Shoulders, Atlas and Earth Day

earth-158678_960_720If you had to choose a poem for Earth Day what would it be? From my limited collection of poetry I have chosen Shoulders by Naomi Shihab Nye. It reminded me of Atlas and his burden – I share the popular misconception that he shoulders the earth (rather than the celestial spheres). Naomi Shihab Nye shoulders hope in her poetry. She says that her poems often begin with the voices of her neighbours, “always inventive and surprising”.


A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
no car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo
but he’s not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy’s dream deep inside him.

We’re not going to be able
to live in this world
if we’re not willing to do what he’s doing
with one another.

The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.

this poem is from Red Suitcase

>Environment Sunday

>Today is Environment Sunday – because it’s the Sunday nearest World Environment Day (June 5th). I don’t hear much about Environment Sunday even though

“To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”

is one of the Five Marks of Mission. Friend Barbara sent me a video of a 12 year old Canadian girl pleading to adults to do something about the environment. It’s a powerful and well-spoken plea.
In the House of Lords recently, friend and Bishop, Peter Forster gave waht was a cautionary take on environmental concern. Speaking against the tide “as a scientist in a previous incarnation” he said there was no consensus among climate scientists that “carbon dioxide levels are the key determinant” and that “Climate science is a notoriously imprecise area, because the phenomena under investigation are so large.That makes precision difficult to achieve.”
Friends of the Earth has condemned +Peter’s comments but is he not simply saying that we jump to conclusions and all we are working on is hypotheses.
However, whether we are with +Peter, or with Friends of the Earth (and how many of us know enough to take sides?) – our personal courses of action need to be the same (and we need to co-ordinate our efforts in local communities) – which is to reduce the wastefulness of earth’s resouces on the basis that consumption and waste do have an environmental impact and those most likely to suffer are the world’s poorest people.
Here we are hoping to develop a local action group and have invited friends from a neighbouring village to tell us about their success in becoming the first carbon neutral small community. That meeting is on June 24th at Tarvin Methodist Church.