The Shift Network Blog

Earth Day Summit 2015: Awakening a Sacred Relationship with the Earth
Vinit Allen
By Vinit Allen

As we gather globally once again to celebrate Earth Day, we must ask ourselves, what else can we do that we haven't done before to catalyze change and support the sustainability of our beloved planet?  This is exactly what our Earth Day Summit this year intends to focus on -- the deeper, underlying aspects of our personal and collective evolution that can bring about the critical changes needed for the Earth, for humanity, and for all life on the planet.

Inherent in this year's summit title -- Awakening a Sacred Relationship with the Earth -- is the essence to the answer of what's next for all of us.  For while we may be environmentally conscious in our behavior and possibly even serving as environmental advocates in our communities, we also have to go deeper and learn how to live as we would with anyone or anything we love -- in relationship.  And in the case of our Mother Earth, it is a relationship that is above all a sacred one.

To support us in this process, this year's Summit will offer us wisdom keepers to enhance our understanding, ceremonial leaders to guide us in deepening our relationship, and artists to open and connect our hearts to Her heart.  Together, these speakers create a powerful tapestry, weaving together the mind and the heart, the wild and the sacred, the modern and the ancient to help awaken us to a sacred relationship with the Earth.

Serving as thematic inspiration for several of the Summit sessions are the teachings from the profound book The Time of the Black Jaguar: An Offering of Indigenous Wisdom for the Continuity of LIfe on the Earth by indigenous ceremonial leader, teacher, and healer Arkan Lushwala.  Providing an invocation to sessions throughout the day, these readings by the author help to firmly ground us in an expanded experiential realm for the conversations that follow -- enabling us to not only listen with our minds but with our hearts as well.  Indigenous leaders Chief Phil Lane, Jr. and Faith Spotted Eagle also serve as guides throughout the day -- opening us with their prayers and their ancient wisdom as well as generously offering us a ceremonial initiation.  

Each part of the day offers a clue to the treasure map that has been created for the sacred exploration of this Summit.  We open the day with The Miracle of a Sacred Living Earth where visionaries Brian Swimme, Drew Dellinger, Konda Mason, Barbara Marx Hubbard and Elisabet Sahtouris help us to recognize the miraculous nature of our lives here on Earth. The second part -- A Cry from the Earth: Paradise in Peril -- demands that we listen to and understand Her cry, that we evolve for our collective survival, and that we express our evolution in action. Translators for this cry are environmental leaders Kenny Ausubel, Randy Hayes, and Mathis Wackernagel while theologian Matthew Fox and cultural catalyst Ashara Ekundayo examine with us the purifying chaos of our paradise in peril.  Then, serving as the ultimate guide for our evolutionary shift is spiritual teacher and mystic scholar Andrew Harvey.  Andrew continues to play an important role in the transformational intention of this day when he explores in later sessions the critical partnership of the masculine-feminine balance needed in our world and then guides us to deepen our intimacy with Gaia through prayer and ceremony.

Our creative and artistic selves -- which are needed more than ever right now -- are evoked through music, poetry, plays, and the visual arts.  The powerful presence of artists and changemakers such as Rha Goddess, musician Gary Malkin, and young indigenous activists and hip-hop artists Xiuhtezcatl and Itzcuauhtli Martinez as well as the founders of the new organization Planet Earth Arts help us to understand by example and exploration how the creative in each of us plays a critical role for saving our planet.

The principle of reciprocity -- one of the most important aspects of our human-Earth connection -- is highlighted later in the day as indigenous leader Larry Merculieff engages with author Charles Eisenstein and Rha Goddess about the broken heart of our economic system and the need to shift from greed to sacred relationship.  We then learn how to express reciprocity in our daily lives in a simple yet profound way as we collectively participate around the world in a beautiful tree offering ceremony.

As the day comes to a close, as we have become opened, deepened, inspired, and ready for change, Rha Goddess along with depth psychologist and wilderness guide Bill Plotkin encourage us in cultivating the wild and sacred within ourselves.

In the midst of our busy lives immersed in the technology of an industrialized world, we can pause on this day to honor the total miracle of a sacred living earth and our relationship to it.  Please join us for what we know will be a transformational experience for those participating and what we hope will create a subtle but profound ripple effect throughout the planet.


Vinit Allen is founder and executive director of Sustainable World Coalition, and co-director of Planet Earth Arts. The book he created (with many researchers and writers), the award-winning Sustainable World Sourcebook, summarizes the big global issues and best solutions. He has an entrepreneurial and activist background that he brings to his work in sustainability education and the arts. His love and respect for nature acts as a guide, and his mission combines the goal of a healthy planet with a just human society. To learn more, visit: swcoalition.org and planeteartharts.org.