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It’s Good to Be Green

Wendell Berry said, “The earth is what we all have in common.” Becoming aware of this commonality is one of the first steps toward raising one’s consciousness and learning to live in harmony with nature, to support environmental sustainability, to be “green.” For some, it can occur in connection with travels into nature, as Teddy Roosevelt found. As governor and president, Teddy Roosevelt took bold steps to protect vast areas of land from exploitation and destruction. It can occur when one reads an important book like Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, which spurred investigation into the effects of pesticides on people and animals and led to new laws.  The writings of Henry David Thoreau continue to inspire environmentalists today, particularly his elevation of the need to preserve wilderness areas: “In Wildness is the preservation of the World.” 

Recently PARA members were asked to describe the moment when they recognized the importance of protecting the environment, and felt the call to become involved in the movement to be “green”. 


In college, I joined a group called International House. IH had been founded by Daniel Berrigan, S.J. with a mission of social action, starting out in the 60’s by working in Mexico and later, in the 70’s by focusing efforts in Syracuse. One of the centering principles was community—a group that gathered weekly for Mass and throughout the year for meals with invited faculty, retreats, and of course parties. Here is where I first became aware of the concept of “consciousness raising,” being aware, noticing, not only the environment, but also social justice issues, and the vital importance of community. 

After graduation, heading to law school, and then starting my work life, the lessons of consciousness raising stayed with me. Once you see, you can’t unsee; once you notice, you can’t ignore. But you can become busy—work and family obligations, social events and vacations, filled up my life. Then, in 2012, I was introduced to the work of the Pachamama Alliance, and became part of PARA. I was reminded of the International House community and how my consciousness, once raised, stayed raised. Now I know I must continue the work and spread the word about protecting the environment, supporting social justice, finding spiritual fulfillment, and connecting with others. I am incredibly inspired and enriched not only by gathering in community with PARA but also by seeing the work everyone is doing locally and around the world. And I have hope. 

~ Patricia


Waking up to the pain and possibility of these times hasn't felt linear to me. Some moments come to mind, but I notice they become "waking up moments" in my remembering and integrating them. I'm not sure they actually felt that way when they happened. As a child I felt horrified by my parents’ killing snakes at our family cottage for no reason other than that they were disturbed by them. I also have a treasured childhood memory of waking in the night while winter camping and dissolving into the silver stars and snow. Both feel deeply relevant to the way I'm trying to live today. 

More recently, I'm experiencing staying awake as a practice. I need habits for it and other people's help with it. Meditation, being with my little one outside, re-educating and un-educating myself, growing and eating food from my bioregion, observing religious traditions, and making spiritual friends have all helped me. 

~ Emma


Deep time and cosmic consciousness give me hope, as does the idea that I don't need to be attached to outcome to be in right relationship with myself, others, and the more-than-human world.

You might say my consciousness was awakened when Donald Trump was elected.  I felt like I had been thrust into an unfamiliar, frightening world. How had our society come to this?  It so "happened" that Pachamama Alliance Rochester Area met the evening after the election.  I attended (for the first time), and together, after some tears, we began planning an Inaugurating Hope event for the community on Trump's inauguration day.  Trump's election opened up in me a clear calling to devote my time and energy to cultural evolution.  I retired from parish ministry as soon as I could to widen my parish to include our ailing culture. Pachamama Alliance and our Seeds of Hope initiative have given me the perfect arena and community to pursue this calling. 

~ Dave


Before May 2012 I was a very caring person, committed to serving others around me. But one day I attended an event that was transforming for me – the Pachamama Alliance Awakening the Dreamer symposium.

Somehow, in 5 hours, my worldview changed, and I saw my circle of care expand to include people and creatures all over the globe who are suffering. (beyond my small circle of family and friends)

The impact of that experience was profound and empowered me to see that my presence in the world really matters. That I have much to contribute just by using my talents and caring presence to help create a world that is environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling.

I also was invited into a community of people all over the world to take action, starting with convening people in our Rochester area to join this work for the good of all life.

What gives me hope now is being part of a community of people (locally and all over the world) with many different interests and gifts but sharing a passion to be a Light in the world in our unique ways.  Only together can we move forward with a Love and vision that transcends the crises we face.

~ Sue


And so you have it—the essence of being green, is being and working in community to bring forth an environmentally sustainable, socially just, spiritually fulfilling presence on the Earth.




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