Q Too many of us spend too much time indoors, in front of screens, away from nature. Yet, there’s a consistent sense of wonder about nature in your writing. Can you suggest ways to nurture a stronger sense of Creation care?
A I am sure that the children of my generation benefited from their free roaming — without adult supervision — in the woods and fields. I am sure that we learned a great deal about the natural and practical life of work by playing, and then later working, in the company of other adults at work.
Now, I seldom see children or young people outdoors. This seems attributable largely to screen addiction. But also, work itself has changed since the time of my childhood. It has become too mechanical, too toxic and too hurried to be congenial.
Q You write, “Find your hope . . . on the ground under your feet,” reflecting the idea of acting locally. However, in the face of vast environmental threats, can there be enough local action to bring about the dramatic changes we need?
A I’m not sure. I am only sure that great problems cannot be solved by great solutions. No government, no church, no religious denomination is capable of performing an authentic act of stewardship equivalent in scale to the Normandy invasion or the bombing of Hiroshima. The utterly intractable truth of the matter is that the world is made up of a mosaic of small places, each one unique and, in significant ways, unlike any other. To be capably stewarded or husbanded, each of these places must be known and loved, and therefore possibly known by some particular human with the intelligence, knowledge and skill to use it responsibly. The responsibility pertains to the place itself, and to the humans and other creatures who live on and from it now and forever afterward.
See the interview by Murray MacAdam at UC Observer.