The Wolf River as it runs south along the western edge of Shawano, WI
The spreading of the coronavirus brings home the reality that we are all connected. For some, that’s an obvious truth, while for others, we need reminders whether we want them or not. The health of one of us affects the health of all of us, including the animals with whom we share this planet.
Realizing our connection and dependency on the world in which we live is really what this Project is all about. Science demonstrates that reality and helps us understand it better in order to care for this world. Spirituality can support our understanding of that reality in a different way that complements science and provides even greater commitment to that caring.
I live in the Great Lakes basin, and the water that flows through this part of the world connects me with all the life within that large ecosystem. While political boundaries greatly affect our day-to-day lives, the bioregions in which we live and their interactions with other parts of the world will ultimately determine the health and well-being of us and our children.
In the book, Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice, editor Ched Myers writes in his introduction, “We have been socialized to be more loyal to abstractions and superstructures than literate in the actual biosphere that sustains us; more adept at mobility than grounded in the bioregions in which we reside (but do not truly inhabit).” (p.7)
I live in Shawano, WI, a town along the Wolf River. The Wolf eventually connects with Lake Poygan, which flows into Lake Winneconne, then into Lake Butte des Morts, which empties into Lake Winnebago, the largest inland lake in Wisconsin. In turn, Lake Winnebago flows into the lower Fox River which empties into the Bay of Green Bay and then eventually Lake Michigan.
So, what does living in the Wolf River watershed and the Great Lakes basin mean for me? How does my spirituality connect with this bioregion and the ecosystems found there?
When so much of what connects us right now is the fear of a virus and the pain of an epidemic, living in the Great Lakes basin is a reminder that we are all connected in ways that are life-giving, and that we in turn have a responsibility to care for all the life within these watersheds and this basin.