- ABOUT US
- Rights of Springs
Once again Earth’s turning has brought us in the northern hemisphere into the season of vernal equinox. Shifts in light and temperature are apparent. Subtle and not-so-subtle adaptations in the habits of the winged, finned, furred, leathered, crawlers, four-footed, two-legged, leafed, flowered and fruit-bearers are visible for those with the curiosity and patient ability to see. Each being seems to be claiming its springtime identity with the hope that its habitat and food-chain are vital and flourishing.
Alas, as we know, many species and entire eco-systems are facing critical stressors as their natural environments are unduly devastated by relentless human impacts. Indeed, leading scientists say that now we are living in a new geological era, the Era of the Anthropocene. This term was first used in 2000 by Nobel Prize Laureate Paul Crutzen, whose work focused on chemical mechanisms that affect the ozone layer. According to Crutzen, the Anthropocene epoch marks the time when human activity is leaving an irreversible environmental impact on planet Earth that will be detectable thousands of years into the future.
Living in a geological era where the human species has become the main predator of life is a pretty heavy burden. How do we discover our deepest identity when our cultural identity is fed primarily by a belief in relentless economic and population growth, driven global markets and rising consumption? How do we shift the definition of the “Era of the Anthropocene” to mean humanity living in balance and harmony with Nature?
At the Center for Earth Jurisprudence we commit to keeping the “big picture” before us (the really BIG Universe Story) while claiming our identity as humans to live in right relationships and interdependence with the entire web of life. For the past year we have been focusing on the essential role of water, particularly Florida’s springs. This has led to richly blessed new relationships and networks with wonderful companions, friends, and advocates who are deeply committed to the health of Florida’s waterways.
Two special artists come to mind: Jim Draper and his “Feast of Flowers” exhibit currently at the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville and John Moran with his “Eternal Springs” exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in Gainesville (in collaboration with Lesley Gamble and Rick Kilby) are just two of Florida’s outstanding artists who bring their commitment to showing us Florida’s natural wealth.Just since January we have participated in programs such as the Orange County League of Women’s Voters’ “Imperiled Waters of Florida,” the Florida Conservation Coalition (and partners’) “Speak-up Wekiva,” our own CEJ’s “Rights of Springs,” and the Florida Springs Institute’s “Springs Conservation Summit.”
In addition, we have weighed in with comments to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection hearings on the Basin Management Action Plans for several Florida springs—demonstrating that the proposed plans to reduce nitrate pollution are too little, too late. The proposed BMAPs have no enforcement teeth and basically repeat regulations and best management plans that are already on the books.
However, we remain committed to working with others in preserving and conserving the springs, the waterways and the common good—and the good of the commons. We want the Era of the Anthropocene to become an era when humanity takes responsibility for protecting and conserving water and the natural world for future generations.
Personally, I think the core of human identity lies in our ability to discover ourselves as we serve the common good of the community. As individuals we need others to help us understand who we are. Those others are the people around us, and also the other beings who reveal to us our deepest capacities to be creative, compassionate and caring.
Recently Rev. Peter Sawtell, Director of Eco-Justice Ministries, outlined six essential qualities for the development of a transformational ecological identity and spirituality. I found them insightful, and I leave you with them for your own musing. They reflect an interiority that seeks right relationship and a capacity for reflection, receptivity and transformation. They are: awe, listening, lament, confession, imagination and commitment.
I submit they are qualities in which the natural world would delight, if they became essential components of the Age of the Anthropocene.
Sr. Pat Siemen on Rights of Nature at TEDxJacksonville 2013View video full screen on YouTube.
CEJ Events & Presentations“Ethics, Faith & Water”
A program of “Water Voices”
On September 14, 2015, 7-9 p.m.
High Springs New Century Woman’s Club
40 NW First Avenue
High Springs, Florida 32643
Join us for the “Ethics, Faith, and Water: A Confluence,” a public conversation on water ethics for Florida. The event is the third session of the “Water Voices” series.
• Cynthia Barnett, an award-winning journalist and author of the water books “Mirage,” “Blue Revolution” and “Rain.”
• Lucinda (Lu) Faulkner Merritt, a writer who serves on the Ichetucknee Alliance Board of Directors, the steering committee of the Floridians’ Clean Water Declaration and the executive committee of the Florida Springs Council.
• Sister Patricia Siemen, Esq., a Dominican Sister and attorney who is the director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence at Barry University Law School in Orlando.
• Robert E. Ulanowicz, Ph.D., an ecosystems scientist who is a professor emeritus with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and courtesy professor with the University of Florida.
Visit the: ICHETUCKNEE ALLIANCE for more information.
Bioluminescence Field Trip
Saturday, September 12, 2015
6:30 - 11:00 p.m.
Location to be determined
Brevard County, FL
Barry Law students, faculty, staff, and their guests are invited to a guided kayak tour of the Indian River Lagoon to experience the wonder of bioluminescence.
Contact: Jane Marsden, email@example.com or (321) 206-5691, for more information and to reserve a place.
Other Events:River Ruckus
St. Johns Riverkeeper
Saturday, August 29, 2015 • 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Riverside Arts Market
715 Riverside Ave.
A family festival to raise a ruckus for the river and show Jacksonville the St. Johns River is more than a scenic view: it’s a recreational asset that should be respected, protected, and enjoyed.
Contact: Shannon for more information.
Wekiwa Field School - Open to the public!
Florida Springs Institute
Start 28 Aug 2015, 9:00 AM
End 30 Aug 2015, 4:00 PM
Location: Wekiwa Springs State Park Youth Camp
1800 Wekiwa Circle
Apopka, FL 32712
The Florida Springs Field School is scheduled for three days of lectures and field trips. The Springs Field School will be held at the Wekiva Springs State Park Youth Camp facilities that include a lecture hall, dining hall, overnight cabins, and a swimming pool and conveniently located just north of Orlando, Florida. Field trips are tentatively planned to Wekiwa and Rock Springs.
Visit: Florida Springs Institute for more information.
Florida Wildflower Foundation's
2015 Wildflower Symposium
Friday, Sept. 25, and Saturday, Sept. 26
Location: Leu Gardens
1920 North Forest Ave, Orlando FL 32803
Visit the Wildflower Symposium webpage for more information.
Native Rhythms Festival
Wickham Park Amphitheater
World Cultural Music and Environmental Arts and Crafts
Free Admission - Family Event
November 12 - 15, 2015
Thursday: 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Friday & Saturday: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Visit Native Rhythms Festivals for more information.
Learning to See Naturally ~ Nature Journaling WorkshopsVisit our nature journaling blog, Learning to See Naturally, for poems, photos, stories and other nature-inspired creative works from our workshop participants.
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