By Judy Moores, UU Church of Davis, California
We live in perilous times. The news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change becomes increasingly dire with every scientific report that it issues. (1) Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is already over 385 ppm and rising about 2 ppm per year. In June of 2008, Dr. James Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies predicted that unless global emissions are reduced to 350ppm soon that we can expect a sea level rise of at least two meters within a century. Millions around the world will be displaced and increasing numbers of animal and plant species will go extinct. (2) As Claudia Kern, of the UU Ministry for Earth, writes, “If we are to heal our suffering planet and respond justly and compassionately to the inevitable chaos that climate change is bringing, it seems very clear that we need a rapid evolutionary leap in consciousness.” (3) Such a leap requires that we rethink our relationship to Earth. We need to develop a sense of gratitude so deep that we are willing to consider our every action – large or small, every day – and make critical positive decisions for the health of our planet.
We need to understand our direct dependence on Earth. If we continue on our current path, Descartes’ words, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” take on profound implications for our continued presence as a species on earth. Van Jones suggests in his article, “In Need of A Good Word” in Orion Magazine (Jan-Feb, 2008) the words environment, ecology, sustainability, conservation and green, neither help us understand that our grandchildren are more important than the bottom line and our personal comfort nor include people of all political persuasions, ethnicities, and nationalities. He says we need a terminology that invites everyone into the effort to transform the way we live on the planet.”
To address these concerns, I would like to suggest that we begin to refer to our planet as “Earth, Our Deep-Home-Place” to mean the unique location in the Universe that is our ancestral home, our current home, and the only home that we will ever have – a place deserving of reverence, gratitude, wonder, love and care. Deep – home – place – all simple words that we have used for centuries and perhaps, millennia.