There is a conversation topic getting a much-needed dust-off in recent days thanks to both the inaugural speech by US President Obama and a recent blog post by Sierra Club Executive Director, Michael Brune; environmental activism. I've written about how I feel an undeniable stewardship of the planet because of my religious views, which include not only the environment as being sacred, but that as a matter of practicality and selfishness, this is the only environment we have and we need to do everything we can to keep it healthy enough to sustain us, which invariably means approaching our life choices as part of the system and not separate and superior to it.


In the post article, Brune takes the Sierra Club in an entirely new direction by advocating the use of civil disobedience as a form of environmental activism. As far as I know, this hasn't been directly supported in the past, although I believe that some Sierra Club money is or did get funneled to activist groups like EF! (Earth First), ELF (Earth Liberation Front), and the Wilderness Society, who took things a lot further than "civil disobedience", but helped further the Club's goals. Now, however, without all the controversy those other groups bring to the table, the Club itself is making the case that the fight for environmental justice is not only so important to demand this type of activism, but that the fight is slanted in favor of the giant corporate polluters of the world so much that it can't be won by other means alone. The Sierra Club received a lot of criticism in the past for its reluctance to directly call for civil disobedience, but the times, they are changing.

Many of the religions and spiritual paths within Paganism proudly wave the "Earth Religion" banner, but as far as I know, Reclaiming, is the only path that makes activism part of its core, and doesn't specifically limit it to environmental activism. Jason over at the Wild Hunt blog asks if we should follow the example set by the "safe moderate" environmental group, and should our leaders also say enough is enough? I don't advocate civil disobedience for environmental justice, as important as the issue is to me, I see a much more powerful opportunity for the Pagan community.

I think it's time for Pagans who profess to be part of an "Earth Religion" to act like it. There are a lot of us who wave that banner, but do very little as a way of showing it. There are enough earth-centered Pagans from many paths to make a real difference in environmental policy in the United States and around the world without resorting to civil disobedience. There has been a lot of talk recently about Pagan solidarity for all kinds of reasons, particularly equal rights. People questioning the ability for so many different paths to come together for a common cause keep bringing up the fact that we're so different. It's like an interfaith dilemma within the Pagan community.

Perhaps we can find solidarity as earth-centered Pagans? Even those Pagans who don't have a specifically earth-centered path, can surely agree that the benefits of a clean environment and future investment in sustainability are not just self-evident, but also in all our self interests. Think of it as solidarity through selfishness. We all get to be selfish and want clean water and air, healthy soil, and renewable energy for ourselves, and our blood and religious descendants. The greatest impact that we, as Pagans, can have in the cause of environmental justice, is to be active in "Eco-Paganism". Making better choices in the products your buy for ritual and magickal use, raising awareness of environmental justice within your own groups, striving to be the best example of someone who not only professes to be a member of an "Earth Religion", but the best example of someone who actually lives as a member of one.

The time for civil disobedience is not at hand. The time for active Eco-Paganism is. Grand sweeping changes by the masses starts with you and I setting a better example for others and our descendants.