With summer approaching opportunities abound outside for us to reduce our "nature deficit-disorder" (see the work by Richard Louv), and on rainy days films about the "out-of-doors" can be appropriate too.
Kids can be inspired to "go green" by visiting websites such as http://www.blogger.com/www.kidsbegreen.org and www.epa.gov/kids.
Ministers might learn from Church on Earth: Grounding Your Ministry in a Sense of Place by Jeff Wild (Augsburg Fortress, 2009).
Families could take a look at the children's picture book about grandparents, prayer, and the wonders and enchantment of the natural world in Grandad's Prayers of the Earth by Douglas Wood, (Candlewick Press).
Nature's influence on children's health and development is appreciated in the film by Camilla Rockwell, Mother Nature's Child: Growing Outdoors in the Media Age (www.mothernaturesmovie.com).
The Children and Nature Network (C&NN) aims to build a movement to reconnect children and nature. See www.childrenandnature.org .
Outdoor camping sites such as that of the American Camp Association (www.acacamps.org) and the Family Adventure Program of REI (www.rei.com/family-adventure), or www.outdoors.org/recreation/family can offer leads for outdoor camping.
Indoor family films for a rainy day might include Furry Vengeance, starring Brandan Fraser and Brooke Shields, about what woodland creatures do when their habitat is threatened, or the effort of Colin Beaven to reduce his environmental impact in No Impact Man (also a book and blog).
Film Festivals offer other ideas: see ReelHeart International Film Festival, Redemptive Film Festival, and the Peace on Earth Film Festival.
When Heaven Meets Earth: How a Faithful Few Inspired Change, a film (and study guide)by Susan Emmerich, looks at an effort to improve the Chesapeake Bay. Other socially relevant films that entertain and inspire can be seen at www.participantmedia.com and www.takepart.com is a website on socially conscious media and issues.
Other adult DVDs include
Manufactured Landscapes which looks at our impact on the planet via the eyes of Edward Burtynsky (Zeitgeist Films);
www.JourneyoftheUniverse.com explains the 50-minute HD film by that title, its companion book and 13-part educational DVD series produced by Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker (the latter formerly chair of the Religion Department at nearby Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA). The website www.emergingearthcommunity.org is that of Dr. Tucker and her husband Dr. John Grim (now both at Yale U.) and explains more of the film, the Forum on Religion and Ecology and the Earth Charter.
Examining new paradigms of how interconnectedness can be lived in today's complex world are short films, other media and educational materials at www.globalonenessproject.org .
Also worthy of note:
World Environment Day, June 5 (Environmental Sabbath), sponsored by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP); the 2011 theme is "Forests: Nature at Your Service". www.unep.org/wed .
Free download of Lester Brown's latest book, World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse, from www.earth-policy.org .
Daily reflection on God's creation, and excerpts of quotations from notable observers of nature, are posted by Dean Ohlman, the web site/blog host of "The Wonder of Creation." He has twenty years of experience in the creation care movement. www.wonderofcreation.org .
For environmental tool kits and resources from the US EPA Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (FBNP), see http://www.epa.gov/fbnpartnerships .
Note: This column, entitled "Creation Corner", is compiled monthly under the auspices of an ecumenical organization, the United Churches of Lycoming County (UCLC), 202 E. Third St., Williamsport PA 17701, by Michael Ochs, Lutheran layman and a member of its Christian Social Concerns committee. It is published monthly, Sept. to May, in the UCLC print newsletter and mailed to over 1000 recipients. It may also be found on-line at www.uclc.org .