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Eco-Justice Team News

Here are a few more thoughts on lawn care as we swelter through this hot summer. Last month, we mentioned fertilizers that can be toxic to more than just the weeds they presumably target. In hot weather they can actually damage the grass itself. Grass is meant to go dormant in hot weather; that’s just what it does. Applying fertilizer to green up a lawn that simply shouldn’t be green will produce very shallow roots, leaving your lawn weak and vulnerable to many more problems. There are organic and sustainable lawn care companies available, as an internet search will show. It is possible to have a lawn that is, as the old poster said in a very different context, “healthy for children and other living things.” As we are faced with serious crises that we as a people ignore at our peril, it seems a good time to consider the spiritual, as well as practical, reasons we do what we do. Rabbi Nate DeGroot recently took part in the Chautauqua Interfaith Lecture Series, and spoke movingly on some thoughts from the Hebrew Bible. He explained that there was no Hebrew word for “nature” for 2000 years. “Our God,” he said, “ the Breath of Life, is infinite oneness.” Because there is no nature without the life-giving spirit (breath) of God, there was no need for one. Because everything that lives, he continued, receives that life from God’s breath, “Every toxic fume that gets puffed into the air is filling God’s lungs with Smoke. Every waste plant pumping harmful refuse into flowing streams pours into God’s cup. Every leaky oil line buried deep within our planet’s water and soil poisons the veins that course through the body of the Infinite One.” He called for a “Tikkun,” a healing. Since “Adam,” mankind, came out of “Adamah,” the earth, we need both a Tikkun Adam and a Tikkun Adamah, a healing of the self, or soul, and a healing of the soil. As we face very serious issues ahead, we draw sustenance for our faith and the encouragement of this congregation. With God’s help, may we be up to the challenge!

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