The earth as a place of beauty and inspiration, Julie Peller Ph.D

Welcome to Green Junction

Humans are part of the natural web of life. However, in many ways, we have disconnected from the natural world. When we view nature as just a source of materials for human satisfaction, we sever our relationship with the rest of creation. We are unable to see the damage inflicted on the earth by our materialistic lifestyles.  To gain a greater appreciation of the gifts of Creation, we need to improve our relationship with Mother Earth.  Another outcome of a more intimate bond with nature is a closer spiritual relationship with God, the Creator.  This week’s suggestion for the Lenten journey is to make time for experiences in nature.

Spending more time to appreciate the gifts of Creation can take many forms.  It can be as simple as gazing at the stars on a clear night in a peaceful setting or planting seeds in a pot of soil.  Here are several other suggestions for activities that will enable a stronger spiritual connection to Mother Earth:

  • Take a walk and collect leaves or twigs and look at the intricate details of these simple parts of nature.
  • Plant a tree (or 2 or 3!), provide it with natural nourishment, such as compost and water, and monitor its growth.
  • Seek out a trail or other natural environment for a nature walk. Look for something new in the plants, insects, or animals you encounter.
  • Sit in the grass or on a blanket in the grass and take in the smells, sounds, and feel of the ground.
  • Visit a botanical garden or other natural area and learn more about local nature.
  • Collect rocks; watch the sunrise or set each day.

Fritjof Capra wrote in his book ‘A Systems View of Life’ that “The world is not made up of separate parts, all these parts are connected. If you touch a piece of fruit, it is connected to the rest of the world. It connects to the tree, which connects to the soil with its roots, to the air with its leaves, to the sun to make its photosynthesis work, etc. We breathe the oxygen that is produced by the trees, who in return eat carbon dioxide to produce cellulose for their stems.”

God designed the earth as a place of beauty and inspiration.  Do you take the time to appreciate nature’s splendor and preserve it for future generations?

Julie Peller Ph.D. is an environmental chemist (Professor of Chemistry at Valparaiso University ) and she leads the Environmental Ministry at Nativity of Our Savior in Portage IN. Julie has been writing a weekly column for church bulletins for the past ~5 years called the Green Junction and is helping to move the call of Laudato Si to action forward. Her Research Interests are in Advanced oxidation for aqueous solutions, water quality analyses, emerging contaminants, air quality analyses, Lake Michigan shoreline challenges (Cladophora, water, and sediment contaminants), student and citizen participation in environmental work.

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