(In) the early '60's I realized that the world was being turned into a poisonous garbage dump. By the time the meek inherited it, it might not be worth inheriting. — Pete Seeger, folk singer and activist
You can't expect people to fight for a cleaner river until they learn to love it. — Pete Seeger, folk singer and activist
IN TODAY'S WORKSHOP... We talked about Pete Seeger and his friends sailing in the Clearwater to help clean up the Hudson River. We think about how everything in the web of life is connected, so that helping to take care of one part also helps other parts. We also talk about ways we can offer stewardship even after our time together in Gather the Spirit ends.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... Do you feel that you and your family are called to help take care of the Earth? Can you describe what that feeling is like? Where do you think it comes from? How is it different than being called on the phone, or called to dinner?
Do you have butterflies around your home? Do there seem to be more than there used to be? Fewer?
What if you live in a city apartment? What special things can you do to help with the Earth's resources?
What does it mean to "think globally and act locally"?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try... to learn more about Pete Seeger and the Clearwater . His own book is very good. It's called Where Have All the Flowers Gone: A Singer's Stories, Songs, Seeds, Robberies. The Hudson River sloop is still active in environmental causes. Find out more online.
FAMILY SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
Meditate together, and think about being called to do something. Be open to the idea that you might have an inner sense of what you need to do. That could be doing something special with your life, or something special to help other people. It might come to you soon, but it might not come to you for a long time. You can't force it. But you can be open to it. This means being ready to think about it when it happens, and maybe to act on it in some way. How you really feel deep inside is important.
A FAMILY GAME
Water Scavenger Hunt. Look for something you cannot see—a sense of satisfaction inside you. Be ready for a feeling that you have done something very good to help protect and share the Earth's water and other resources. Find new ways your family can help with water resources.
Play Poohsticks. If you live near a flowing creek or river with a footbridge, play this game of Winnie the Pooh and his friends. You will need a few sticks. Competitors each choose a stick and show the sticks to one another so you know whose is whose. Stand on the upstream side of the bridge and drop in your sticks at exactly the same time. Cross the bridge quickly, in time to see the sticks emerge on the downstream side. The person whose stick floats out first is the winner. The game is fun, and proves one can enjoy a stream or river without polluting it. It's important to choose a safe bridge (no traffic) and have an adult present.
Plant your own garden. Make it beautiful as well as practical. Avoid dangerous chemicals that can hurt the Earth and contaminate groundwater. A butterfly garden or flowers to attract songbirds or hummingbirds can bring beauty and ecological balance to your immediate environment. Do you live someplace where you cannot plant a garden? See if you can join in a congregational gardening effort or a community garden, where different people use a small parcel of land to grow their own food and flowers. Or, plant seeds indoors, in pots. Enjoy plants and flowers there, or put them outdoors to attract butterflies.
FAMILY WATERCRAFT BUILDING
Build a boat. You can learn to build a canoe, a kayak or a rowboat. Or, build a model to have fun sailing. Whatever you build, choose a boat that's friendly to water—not one that will spill oil or gas into a beautiful, life-giving river or lake.
Take a boat trip. Enjoy travel along the Earth's water resources. If you can use a canoe or a sailboat, that's great. If you need to go on a larger boat to go further, see if you can find one that's environmentally friendly. That means it doesn't pollute the water. It also means that people on board are careful what they do with their garbage and trash. They don't just throw it overboard.
Do Internet research on stewardship. How many different sites talk about stewardship? What kinds of stewardship? How many congregations talk about stewardship? Note: Congregations often use the word "stewardship" to describe their own fundraising activities. If you pledge money to your own congregation in a stewardship campaign, are you being a steward to anything but your own congregation? Maybe you are. Find out how your congregation spends its money.
FAMILY STEWARDSHIP COMMITMENT
Adopt a body of water or a piece of land to improve. Find a place that's a mess and start cleaning it up. It's as easy as that.