Cobourg’s Earth Day – 2022

Earth Day was April 22 but Cobourg celebrated it at its Ecology Garden on April 23.  A ceremony attended by around 80 people brought together a diverse group of people who felt a spiritual connection to the Earth.  First to make a statement were indigenous people but also represented were Christians, a Jewish representative and an interfaith group covering probably all religions. I did not hear the word “God” mentioned but instead “creator” – no one seemed offended.  Young children (from the S.O.N.G. group) participated with a couple of songs and Council was represented by Mayor John Henderson and Councillor Adam Bureau.  After the initial “song”, the indigenous representative (Susan Siwick) allowed all present to participate in a ritual smudging ceremony so that they could be cleansed of all their negativity.

Preparing for Smudging
Susan Siwick preparing for Smudging

Obviously all participants expressed a connection with the Earth and a spiritual oneness with nature.

The featured speaker was Rev. Michelle Singh from the “Faith and Common Good” organization.  This is a “national, interfaith charitable network dedicated to assisting and inspiring religious congregations and spiritual groups of all backgrounds to take collective action in creating more sustainable communities.” Their “Green Rule” is “Do unto the Earth as you would have it do unto you”.

Overall, the ceremony integrated environmentalism, spiritualism and religion – the good news is that irrespective of religious dogmas, everyone agreed that we need to look after our planet.

The event was held in the Ecology garden with the weather uncooperative (it was raining) and although it was a fitting venue, I did not hear the garden mentioned.

Below is a short video of highlights of the event then below that some photos.  Next are some relevant links.

Links

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Rob
25 April 2022 2:25 pm

Given that Earth Day isn’t a religious event, I see no reason to reference God or any God whatsoever. Further, not referencing God should not be offensive so it is good to hear that no had their feelings hurt – that being said we all know how delicate some are these days. I see no reference to Atheist’s being present….I hope they weren’t offended by the lack of representation (haha).

JimT
Reply to  Rob
25 April 2022 9:34 pm

I’d bet there were non-believers present, just that they (we) don’t try to impose their non-beliefs into every situation at every opportunity.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  JimT
27 April 2022 11:12 am

Ahewson asserted, “Your original spiel was ignorant of those who do not believe in any form of God. You’re here agruing(sic) that someone who doesn’t believe in Gods isn’t as earthly and that your God based approach is better.

You couldn’t be more wrong. I am an avowed atheist, have been for many many years, and well known by those who used Mr Draper’s atheist blog a few years back. You really know how to put false words in other peoples mouths and then scold them for it.

Jim T: I am a non-believer and I was there, as I was, even when I was Chair of the Ecology Garden. I worked with religious leaders, Sister Linda, others concerning last year’s 25th anniversary of the Garden, to organize a poetry reading contest for the event. References to any God was not required nor requested. In previous years I brought in Indigenous people to celebrate with poetry, song, that referenced a “greater power” or “creator”. Metaphors.

Those who believe only in the scientific approach to life are those who are all too often bankrupt in enriching culture. Those deity believers built Notre Dame, and many other beautiful structures of any/all religions where people could gather and worship, and sing songs, etc. The scientific approach inspires what? Gigafactory or the Hadron Collider, marvellous as they are, do not inspire great works of art, architecture, songs. The scientific approach, as valuable as it is for human progress, is anti-imagination. The scientific approach produces bland prose, not poetry.

So I am an atheist who appreciates those who do believe. Ahewson is anti-diversity. Only the one and only “scientific approach” is to be expressed. PRZT! to that

Pete M
Reply to  Wally Keeler
27 April 2022 6:34 pm
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Pete M
27 April 2022 9:53 pm

Very moving article. I wish I could reply with another article I read many years ago. The first half of the article described the big bang in extraordinary detail, and in so doing provided a deep sense of awe, mystery that I found among believers. I didn’t turn away from my faith of atheism, and it is a faith — because I have no facts to support my disbelief in a deity. However I love churches, synagogues, cathedrals, mosques. In Toronto I enjoyed various funerals and weddings of various cultures and their faith adds a lot of depth and meaning to their ceremonies. These ceremonies and songs are poetry of the soul. People are free to express their love of earth in any manner that they chose, including their religious sentiments. It does not build community when believers are excluded by the arrogance of the scientific method.

Wally Keeler
24 April 2022 9:53 am

I was chair of the Cobourg Ecology Garden for four years and in the subsequent years I attended most Earth Day events. Not once have I ever heard anyone assert that one cannot say the word God. Just because Jehovah, Allah, and Manitou were not mentioned doesn’t mean those references cannot be named. Creator is appropoetic insofar as it does not favour one theology over another. The Gods created diversity not mono-monotony. The Gods of assorted theologies are attributed with creativity. What the Gods created we should celebrate and honour. Earth Day does that. It is one day in a year when some humans gather to applaud the bestowed gifts of life, water, sun, air, etc. For all that creativity, lets give the Gods a hand.

The Gods also have a keen sense of irony: The Ivy League-educated, homicidal maniac who founded Earth Day (washingtonexaminer.com)

Ahewson
Reply to  Wally Keeler
24 April 2022 11:10 am

You’re talking in absolutes that there are “Gods” just the same as someone who believes in “a God”. Truthfully no one has an answer for how the Earth came to be. There is a beautifully simplistic answer to all of this. It’s Earth Day. A day to celebrate the Earth. We all believe there is an Earth, we’re on it. Let’s celebrate it. The end.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ahewson
24 April 2022 12:04 pm

Ahewson
You are abysmally ignorant of metaphor and its application. Your absolutist assertion is a meritless strawman. God is the greatest metaphor in language. We certainly know that earth was not created by humans. The words regarding the gods is a wide diversity of metaphors which many humans use to comprehend our world and communicate to each other.

Ahewson
Reply to  Wally Keeler
24 April 2022 2:19 pm

A more scientific approach to how Earth was created eliminates most God or God like metaphors from the discussion. But as I said, theories or God(s), no one actually knows. What we do know for certain is that we have is an Earth. Leave it at that and celebrate it.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ahewson
24 April 2022 4:41 pm

There is lots of merit in a ‘scientific approach’ but it is passionless and dry as data and as uninspiring. There is no such thing as ‘God like metaphors’. There is a poetic approach that you are unable to comprehend, and it leads to rituals, dance, music, prayers, invocations, cultural manifestations that lift the ‘spirit’ of human beings. The scientific approach, with all its merit as a data stream is cold. Science rejects the imaginary. Poetry embraces the imaginary and offers a language of communality, bonding humans in congregations to celebrate births, weddings and deaths. The scientific approach exclusively does not culturally bond humans to the big 3 (birth, marriage, death.

Ahewson
Reply to  Wally Keeler
24 April 2022 6:00 pm

I’m not debating the merits of science vs religion or God. I’m simply of the belief that the day in question (Earth Day) does not need either of them mentioned to be celebrated. It does not matter. Your original spiel was ignorant of those who do not believe in any form of God. You’re here agruing that someone who doesn’t believe in Gods isn’t as earthly and that your God based approach is better. No approach is better. It can be whatever you want it to be. And, as I keep mentioning, the day is Earth Day. It is a day to celebrate the Earth. It is not who what and why is there an Earth Day. Its not God vs Science Day.

JimT
Reply to  Ahewson
25 April 2022 11:13 am

OK, while we’re at it, why not debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
Eh?

Margaret Kropf
24 April 2022 8:29 am

Pretty sad when one cannot say the word God.I suppose that is seen as sexist. Well, I am 76 and it is and always will be GOD to me!!!!!!

abby
Reply to  Margaret Kropf
24 April 2022 9:22 am

We don’t need a ‘new earth’. We just need to take better care of the one we have. That’s what Earth Day is about.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Margaret Kropf
24 April 2022 9:59 am

No one has claimed that the earth is god. No one is worshipping the earth, however, there are people who respect and celebrate the earth that God created. Earth Day does that.

Ahewson
Reply to  Margaret Kropf
24 April 2022 10:06 am

Pete, you just had Easter to worship your imaginary man in the sky. What do you need to monopolize Earth Day for? And, hypothetical, I think the imaginary dude would be OK with us celebrating his creation anyways.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ahewson
24 April 2022 12:14 pm

Ahewson
Pete, you just had Easter to worship your imaginary man in the sky.”

Where do you get the idea that Pete was referring to an “imaginary man in the sky”. Of course your sexist perception refers to a man and a dude. Why bring up that mediocre dime-a-dozen assertion from your own meagre imagination. You are too literalist for your own good.

Ahewson
Reply to  Wally Keeler
24 April 2022 2:07 pm

Pete was citing verses from the Bible. As we know, the Bible refers to God as the ‘Holy Father’ and that he created all things in His image. That’s why.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ahewson
24 April 2022 4:25 pm

Ahewson
Blame it on someone else of course — a Biden policy.

Ahewson
Reply to  Wally Keeler
24 April 2022 5:20 pm

You’re just fighting to fight now. I was responding to Pete, Pete’s God is male.

I personally do not care what gender any hypothetical “God” is. Could be a pink horned female Unicorn for all I care.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ahewson
24 April 2022 9:43 pm

No where did Pete make any reference to a male God. Go read it again and comprehend with the brain that the ‘Creator’ gave you. You don’t get to make things up and try to sell it to me.

marya
Reply to  Wally Keeler
25 April 2022 8:01 am

Whew! This diatribe is in need of a smudging ceremony!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Margaret Kropf
24 April 2022 10:07 am

Earth is a creation of the Gods and it was gifted to humans. Earth Day celebrates, respects and honours the God’s creation.

Your assertion exchanges that truth with the human lie about Earth Day.

marya
Reply to  Margaret Kropf
24 April 2022 11:43 am

“God” is synonymous with “Creator” (and several other titles).

Source: Oxford Languages

JimT
Reply to  Margaret Kropf
25 April 2022 9:57 pm

The problem is that environmentalism is science, and when you try to conflate spiritualism and religion into the concept you lose any chance of rational discipline in the process.

I’m 78¾ and I outgrew such concepts as God and Santa Claus long ago.

marya
24 April 2022 8:08 am

That is truly a wonderful annual experience in The Ecology Garden. I’m sorry that I missed this year’s event. The smudging ritual is my favourite. Thanks ever so much for highlighting the day and contributing the photos and the video!