2005 Update - Current Newsletter
What's going on with Sacred Earth Network? In short, we are coming out of hibernation after a year and hungry to "make a difference"! When I founded SEN more than 15 years ago, I had a strong feeling that our work could be highly leveraged; that a small group could exert pressure in just the right way and lots could happen. Being part of getting the former Soviet Union linked up to the emerging global environmental protection community and then helping them build their capacity was thrilling and fulfilling. That mission has been largely completed, but as you know, there are a whole host of new challenges on Planet Earth that need attention. For me, the central challenge is sustainability. Simply put, if we humans do not learn how to live in balance with the Earth, the Earth will kick us off! Fortunately, millions of people recognize this and many groups are doing admirable work. However, few are working on root causes. This is where, I believe, SEN can have the greatest impact.
After putting deep ecology and indigenous wisdom* in a secondary position since our inception --and after speaking to many of you about this-- I'd like to place them front and center. Deep ecology and indigenous wisdom can provide meaning and direction to a sustainability movement that needs more "oomph". Although technological innovation is important, it's going to take something much more profound than recycling and zero emission automobiles to prove that humans can live on the Earth for the indefinite future.
My experience is that when we listen to the Earth and the people who listen to the Earth, creative and innovative thinking can arise that can shed light on previously insoluble problems. What could a sustainable relationship with Nature actually look like and what does it feel like? What are the core beliefs and perceptions needed to make that happen? Who were and who are its existing practitioners? If the answers to these questions are considered sacred knowledge, how can SEN help to promote, publicize, and protect this knowledge and pass it onto future generations?
We live in extraordinary times. Now, by focusing in this area I believe SEN has another opportunity to make a positive impact but in a way that might not be quite as visible or as mainstream. Practically speaking, we’ll attempt to provide a seamless integration of Indigenous Peoples cultural exchanges with workshops and expeditions focused on reconnecting with Earth wisdom. All participants--and I hope you will be one of them--will be encouraged to see for themselves more clearly how to act on behalf of Life. SEN can then organize follow-up meetings, conferences, and gatherings to cross-fertilize ideas and experience and build on past activities. Strategic small-grantmaking, when appropriate, will also be part of the mix. People who self-select to be part of this process will become the "Network" of Sacred Earth Network. In fact as I write this I feel inspired that SEN may in fact come into its own, in a way that it could not when it was an American NGO whose majority of funding came from foundations who wanted to build the Russian environmental movement.
This means that SEN will need to reach out to greater numbers of people, and be less dependent on foundation funding. In the coming weeks, we'll put together a calendar of events, describe specific projects, and invite your participation and support. Right now, I just wanted to let you know what we were cookin' up.
For Earth and Spirit,
PS. Please note new address and phone number:
93A Glasheen Rd.
Petersham, MA 01366
* Deep ecology (or spiritual ecology) and indigenous wisdom are concepts that point to something far-reaching and more easily comprehended through direct experience rather than philosophical inquiry. However, if you seek more intellectual background I refer you to two excellent web sites:
- http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/deep-eco/welcome.htm (from the Rainforest Information Centre web site)
- http://22.214.171.124/viewcat.php3?catid=403&kbid=ionsikc (from the Institute for Noetic Sciences web site)