From the Climate Action Team

All Life is a Gift

Catherine Ruha painting of a tree growing out of water with a heart and circulatory system and salmon where the roots would be

“It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity.” Cesar Chavez (1)

This holiday season seems a good time to think about other ways of understanding how we choose to live with our Earth. Rather than deserving and being owed only if it helps me too, consider a gifting life and economy. In a gift economy, giving is done without any expectation of reciprocity. (2) As Fr. Richard Rohr noted in a sermon, this may make you squirm, “We don’t like it, because we feel we’ve worked hard to get to our wonderful middle-class positions or wherever we are. We feel we have rights. But, we have to stop saying “I deserve” and deciding who does not deserve. None of us “deserve!” (3) This is difficult but, life is a gift; it is all a gift.

Our beautiful, generous Earth deserves reciprocity from us and our giving can take many forms: choose renewable and cleaner sources of energy; increase your home’s energy efficiency when you repair or remodel; drive less; fly less; switch to a ‘green energy provider’; eat less meat; exercise your rights to cleaner air by putting pressure on governments and companies; grow trees and native plants in your yard (try nut or fruit trees and seeding plants for birds and wildlife)… There are so many ways to give back.

When asking, what is our responsibility to the Earth, we are also asking, “What is our gift?” (4) What generous choices will you make to fulfill your awesome opportunity? What are the gifts you are giving back this year?

1) Cesar Chavez quote: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/gift-quotes.
2) https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Gift_economy
3) https://cac.org/the-gospel-economy-2019-11-24/
4) https://www.humansandnature.org/earth-ethic-robin-kimmerer