April 10, 2024

With Severe Weather, Recent Earthquake, Mother Earth is Trying to Wake Everyone Up

To the Editor:

Many thanks to Town Topics for highlighting The Watershed Institute and the organization’s dedication to preserving the environment [“Watershed Institute Celebrates a Milestone,” April 3, page 1]. The Princeton community is especially fortunate for “the shed” and many other environmental organizations in our area. Their presence, expertise, and support enables many of us to entrust the care of our environment to them.

Last Tuesday evening, Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Gathering Moss and Braiding Sweetgrass, reminded us of how we continuously keep taking from the earth rather than living in reciprocity. The week before, Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS) and High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) presented the second of three parts of their film and dialogue series, a paradox of the clean energy transition, which was grossly evident of “taking” in the name of sustainability that Kimmerer mentioned.

Mother Earth is (and has been) attempting to wake everyone up! In these weeks we have experienced severe weather and even an earthquake and unnerving aftershocks. These poignant messages are for all of us to become more conscious about our relationship with our environment and the ripple effects our actions and behaviors may have. Although we too can support these beneficial environmental organizations, certainly we cannot solely rely on them to do all the caregiving or handle the burden of “fixing” the situation we are in.

The ultimate truth is that we are not separate from nature but a delicate web of interdependence. With Jim Waltman’s mention of “…connection between people and nature, and the need to keep inspiring and fostering those connections” and Kimmerer’s statement about “our responsibility versus our ‘right’ to nature” — healing our minds to restore the earth seems to be the cooperative solution.

So, as we highlight Turtle Island, our home, this spring and specifically during Earth Day, let us be reminded that it is every day that we have a responsibility, which is imperative for the health and well-being of us, the people in our community and beyond, and not to forget Mother Earth, the sustainer of us all.

And with the possibility of witnessing the eclipse, may we continue to sense the awe and wonder of the vast interconnected universe we are integral part of!

Tammy L. Sands
Winant Road

The writer is the former chair of the Princeton Environmental Commission and is on the board of trustees of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions.