#6: Taking or taking care.

***This is the sixth of a series of posts based on a book I’m reading for a class called Connections in Religious and Ecological Education entitled Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation. The chapter is “Two Towns, Two Crosses,” by Cassandra Carmichael, director of the eco-justice program at the National Council of Churches.

Alright, so honestly I was entirely uninterested in this chapter.  No need to explore why here, but there was one idea that caught my eye as I read… what does it mean to help people change from takers to caretakers?  How do we, people of faith or conscience with opinions and good information and a message that is, by all accounts, emergent – how do we help people move from being situated only in consumption and self-concern toward living out a sense of connection, interdependence, and necessity of immediate response?  I suppose this is “the” social justice advocacy question and not very original, but there it is.  Carmichael talks about how a community of watermen on the Chesapeake, people who’d been using those waters for their own survival suddenly experienced the literal washing up of their sins onshore when the garbage they’d been dumping rolled onto their beaches.  I suppose this is one way to bring people over from taking to care-taking, but it’s not controllable and not everyone moves easily based on shame and guilt.  I suppose my reflection and my wondering about this lead me to ask, what’s the most effective, most immediate, and most loving way to change behavior?  My instinct is that it’s not shame and it’s not just policy-creation.  What is really at the heart of sea change?  I find myself hoping that it isn’t fear.

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