earth day: caring for the earth

Humanity is one family, living in one common homeland, the planet Earth. The Earth does not belong to any one person, nor to one particular group of people. It is part of God’s creation, and we must all care for it together, as part of our sacred duty to honour what belongs to God.

Prayers/readings for study

“It is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved of God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature.” – ‘Abdu’l-Baha

Activities

Story

  • Moving Stones, adapted from a traditional Jewish story.
  • Possible questions to spark discussion:
    • Why did the man believe it was a good idea to move the stones from his private land onto public land? Why did he change his mind?
    • When we “throw away” something that we don’t want in our space, where does it go? Do we know who lives there (people, animals, plants), and how it affects them, or do we forget about it because it is no longer in our space?
    • What happens if we burn only part of a plant? Poison only part of a lake? Does the other part remain unaffected?
    • What happens if we water one side of a plant? Clean part of a lake? Can these actions also make a difference?
    • What happens if we make our own surroundings a little cleaner, a little more healthful?
    • How does the way we treat the environment relate to the quality of justice? Detachment? Gratitude?

Songs

  • Thanks a Lot (lyrics) – this is also a nice, meditative song you can play while coloring or making art
  • Songs/prayers that use nature imagery:
    • Tiny Seed
    • We Are Drops. From Ruhi Book 3.
    • Be Like the Earth. From Ruhi Book 3.
    • God’s Creatures. From Ruhi Book 3.
  • Songs about justice:
    • Tread Ye the Path of Justice. From Ruhi Book 3.
    • Justice is the Way. From Ruhi Book 3.
  • Earth Day songs from a variety of sources

Drawings

Craft

Games & drama

  • “Doing our part”. The group must carry a ball (a globe decorated beach ball is great, but any medium to large ball or even a balloon will do in a pinch) safely from one side of the room to the other, but each person can only use one index finger. What happens when we all make a concerted effort to care for the earth? What happens as people decide not to participate?
  • Pairs can act out the story of “Moving Stones” after practicing the pantomime activity of lifting light and very heavy stones alone and in groups.

Service

  • Plant a pollinator garden.
  • Clean up litter in a local park, or in the neighbourhood surrounding the class venue.
  • Making crafts with recycled materials (see above) can also function as a service.
  • Call your local park or forestry service for ideas! Older children can help remove invasive species, count nests, and help with trail maintenance.

Reference

Conservation of the Earth’s Resources – compilation.

“Look not upon the creatures of God except with the eye of kindliness and of mercy, for Our loving providence hath pervaded all created things, and Our grace encompassed the earth and the heavens.”

“NATURE IN ITS essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise.” Bahá’í Writings

“Briefly, it is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved of God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature. For in all physical respects, and where the animal spirit is concerned, the selfsame feelings are shared by animal and man. Man hath not grasped this truth, however, and he believeth that physical sensations are confined to human beings, wherefore is he unjust to the animals, and cruel.”