April events to help keep your promise to the Earth

April is National Poetry Month. April is also the month that Earth Day is celebrated.

I’ve thought a great deal about the Earth lately, and suspect you have, too. For years, I have promised to get more involved in environmental issues. I made a few meager attempts, such as adopting a manatee named Phyllis or writing a few environmental tirade poems. But this year, in the wake of An Inconvenient Truth, I realized I had to keep that promise—I had to really care!

Once I started looking around Rockford, I found a huge groundswell was already happening. Many people knew far more about ecology and the environment than I could ever hope to know. It has been humbling these past few months to find so many organizations were already addressing many issues, among them global warming. I won’t name the organizations I know about, because I know there are many I don’t know about. No exclusions.

This issue of Literary Hook and the next issue will feature Earth Awareness Week. Many individuals and groups will be providing a wealth of information you won’t want to miss.

With the inspiration and guidance available for the Rock River Valley during Earth Awareness Week, no doubt there will be something for you. Four public events begin Saturday, April 14, and culminate Sunday, April 22. Here are the first two.

7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 14—“Walking Vigil for our Earth’s Climate” in observance of National Day for Climate Change. We will gather with votive lights at 7:30 p.m., at the fountain on Water Street, just north of State Street on the Rock River. We will walk down and across the Jefferson Street bridge walkway, cross the State Street bridge, and return to the fountain for some words and a song for the Earth. We’ll let our voices be heard and our candles glisten, with our commitment strong and shared.

Part of this vigil on climate change joins in the movement to “Step it up, Congress; Cut Carbon 80 percent by 2050.” Bring signs if you wish. This event is sponsored by the Four Winds Center for Spiritual Ecology and will be one of 1,144 gatherings taking place in the United States. For more information or to get involved, call the Rev. Jim Roberts at (815) 963-4815.

6 p.m., Sunday, April 15—Green Community Coalition meeting at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 920 Third Ave., Rockford. This grassroots group of concerned citizens is dedicated to preserving and improving the environment through positive action. We seek to build a cooperation coalition with partners in our community: churches, schools, community organizations, businesses, charitable organizations and individuals are invited. (In other words, EVERYONE is invited.) One major goal of the coalition is to facilitate in making Rockford one of the “Cool Cities,” as mentioned in An Inconvenient Truth. We are seeking partners to lend their name and support for the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Act. To learn more and to get involved, please attend the meeting. A light potluck takes place at 6 p.m., and the meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Please call (815) 964-4815 for more details.

A couple haiku that celebrate the Earth:

Watching the sunset

From the old, worn, white hammock—

Flight of the nighthawks…

Beneath the pine trees,

Thousands of scented needles—

The horse’s rustling…

If, like me, you want to keep your promise to the Earth, consider some of these events.

See you there!

from the April 11-17, 2007, issue

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