On World Conservation Day - an Invitation

Updated: Jun 16

by Beth Norcross & Meighan Fraga

A bird sits on a person's palm.

Today is World Conservation Day. It is marked annually around the world to call attention to the threats to our natural world, particularly to those species that are on the brink of extinction, largely at our hands. With fire, flooding, drought, and shockingly high temperatures ravaging our Earth, at first, this might seem like an empty gesture.


But, any opportunity to stop and reflect on the Earth’s uncertain future, our own complicity and actions we must take swiftly, can provide us the foundation we need to transform our lives and lifestyles to be more consistent with a healthy planet. And, as a spiritual organization, we start by looking within, to ground and center those efforts.


We founded the Center for Spirituality in Nature to provide opportunities for spiritual re-awakening, re-grounding and re-orientation -- to help us mindfully participate in the healing of the Earth community of which we are called to be a loving part. By opening ourselves to the natural world with attentiveness and mindfulness, we come to know this ecological community in new ways. When we are open, Spirit attracts us to a place of connection, helping us attune to the rich web of creation and a better understanding of our belonging, in turn aiding us to see our conservation roles and responsibilities more clearly.


In a moving piece for our blog last year, our Board Chair Leah Rampy called us to the role of Spirit as guide, with wisdom to share as we try to determine what action is right. She reflected on the importance of first practicing stillness as we look to chart the path forward: “It is a time to go silent, to open a space for deep listening. Only then will we be able to peel back the layers of ego and habit to hear more clearly the whispers of Wisdom.”

When we access that deep stillness, something else happens. The joy and energy, so vital to our addressing environmental issues, is renewed. Opening our awareness and experiencing Presence in the natural world can re-energize us and provide the fortitude we need to keep pressing forward.

In closing, I offer you this poem by Mary Oliver, “The Fist”, in which she speaks of the invitation the Earth offers us: to understand better our part in the web of life, to surrender to deeper Wisdom available to us, to accept our responsibility to Earth, and to have renewed hope for our tomorrows.

The Fist

There are days

when the sun goes down

like a fist,

though of course


if you see anything

in the heavens

in this way

you had better get


your eyes checked

or, better, still,

your diminished spirit.

The heavens


have no fist,

or wouldn’t they have been

shaking it

for a thousand years now,


and even

longer than that,

at the dull, brutish

ways of mankind—


heaven’s own

creation?

Instead: such patience!

Such willingness


to let us continue!

To hear,

little by little,

the voices—


only, so far, in

pockets of the world—

suggesting

the possibilities


of peace?

Keep looking.

Behold, how the fist opens

with invitation.


-Mary Oliver



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