Earth Keepers: Our Roots
The Creator entrusts each of us to be keepers of the earth, to be responsible stewards of creation, to enjoy the beauty and gift of God’s land, water and wildlife and to share in the dynamic and ongoing work of the Creator. From the beginning, the Divine bestows upon humanity the responsibility to “serve and keep” creation (Genesis 2:15). The Hebrew word for “keep” in this passage is Shamar, which carries with it the sacred responsibility to “guard, take care of, and look after” the earth.
Through listening, building trust, and developing long-term sustainable relationships, Earth Keepers equips and engages spiritual leaders so they can make a difference in their communities and the world.
A New Earth Ethic
After watching the devastation of America’s wildlife and collapse of ecosystems, in 1949 Aldo Leopold challenged America calling for the development of new environmental ethic he called “the land ethic.” While Leopold’s teachings remain foundational to understandings of land use, wildlife management, and environmental ethics, it is important that we continue to build off and broaden Leopold’s ethic by addressing the scale, complexity and intersectionality of today’s environmental problems. Speaking to this, Leopold noted, “no important change in human conduct is ever accomplished without an internal change in our intellectual emphases, our loyalties, our affections, and our convictions. The proof that conservation has not yet touched these foundations of conduct lies in the fact that philosophy, ethics, and religion have not yet heard of it” (The Ecological Conscience).
Accordingly, Earth Keepers unites spiritual leaders from various faith traditions in working together to shape and live into a new earth ethic focused on:
- Reconnecting people with land, water and wildlife while building true community with creation and one another;
- Highlighting the important intersection between social justice and the environment;
- Bridging science and religion;
- Providing reliable information about key environmental issues and identifying effective ways to move from information to transformation;
- Creating respectful dialogue about how different cultures, faiths and spiritual traditions view and relate to various environmental issues;
- Thinking critically and reflecting on sacred texts, including those that are comforting and challenging;
- Providing helpful resources for worship, liturgy and spiritual growth