I have a bone to pick with the Pagan community, or any community that has a spirituality based on nature.
But first, let me give a bit of a disclaimer. This isn’t intended to be a hit piece or calling anyone specifically out. My goal is to bring some conscious awareness and thought to the day-to-day grind that so many of us are accustomed to living. No one is completely innocent of what I’m about to discuss, myself included, but I hope this serves as a reminder to us all.
We claim to love and worship nature deeply and spiritually, and I’m certain many of us have convinced ourselves that we are doing just that. Sadly, our statements of intent so commonly stay as statements rather than becoming tangible action. It’s so easy to get caught up in the modern lifestyle that we quite easily let them slip away into the background. Our actions, or sometimes lack thereof, becomes contradictory to the powerful vocal reverence we once sang out.
Loving and worshiping the earth is great, but we soon lose ourselves when single use plastics are more convenient. Recycling becomes an extra bothersome step in our routine causing our waste to swirl together like the “Great Pacific garbage patch” in the Pacific Ocean–and possibly even becoming a literal part of that simile (look it up). We wonder why we should even bother donating a dollar or two to Eco-focused organizations when we could spend it on something a little more worth our time, like a coffee or McDonald’s.
Furthermore, why should we spend our time volunteer with local city or state park services to improve and aid our local environment unless there is an Instagram opportunity? After all, we could be at home with clean hands watching the new season of “Sabrina” or browsing the internet and apps to occupy our time. Our excuses start to pile up higher than the annual 50 million pounds of plastic toothbrush waste or the 10 tons of garbage left on the Virginia beach after Memorial Day weekend parties. In the end it’s all the same so long as I make it clear that I worship and love the earth, right?
So long as I can claim ignorance, even if it’s willful, I can’t be held responsible for my part. So long as I take a vocal stand, even if I keep it vocal, I can say I did something. So long as I do what everyone else is doing, regardless of morality, I won’t stick out. So long as I keep convincing myself that I’m making a difference while simultaneously doing nothing, I can say I’ve done my part.
Quite frankly, I’m done with this way of living and thinking, and I challenge everyone reading this to look honestly at your own impact. I can’t, in good conscious, proclaim a love and reverence for nature while doing nothing to aid it or advocate for it. Over the past two years of studying with an Order that makes the study of environmental sciences a priority and requirement, I have learned a lot about my own laziness and passivity towards environmental issues.
I have learned that even one person committed to making real change is better than being part of a droning crowd chanting “I’m only one person, I can’t do anything to make a change.” I would rather do all that I can to truly and honestly live my reverence and love of nature with minimal result than to be a part of the larger lethargic crowd and betray the integrity of my own beliefs and morals.
I challenge every Pagan, nature lover, or any other adherent of a nature based spirituality to also live your love and beliefs. I challenge you to go out of your way to make a positive impact on your local environment, your whole bioregion, country, or even the world. Plant some trees (there are organizations that will do this for you for as little as $1), switch to biodegradable single use items, reuse items, recycle, volunteer, and love the hell out of the earth with your words and actions. Become a living embodiment of your own spirituality. Truly connect with your local environment through physical contact and encourage the same in others. Get your hands dirty, Sabrina will still be there later to help you relax afterwards.
It’s not always easy, and mistakes are both fine and normal, but it’s worth it.