Healing our World & Ourselves

The President’s Hoot
by Richard H. Baker, Ph.D.
February 2014

Certainly, our planet Earth and all its inhabitants, plants, animals including humans need healing and restoration.  The decline in our environmental health worldwide including the rapid loss of habitats, plant and animal species, fresh clean water, toxic contaminants in our foods, and human caused climate change, seems sudden but has been simmering for decades.  Wars and violence contribute to these environmental issues.  Closer to home, we woke up one morning to find our treasured Lagoon was in deep trouble with the loss of 47,000 acres (60 %) of its fundamental support of marine life, our seagrasses gone  Yes Gone! Manatees, dolphins, fish dead by the 100s.  Although we do not know yet why this happened, maybe just a perfect storm of related factors, our over-populated human presence and activities are contributing to the Lagoon’s demise.

Fortunately, many have responded in an effort to heal the planet and ourselves.  Except for the City of Sebastian, our county and city officials have passed strong fertilizer ordinances and are looking into limit the harmful effects of the 36,864 septic tanks polluting our county’s surface and ground waters.  Our citizens are committing themselves in the following ways:

  • Indian River Lagoon Coalition’s Call to Action
  • Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration Campaign-to insure its purity, availability, essential to life
  • UF/ Pelican Island Audubon’s Stewardship and Environmental Classes
  • Requesting administrative hearings to stop further destruction of our seagrasses and mangroves
  • Forming new connections and organizations to promote a healthy environment

Now churches and religious groups are heeding the Bible’s entreaty to be stewards of the earth, not just consume its resources unsustainably. Humans have the responsibility to keep our Earth healthy for generations to come. Bringing in spirituality shows concern for creation and for our fellow humans.

One such effort, started by Reverend Gregory Wilson and Helen Wilson from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brevard is holding its Second Annual Conference, Healing Our World & Ourselves at the Emerson Center, 1590 27th Ave., Vero Beach, on Feb. 21-22, 2014 from 9:30 am Friday to 6:00 pm Saturday.  The Conference addresses the question “How do you see the problem of climate disruption in relationship to the earth and her most basic relationships with us and the rest of creation?”  Specific focus will be on food and water, with solutions through earth rights, democratic/legislative rights of the people, mobilizing nations, science and technology, inspiration, and the effect of globalized addictions/need for recovery.

There will also be music, time for small group interaction, opportunities for dance and movement- a time to “feed” and heal body, mind, and spirit.

To help cover expenses, the suggested donation is $75 for both days, which includes two continental breakfasts, lunches and the dinner on Friday.  If you want to attend MET singer Shyla Nelson’s concert on Friday night, it is $15 extra.  She is excellent.  For those who find that $90 pinches their budget, there are partial scholarships. 

Keynote speakers include:
Pat Siemen: On the Rights of Nature. A Dominican Sister from Adrian, Michigan, and an attorney, she currently serves as the director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, Barry University School of Law in Miami.
Will Allen: Community Supported Agriculture. An organic farmer, teacher and activist, Cedar Circle Farms, E. Thetford, VT (www.cedarcirclefarm.org). Will is a self-identified “food freak”, author, and a lifelong farmer.
George Friday: Building Communities to Action.  He is a consultant to nonprofit organizations seeking to build capacity and organizational strength while acknowledging and addressing issues of oppression and privilege in ways that build community.
Shyla Nelson: One Earth, One Voice to Respond to the Planetary Crisis in Humanity’s Relationship with the Earth. She is an internationally renowned classical singer, public speaker, voice trainer, author, and environmental advocate. As an artist, she has been acclaimed as a soprano of “consummate artistry and vocal grace” whose concert and operatic appearances have delighted audiences throughout the U.S. and abroad
Bruce Alexander: Earth Recovery Support Groups to Heal Our Earth.  A Canadian psychologist who has devoted four decades to the study of addiction.  His two books on addiction are Peaceful Measures: Canada’s Way Out of the War on Drugs (University of Toronto Press, 1990) and The Globalization of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Join us!  Register by mail or on the WEBSITE: www.HealingOurWorldAndOurselves.org or call 772-486-4029 (Rev. Wilson) or email gvwilson@bellsouth.net

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