Covenant-making on Earth Day

A sample pledge statement to encourage concrete practices to sustain the earth

My Earth Day commitment
For renewing my intent to care for the earth

My name: ___________________________________________________________________________


Here is what I promise for the coming year: ________________________________________________________


1. The British theologian Collin Morris wrote, “The best that most of us can do is to take hold of the near edge of some great problem and act at cost to ourselves.” Making one or more specific commitments—to things that require concerted effort and at least a bit of inconvenience—is how we grow into the people we want to be.

2. Your commitment may involve renewing and expanding habits you already practice or resolving to start something new. It might be large and ambitious; but it will more likely be something modest and incremental. Being concrete and persistent are the most important things. And it will always involve some cost—money or time or attention (frequently all three).

3. Think of the now-familiar trilogy of recommendations: reduce, reuse, recycle. Then add a fourth observation: refusebreak habits of mindless consumption. And add to these watchwords a fifth word: rejoicefostering a vision of Creation's blessedness granted at the beginning: "God saw everything that was made, and indeed, it was delightful" (Genesis 1:31: the English words "very good" fail to convey the outright glee of the Hebrew text).

4. Work at changing personal habits should always be paired, in some part, with work changing public policies. If everyone in the world started, miraculously, a serious commitment to recycling, that would not be enough to stave off ecological catastrophe. Whether local, regional, national or international, find some way to join in collective effort with others in changing the policies which permit environmental destruction.

5. Making promises helps align our intentions with our behavior. They also serve as reminders that, when we fail, grace to start again is available. We all act ourselves into new ways of thinking more than we think ourselves into new ways of acting. Remember that these choices are spiritual practices: what we most need to learn comes as a result of the commitments we pursue.

6. The web has many sites with specific ideas to consider. Do a search for “earth care ideas” or similar wording.

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©Ken Sehested @