When we think about stewardship of the Earth, about what it means to be care-takers and gardeners, we often times ignore importance of our voice in this work. Gardening is physical. It uses our bodies.
Today, our voice is extremely important in our work as care-takers and guardians of the Earth and its Waters.
Tony Stark is the CEO of Stark Industries which used to sell weapons. Iron man 1 and 2 were Tony’s journey from being the leading weapon manufacturer to being the leading voice in clean energy. In Iron Man 1, Tony gets kidnapped and almost dies. His life is saved by what is called an Arc Reactor, which as Tony researches it more he realizes is a clean source of energy.
Avengers begins with Tony Stark using arc reactors to light up Stark Tower, a huge building in the middle of NYC with his name on it. The Arc reactor is a self-sustaining energy source.
Meanwhile, SHIELD has the Tesseract, an Infinity stone, that holds unlimited energy, in their possession. Because SHIELD is using the Tesseract without understanding it, Loki (Thor’s adopted brother) is able to open a portal and come to Earth to conquer it.
SHIELD has called in the Avengers: Tony Stark, Captain America, and Bruce Banner to find the Terreract and stop Loki. They are all on the flying aircraft carrier…
Conversation between Stark, Banner and Captain America:
Captain America: You need to focus on the problem, Stark
Stark: You think I’m not. Why did Fury (SHIELD’s leader) call us in? Why now? Why not before? What isn’t he telling us? I can’t do the equation unless I have all the variables.
Captain America: You think Fury is hiding something?
Stark: He is a spy. He is THE spy. His secrets have secrets. (pointing at Banner) It is bugging him too, isn’t it?
Banner: Ahhhh… (dodging the question) I just want to finish my work here…
Captain America (interupting): Doctor
Banner (looking at Stark): “A warm light for all mankind” — Loki’s jab at Fury about the Cube (Tesseract)
Captain America: I hear it.
Banner: Well, I think that was meant for you (pointing at Stark). Even if Barton (SHIELD agent kidnapped by Loki) about the tower, it was still all over the news.
Captain America: The Stark Tower? That big ugly building in NY?
Banner: It is powered by an Arc Reactor, a self-sustaining energy source. That building will run itself for what, about a year? (asking Stark)
Stark: That is just the prototype. I am kind of the only name in clean energy right now.
Banner: So why didn’t SHIELD bring him (Stark) in on the Tesseract project? What are they doing in the energy business in the first place?
After the conversation
As the movie progresses we learn that SHIELD has been using the Tesseract to create weapons, not clean energy. Because they have been creating high-tech weapons they have come to the attention of war-oriented aliens. SHIELD has inadvertently signaled to the cosmos that Earth is ready for a higher form or war (according to Thor). Thus Loki’s arrival.
Our Current Political Climate:
This is a dynamic that we are aware of in our current climate. We currently have a President who is more interested in the ‘might’ of America through displays of weapons, power, aggression; than in the ‘might’ of America through invention, innovation, intellect. Our national government has focused on weapons and destruction instead of clean energy and healthy innovation.
Our current administration has taken this a step further. President Trump has been backing away from supporting clean energy, placing tariffs on solar panels imported into our country. At the same time, he is working to remove protections of our lands and oceans, opening them up for drilling oil.
Why is our government taking away priority for creating clean energy? How would going back to oil be a positive move for us? Why protect the oil corporations or their own political careers over our Land and Waters, and the rights of Indigenous Peoples?
We currently have a government, Executive branch as well as Congressional branch, that is more interested in their personal financial investments than in the health of the Earth. Certain Congressman, Senators, and the President are creating laws to remove protections so that oil companies (where they are invested, who are funding their campaigns for office) can expand their profits. Greed is more important than caring for the planet we live on, the planet that will need to sustain future generations.
Spirit, however, calls us to be stewards of this Earth. God desires that we are care-takers and custodians, not polluters and destroyers. We are to focus upon what Mother Earth needs not our own personal gains. It is about humility not domination and greed.
Standing Rock: An Example of Transformational Stewardship
Standing Rock challenged and transformed me. I watched and witnessed on social media the injustices that were being done against our Indigenous brothers and sisters who were standing on the side of Mother Earth and clean water.
In the act of prayer, they came together in protest of a pipeline that was re-directed over their land instead of going close by a more populated area. Racism created the situation. The populated area, mostly white, did not want an oil pipeline that could leak and contaminate their land and waters. So the company redirected it across the water source for our Sioux brothers and sisters.
Here a people were calling out the injustices of racism, as well as the ecological injustice. And our government was silent. President Obama allowed brutality to be the response to peaceful protests. I wept as I watched and read and kept myself informed. To me, Standing Rock was a transformational example of true authentic stewardship, with all the costs that sometimes accompany it.
This is the call to stewardship.
Our Standing Rock brothers and sisters stood a true stewards against the powers of domination, racism, and violence. They stood in prayer and song and Power. Their faith and spiritual practice informed their understanding of stewardship, and they took their stand! They held their vision, stayed true to the call of Spirit to be guardians and caretakers of our Earth and Waters.
Spirit invites us to reflect upon our own apathy toward to eco-justice and stewardship. I’m not suggesting we should all be out protesting like Standing Rock. I am suggesting that Spirit is inviting us to step up, to engage the policies that are harming Mother Earth. Stewardship requires that we use our voice as much as our bodies and minds.
How are you using your vote, your voice, to speak for eco-justice?
Reflect upon one thing you can do this week to create change and protect Mother Earth.
Go for a walk and carry a small trash bag. Fill it with trash and debris that you come across on your walk. Notice how this small action enhances the beauty of your walk, of the Land, of Spirit’s reflection on Earth.
The ocean and the land are yours, O God. Too often we have treated them as a means to an end or an unlimited resource, without realizing the delicate balances of nature. As we pave over farmland and pour oil into the ocean, forgive our over-reaching ways.