April 16, 2021

Earth Day 2021: Restoring our Connection to Earth

International Mother Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd. This year, coinciding with the Super Year For Biodiversity, we focus on ‘Restoring our Earth’. We are ever-reminded of the need to shift towards a more sustainable economy and increase ambition to reduce our carbon footprint. We continue to educate ourselves and advocate for policies that stand for people and Earth over profit. 

In the days leading up to International Mother Earth Day, Mercy Global Action encourages the Mercy World and beyond to restore our relationship with Earth and its rich biodiversity. Anastasia Freeman, graduate of the inaugural Mercy Global Action Emerging Leaders Fellowship, researched extensively on the climate emergency, plant neurobiology and ways to encourage ecological thinking.

In her research, Anastasia asks the question “How can we as humans...work with all kinds of plants to radically shift our own perceptions and our eco-systems to prevent the worst effects of Climate Change?”

Greta Thunberg states, “We need a whole new way of thinking…. We need to cooperate and work together and share the resources of the planet in a fair way. We need to start living within the planetary boundaries, focus on equity and take a few steps back for the sake of all living species. We need to protect the biosphere, the air, the oceans, the soil, the forests...”

Through her research, Anastasia created a seven-day reflective process to deepen our relationship with our local ecosystems and shift away from anthropocentric thinking. The focus of this creative and reflective process is to slow down enough to gain valuable insights from the ecosystems of which we live. By accepting land as pedagogy or teacher, we can develop awareness, become more deeply in touch with Earth systems and better know how to fulfill our ecological function as humans. Throughout the seven day process, our relationship will grow deeper with the environment around us, much like that of a seed.

Days 1-7 encompass the growing cycle of a plant beginning with a seed, exploring the roots, watching the stem rise, the extension of the leaves, the budding of the flowers, the journey of the pollinators and lastly the development of a healthy fruit.

Each reflection asks the participant to:

  • Read the story of for that day (20mins)
  • Water the seeds of happiness (10 mins)
  • Visit your sit spot for at least 1 hour and there do the following
    • Resting in awareness (20mins – 1 hr)
    • Observation of ecosystem (20mins – 1hr)
    • Journaling about observations (10mins – 30 mins)
  • Complete an eco-art activity (20mins – 3hrs)
  • Reflect on the eco art activity, through journaling (20mins – 1 hr)
  • Walk the land (20mins – 2hrs)

After the seven day reflective process, Anastasia offers tips on how to fulfill our ecological function as humans and ways to slow down the consumption of our natural resources.

“Prayer is a plant… but its growth depends on the care we take to nourish it” – Catherine McAuley

Explore Anastasia’s research here

Messages to: Colleen Cloonan - Leadership & Advocacy Associate, MIA-MGA

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