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Order of the Sacred Earth: On Environ­mentalism & Community


We live in a time of greater environmental devastation than ever before. Unprecedented wildfires, floods, earthquakes, and storms are occurring across the globe. Polar icecaps are melting. Sea levels are rising and temperatures are climbing. An increased number of species are facing extinction. Economies and governments are tottering. And, since Donald Trump’s inauguration, America’s environmental protection system has been under assault by an administration whose mission is to roll back efforts to fight climate change and ensure the dismantling of existing environmental health policy.

This escalating daily siege on the environment is so overwhelming it leaves many people feeling helpless, wondering, “How can I possibly make a difference?”

What the Earth needs is a pro-environment, sacred community that welcomes and connects all people, regardless of their race, gender, class, ability, nation, religion, or belief system. The Order of the Sacred Earth, founded by Episcopal priest Matthew Fox and environmental and spiritual activists Skylar Wilson and Jennifer Berit Listug, enables us to join together to protect Mother Earth through a community that’s bigger than our combative politics.

The Order of the Sacred Earth, founded by Episcopal priest Matthew Fox and environmental and spiritual activists Skylar Wilson and Jennifer Berit Listug, enables us to join together to protect Mother Earth through a community that’s bigger than our combative politics.

All we have to do is make—and live up to—a simple vow: “I promise to be the best lover and defender of Mother Earth that I can be.” In December 2017, 80 people took that vow, joining the Order of the Sacred Earth at a ceremony in Northern California. Since then, says Fox, the Order has grown to “more than 350 members from many traditions, including Jewish, Christian, indigenous, Buddhist, and at least one atheist.” Local pods of the Order have formed in Orange County, San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Osos, California; Ft. Myers and St. Petersburg, Florida; Ashland, Oregon; Boulder, Colorado; Asheville, North Carolina; and Des Plaines, Illinois.

The Order’s co-founders are scheduled to speak at college campuses and bookstores across the country and will hold their second annual meeting in Northern California to coincide with the Winter Solstice on December 21.

With the publication of Order of the Sacred Earth (Monkfish Book Publishing Company, $16.95), co-authors Fox, Wilson, and Listug are offering a new vision of both environmentalism and community, asking: After religion, what? How can we build a conscious community that gives us a sense of our common sacredness and purpose? These questions are explored in this book by leaders in both the environmental and spiritual fields. Essay contributors include Adam Bucko, Mirabai Starr, Brian Thomas Swimme, and David Korten.

For more information on the Order of the Sacred Earth, visit OrderoftheSacredEarth.org.