This from John Philip Newell in his book ‘Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul’ touched a nerve for me over the weekend:
Today we hear many voices denouncing the abuse of the environment. These are important voices, and it is imperative that we listen to them and their dire predictions of the catastrophes we are bringing on ourselves and future generations by continuing to wrong the earth. But these voices are always most powerful when they prophetically combine their condemnation of wrong with a call to love, a passionate anger at what is being done to the environment coupled inseparably with a passionate love for the earth. We need both. And we need to live and speak both.
It’s fair to say I’ve struggled to engage with many elements of the environmental movement over the years, and Newell’s words helped me understand why.
I can’t connect with anything that is fuelled entirely – or even mostly – by anger. It’s not that I don’t share that anger; it’s that that anger is not enough of a motivator for me.
Being against something feels too easy almost. It’s far less demanding to express our disapproval of something than to inspire a new way of engaging positively.
I don’t want to be an ‘against something’ person; I want to be a ‘for something’ person. Or, at least, when I am against something, I want to have an equivalent for something to go alongside it. Anger and love – not just anger.