By Sister Jane Gegg, ASC
Were you around for the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, the brainchild of the late Senator and environmentalist Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin?
Thinking back on that time, I recall that Rachel Carson’s 1962 groundbreaking work, “Silent Spring,” which documented pesticide use and other harms to the Earth, was fresh in our memory.
Months after the first Earth Day celebration in April 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was established by order of President Nixon.
As I reflect on Earth Day, and its meaning for me now, I’d like to share a story from my recent visit to Vietnam where I met a couple and their three children living in a remote province. They had sought, and received, a grant from the Adorers’ Charitable Giving Committee to drill a fresh water well on their land.
The family’s only source of water was rain during the rainy season. When the rain stopped, the family was forced to buy very expensive water that it could barely afford.
A fellow Adorer, Sister Hang Pham, who works in Vietnam, arranged for me and another Adorer to meet this family.
When we arrived at the Thuong family home, the quote from Isaiah 12:3 came alive for me. It says, “You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.”
As the father turned on the switch to the well for the first time, and the water came clear and fresh from the hose, I stood in holy awe at the joy on the family’s faces, which showed rejoicing at the miracle of that clear, clean, pure water flowing from the well.
Meeting the Thuong family has deepened my sense of awe at the gift of water, the abundance of it that we so take for granted and the life that is in every drop.
Now, when I turn on the faucet, fill my glass with clean, clear water, I drink with joy and gratitude.
- Do you take the gift of fresh water for granted?
- Think for a moment the unimaginable consequences of not having water.
- How do you conserve this precious gift, and could you do more?