird, a thunderclap. Anything can bring us a message from Heaven. Anything can wake us up to life right here and now. Thich Nhat Hanh
9. A healthy ecology is the basis for a healthy economy. Claudine Schneider
10. The sheer roaring of energy of things is stunning, miraculous, holy, a prayer, inexplicable, I give up. There is no word eloquent enough for the vast passion of living things. Brian Doyle
11. The beauty of the natural world lies in the details. Natalie Angier
12. We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. Maya Angelou
13. Theologians are wise to close their learned tomes at times and reopen the book of nature. Theology’s heartbeat is the miracle of our own existence. Forrest Church
14. Those who contemplate the beauty of earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. Rachel Carson
15. The care of the Earth is our most ancient and worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope. Wendell Berry
+ Do any of the quotes touch you today? If so, which one(s) and why?
+ Did any of the photos today capture your attention? Which one(s)? How did it (they) speak to you?
+ Do you celebrate Earth Day in any way–on the actual day or throughout the year? If so, I invite you to share some of your ideas with us.
I’m offering two short videos today. The first is a 5 1/2 minute nature video entitled “Beautiful Nature Around the World.” The music is “Conquest of Paradise” by Vangelis. The second video is about an old elephant who likes classical music. After the videos, I’m including a lovely prayer/poem during this time of Covid-19…
Ampan is an 80-year-old female elephant who is almost blind. She lives in a rescue reserve in Thailand. She has developed a fondness for classical music, including Debussy’s “Clair de lune.”
And finally, this short prayer/poem, entitled “When This Is Over,” is by Laura Kelly Fanucci from the Catholic Health Association:
When this is over… may we never again take for granted… a handshake with a stranger… conversations with neighbors… a crowded theater… Friday night out… the taste of Communion… a routine checkup… the school rush each morning… coffee with a friend… the stadium roaring… each deep breath… a boring Tuesday… life itself.
When this ends, may we find… that we have become more like the people we wanted to be… we were called to be… we hoped to be… And may we stay that way—better for each other because of the worst.
I welcome your responses to the quotes… the pictures… the videos… the prayer/poem.