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13th Annual Earth Conference - Nature is Speaking: Are You Listening?

Nature is speaking to us in the form of unprecedented climate change. As inhabitants of this planet we need to retune our perception to hear her message and find the strength to act accordingly.

In this conference we addressed how Nature is communicating major imbalances through environmental catastrophes, unprecedented weather, and other ecological disruptions. We examined the real human impact these disruptions cause including displacement of people, food and water shortage, poverty, and violence.

We then challenged ourselves to begin thinking deeper about our contribution to the current environmental challenges we face. How can we all better listen to the message that Nature is sending?

Once we are truly listening to Nature’s message we become aware of our path forward. By working together we find encouragement and hope in the myriad opportunities around us to take positive steps that will begin to shift the tides in a regenerative direction.


Conference Opening Reflection

"Good morning.  It is good to be together on this day to engage in dialogue within the circle of all creation which we call NATURE.  THis circle includes humankind.  We are not separate from nature.  Today we invite Mother Nature to share her wisdom with us and broaden our awareness of who we are as humans participating in the celebration of life.

'Our call reminds us that our true need is not only to take what we need for a great individual life, but also to give aliveness to the whole.'  (from Being Nature by Andreas Weber)

The poet, Mary Oliver, expresses similar thoughts in a poem she titles, Wild Geese

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Nature is constantly speaking to us.  Her voice reaches us from the oceans, the wind, the land, the sun, the growing plants, the insects, the animals, a flock of flying geese... all of creation.

Can we afford to turn a deaf ear, a busied mind, or a hardened heart to her wise concerns and advice for ALL CREATION?  Are we listening?"

(Then video was played with time after for silent reflection.)

This video, from Conservation International, was played again during the conference's closing reflection.


Conference Speakers: Tim Dewane and Cheryl Luetjen

How Nature Speaks to Us

Focusing on the physical ways Nature is speaking to us, Tim guided us through the signs Nature is sending. From temperatures and sea levels rising to droughts and earthquakes, we looked past the surface damage to the social justice implications of changing climate.

In his afternoon presentation, Tim demonstrated that there is hope and there are actions we can all take to help those suffering from consequences of climate change.  He shared with us the ways in which we can bring about systemic change on a local, state, and international level. When we are actively working to respond to Nature’s call, we feel empowered to make a difference.

Tim's bio:  You could say that Tim Dewane works with nuns out of habit...and has done so for the past 20 years. He is the Director of the Justice, Peace, & Integrity of Creation (Shalom) Office for the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Central Pacific Province where he works on a variety of social justice topics.
Tim received his undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science, as well as his graduate degree in Public Administration, from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. He lives with his wife Nancy, and together they have four grown children.

How Nature Speaks to Me

Cheryl shared her journey from despair for the state of our planet to viewing the world through a lens of love. With both insight and humor, Cheryl’s story resonated and reminded us all of our own ongoing journey to better listen to Nature’s message.

For her afternoon presentation, Cheryl explained how each of us can listen to Nature on a deeper level. She shared steps that we can take during our own day to listen to and learn from Nature as she speaks to us all.  Cheryl then lead us in a Love Earth Meditation, giving us the opportunity to Love Earth Now.

Cheryl's bio: Author of the book Love Earth Now: The Power of Doing One Thing Every Day, Cheryl Leutjen draws from her experience as a geologist, attorney, small business owner, spiritual practitioner, wife, and mother. This wealth of experience, along with degrees in Interdisciplinary Ecology, Environmental Geology, and Law, affords her a broad perspective to contemplate the dire environmental challenges of our time.
Cheryl lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles where she teaches, writes, and leads workshops on the intersection between spirituality and the environment.

Hope and Action Resource Page

Each conference participant received this list of local groups working to make a positive difference on climate change.

Community Movie Night

Narrated by Liam Neeson, Love Thy Nature points to how deeply we’ve lost touch with nature – and takes viewers on a cinematic journey through the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world.
Neeson is the voice of “Sapiens” (our collective humankind) who, in the past few hundred years, has come to believe that we have transcended nature. Yet, experts uncover how a new era of nature-connection may soon be dawning.
The winner of 27 awards, Love Thy Nature soothes our urban angst with the dazzling spectacles of our world, while showing that a renewed connection with nature is key to our personal health and the health of our planet.