Climate Collapse is a Spiritual Crisis Requiring a Spiritual Solution

The only world we will ever know and love is in danger. Many of us have lost connection with our spiritual roots and no longer remember what it feels like to wander through an old-growth forest or to stare in awe at a star-spangled sky. It is time for us to resacralize our connection with the Earth that nurtures and sustains us; time we acknowledge our sacred obligation to live in a much more awake and openhearted way.

Facts alone do not tell the story. Our hearts break as we witness blackened forests and lands drowned in floods. Our despair is deepened by a pandemic that keeps us isolated inside individual shelters, deprived of human touch. We’re anxious and scared, and don’t know what to do.

Indigenous wisdom reminds us that our connection with the earth is sacrosanct; that ours is a relationship built on obligation and responsibility, not individual rights. We are summoned to protect and safeguard our one precious planet and to the understanding that we belong to the Earth, not the other way around. We are called to reconnect with the spiritual roots of our own faith traditions and to remember what we’ve mostly forgotten: that this is heaven; that the here-and-now is the garden. We are reminded to appreciate and love this Edenic world we’ve been blessed with while it’s still here, and while we still can. These are sacred obligations we must not turn away from.

As eco-warrior and spiritual kung-fu master Terry Tempest Williams tells us (in her heart-rending elegy “A Burning Testament”), grief is love. She calls on us to bear witness to this moment of undoing and to “find the strength and spiritual will to meet the dark and smoldering landscapes where we live.” She exhorts us to cry our way back to healing: “Our tears will fall like rain in the desert and wash off our skins of ash so our pores can breathe, so our bodies can breathe back the lives that we have taken for granted.”

I invite all of us to find our own grief, enter into it, embrace it. Allow yourself to fully
comprehend the dark and smoldering landscapes we now inhabit. Allow yourself to cry your way toward healing. These are necessary steps as we resacralize our world.

salim matt gras

Coordinator for Faith and Climate Action Montana.