By Kermit M. Hovey, Jr.
The Season of Creation drives me insane, and the fact that it’s almost over doesn’t eliminate the problem.
It makes me feel insane because of all the incongruity it reveals. Why do we only briefly celebrate something that should be part of our everyday lives? Why do we set aside time to pay attention to the beauty and fragility of our planet for a few weeks, when we should be grateful and respectful all year round? Why do we keep harming the environment and its climate, even when we increasingly see, suffer, and know the consequences? Why do we not act more boldly and urgently to protect our common home?
It makes me act insane as I do things that others might find crazy. It makes me speak up for the voiceless creatures and ecosystems that are suffering from greed, ignorance, and indifference. It makes me join movements and campaigns that challenge the status quo with demands for justice and sustainability. It makes me attempt my eco-3 Rs — repair, restore, and replenish — even when it seems hopeless or futile. It makes me hope against hope that we can still make a difference, if we work together and don’t give up. And, like that popular definition of insanity, it makes me do these and other things over and over again expecting different results.
The Season of Creation calls attention to creation, the environment — our common home. From September 1 to October 4, it invites Christians around the world to pray and care for this gift we live on and within even as it also lives literally within us. It is a time to reflect on our relationship with nature and our responsibility as stewards of the earth. It is a time to raise awareness and advocate for ecological justice and peace.
This period of time positively invites us to appreciate the diversity and beauty of creation and to recognize its intrinsic value and dignity. It tries to educate us about the environmental and social challenges that threaten our planet and our future, and to motivate us to take action. Whether we are East, West, North, South, Left, or Right, it tries to connect us with all people who share our vision and values and to strengthen our solidarity and collaboration.
However much the roots of our motives may vary, we can affirm and celebrate the fruits of our actions caring for our common home. Regardless of our faith, we can participate with, respond to, and remember the Season of Creation in many ways.
We can seek the healing of the earth and the wisdom and courage to be agents of change through prayer, meditation, reflection, and action. We can learn more about the ecological issues that affect our local and global communities, and ways we can contribute to the solutions. We can reduce our ecological impact by consuming less, reusing more, recycling wisely, and choosing renewable energy sources. We can support organizations and initiatives that promote environmental justice and sustainability.
We can simply talk about environmental issues like the climate crisis and the Sixth Extinction to build awareness of these problems and support for their solutions. We can also thank and encourage those officials, volunteers, and organizations who are already working for the good of our common home. We can move the levers of political will to nudge our society and our government to protect our environment and its climate.
While the Season of Creation drives me insane by the incongruities it reveals and the frustration that causes, it also drives me to “hopeful insanity.” It drives me to do things over and over again in the ultimate hope of different results. It drives me to do so loving more deeply, living more simply, and acting more faithfully. It drives me to do so not just in these days and this season, but every day in every season. May we be driven insane together towards a saner, cleaner, greener world.
Among other things, Kermit Hovey is a Climate Steward, Citizens’ Climate Lobbyist, Wisconsin Creation Care Ambassador, 350 Wisconsin Climate Advocate, and Middleton Sustainability Committee Member.
An earlier version of this post appeared in the Middleton Times Tribune.