Ponderings of the Spiritual Life Director 4-10-19

The Interdependent Web: Thinking Local

Ponderings of the Spiritual Life Director

We covenant to affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

My teenage daughter enjoys wandering around town with her friends and enjoying Lakeland’s beautiful lakes- most notably Morton, Hollingsworth, and Mirror. How lucky she is to live in this beautiful city and to have great places to hang out with her friends! Often times, she goes fishing with her boyfriend and Adam’s youngest son. One night, they brought home a fish and were taught how to filet it and fry it in a pan. They ate it. I wondered about the quality of the fish and how polluted the waters it lived in were. Just the other night, the three of them went to Lake Mirror and apparently the boys went in the water to do their fishing. I wondered again about what sort of water they were getting into. Ewwww, nothing I’d step foot in, but I suppose I’m easily grossed out. The next day, we talked about the lakes and the kids wondered if they were natural or man-made. We also touched upon the subject of pollution, especially since I asked them to wash my car and I’m just up the road from Lake Morton. And, they said they saw a man with a cast net catching tilapia- enough to feed him for a month! That’s great- as long as those fish are healthy…

And then, I find it odd that I don’t know. I don’t know the origins of the lakes I live near or if they suffer from high levels of pollution. I don’t know what kind of fish live in them. I find it odd that I’m so disconnected with the environment that I live in. I’ve always considered myself to be a lover of nature and would much prefer to be in the woods than in the city. I love to sit on my back deck and feel the sun and listen to the wind in the giant oak trees and watch the birds at my feeder. Every once in a while, when I find the time, I love to dig in the dirt and put in some flowers. Growing up, I was educated on the prairie environment that I lived in and when I moved to Florida (the West Palm Beach area), I took a few classes that focused on the local environment. But yet, I’m vastly unfamiliar with this Central Florida environment that I have lived in for the past 15 years. As I engage in conversation with these kids who spend their free time around the lakes, I find that I can’t answer their simple questions. I’m missing out on a great opportunity to educate them, and to show them how to care and to take action, about and for the land that they live on. I know it’s not just me, though. So disconnected we are in the 21st century. So busy with so many other things, that we take this beautiful land for granted, without too much thinking about the effect the actions in our daily lives have on its health and sustainability and whether or not our kids, and those who catch their own food, can enjoy healthy lakes.

And this is where I have to remember my own words- those I preached to you last Sunday- that it is vital that we hold interconnectedness at the center of our theologies, for it is in our relationship with all of creation that we find the divine. And so, I feel strongly compelled to seek knowledge about the land that I live on so that I can strengthen my relationship with it. I found some places to start:

This page addresses many environmental concerns in the state of Florida. There are recent environmental updates/news and petitions to sign:


This is a blog from a local Central Florida environmentalist who works to restore native plants and to eradicate invasives:


This site has very specific data on all of Lakeland’s lakes:


How’s our air quality? Well, it’s decreased 3% over the last 5 years:


I hope you find enlightenment from these resources and I look forward to hearing from you about the ways in which you feel called to take action! And, please share any resources you come across that might help us find ways to respect the interdependent web that exists here in our small part of the Universe.