Asking a Different Question
by Fred Lanphear
The question is not how can the
younger generation take care of its elders; it is rather how
do we as elders help the younger generation care for the Earth and their
future? We are in a time when the quality of life, if not
our survival as a species, will most likely be determined by
the decisions we make in the next two decades. As elders, we
have witnessed and participated in both the wonders and the
devastation in the 20th century. We are now observing the
toll an expanding population, industrialization, and
technology has taken on our health and the environment; we
can only begin to fathom future consequences. It is time for
us as elders to step forward and speak for the Earth and
future generations of all of its species.
A new way of aging
for the 21st century...
...wise and compassionate elders, peacemakers and
earthkeepers, caring for one another and all
humanity, caring for Earth and all beings.
emerging global network connecting midlife and older
persons dedicated to helping bring about a
just, sacred, and sustainable future for all
children, grandchildren and future generations.
Each generation, as well as each of us as individuals,
leaves a legacy. There is no greater legacy, at this time in
history, than to care for the earth on behalf of the future.
In the Spring 2006 issue of Itineraries, we
the inspiring story of Connie Mahoney and the formation
of Earth Elders, an organization that began in
vision, reflected in the
EarthElders.org, was a global network, and is symbolized by the web site
www.earthelders.org. We have the opportunity to
actualize this network... beginning in your local area.
After Second Journey's recent Visioning Council, which
was held on Whidbey Island north of Seattle, a small core of
folks decided to launch a group in the Seattle area. Though
our local vision for Earth Elders is still emerging, at
least four components are clear:
- telling the new Universe story and our place in it;
- celebrating the Earth through rituals and songs;
- mentoring others to become Earth Elders;
- leading others to advocate for the Earth and all its
The numerous resources available to help us assume this role
include The Great Work by Thomas Berry; a study
guide for Earth Elders created by
Imago in Cincinnati;
and articles and
information relating to The Great Work from the
Center for Ecozoic Studies. A list-serve will also be
available to share information and to seek help from each
other. These and additional resources will soon be found at
the Earth Elders web site, which I will be coordinating and
developing with input from Earth Elders around the world.
We have the opportunity and responsibility as elders to make
a difference. Our grandchildren and their children are
counting on us. Now is the time to join with others to
prepare to do “The Great Work.”