While we may sometimes experience a disconnect between ourselves and the natural world, a new movement is aspiring to restore the relationship and hopefully give rise to a “kinder world.”
Spirit of the Land is an innovative class and conference, held through the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus, that aims to unite people through a mutual passion for each other and the planet. Though it is acknowledged that we are caught in a “globalizing way of life that depends on separation,” the Organization embraces the worldview that we are all inherently connected as “members of the same commonplace; all brothers and sisters of each other.”
Spirit of the Land intends to bring people back together. Canadians have a broad range of personal histories, and whether we are of indigenous, settler or immigrant heritage, we must come together to create the Earth and society that we desire.
Takota Coen, one of Canada's Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 of 2015, has taken part in many of the Spirit of the Land classes and conferences, and describes them as “nothing short of transformational.” Takota is from a family of holistic farmers in Alberta, and spoke at the 2014 Spirit of the Land conference on his experience with developing a healthy relationship with the land.
Takota believes that we can relieve the guilt we carry from our reliance on the Earth by recognizing the valuable gifts the land continuously gives us. For thousands of years, people have been dependent on our relationship to plants for their medicinal qualities and the very air we breathe. On a recent Spirit of the Land visit to Coen’s Grass Roots Family Farm, he explained that we can accept our place in the world by acknowledging the animals and plants that allow for our life on this Earth. He has found through understanding that “everything has a consciousness.”
The first Spirit of the Land conference began in 2012, when a group of students and teachers from the University of Alberta’s Augustana campus came together to raise awareness on hydraulic fracking in Alberta. Since then, the team has continued to connect people through understanding the spiritual element of our ecological challenges. The team brings First Nation leaders, farmers, and ecologists into a network to join knowledge and people.
Through re-establishing our intrinsic interconnectedness, we can create change in our society and our ecological relationship. The recent Spirit of the Land conference this past November ignited the conversation. It moved Jessica Ryan, who wrote: “It was something like I imagine it might feel to find out you were adopted. The ground shifted under my feet. I felt myself a stranger upon the land I’d taken for granted was conquered territory.”
To learn more about the Spirit of the Land conference, visit their website.