Insights + Reflections

Quarantine Thoughts: Our Earth + Humanity

May 3, 2020

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Welcome to my quarantine diary! This story is a bit different this month, as I’m sharing with you some reflections I’ve had the last few weeks while under this different change of pace. Not all of it is pure reflection though, so bear with me! Essentially, as our pace has changed, I thought I’d change up the pace of this story too! I hope you like it!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the earth lately…and our connection to it as humanity too. Anyone else? Perhaps it’s a combination of the recent arrival of spring, having celebrated Earth Day last month, or the fact that we’re stuck inside a bit more than we’re used to – Maybe it’s a combination of all three! As such, I thought it was appropriate timing to make our incredible earth the topic of discussion for another month, at least. 😊

If I’m being honest, quarantine has NOT been a time to relax over here. If anything, I’ve been WAY busier – just the way I prefer it to be though! But I have taken way more walks than usual, and that’s where many of these thoughts were formed. So if you don’t like this one, blame it on the crazy quarantine thoughts, and if you do like it, well then I’ll take all the credit and attribute it to getting more fresh air and sunshine than usual! 😉

1) Our world is BEAUTIFUL!

This first one is simple, but not be overlooked. When I step outside and look to the sky, hear birds chirping, smell spring flowers blooming, and feel the warmth of the sun, all seems right with the world! In those moments, it seems almost hard to believe there’s an invisible virus out there threatening humanity. The world that is nature is still bustling, even if we aren’t. I don’t believe the squirrels know we’re quarantined – although I haven’t checked – but they seem to be happy! Ha! But in all seriousness, I’ve found myself in awe at the beauty around us this spring. (And I’ve only been around our neighborhood. Imagine what we’ll find when we step out of our doorsteps!) I’ve found myself filled with gratitude for the gift of this Earth too. We receive everything from it that we need – Minerals, water, air, food, enjoyment, beauty – it really is an incredible earth! I’ve also found myself longing to explore all of its beauty way more than usual. We always want what we can’t have, right? I grew up in the country spending most of my time outside. I’ve always loved the outdoors – hiking, biking, swimming, camping – and we usually take quite a few mini trips each year doing those things. I guess this year, or at least right now, we won’t be doing those things, but it’ll make it that much sweeter when we do get to do them one day! All in all, I’ve found a greater appreciation for our earth, and so much gratitude for the life it offers us!

“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political, and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”  – Pope Francis

2) We’re vulnerable as a human species.

Perhaps way more than we previously realized? I bet you’ve been contemplating this too. This invisible virus has completely altered almost everything about our existence for a time. It’s completely exposed our vulnerability. Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) have been big topics for us everywhere lately. Here, we’re receiving reminders to wash our hands, while in some other underdeveloped countries, they’re innovating ways to keep people healthy who don’t even have water. And while the topic of WASH is highlighted right now everywhere around the world, it’s always a topic of priority in the human development space. In fact, whether or not we have access to clean water is one of the big indicators of material poverty, right? So what happens if at some point we’re unable to sustain our current water supply? We’d all become vulnerable too. Or should I say, more vulnerable? 

According to this report from Unicef, less than 2.5% of the world’s water is freshwater, and nearly 70% of that is found in ice and snow cover. There’s not a lot of water available to begin with! As climate change happens, it impacts the water cycle, which then has a myriad of affects such as disturbed weather patterns leading to droughts and floods, which then affect food production and water supplies, leading to potential famine and widespread hunger – something many people living in material poverty today already experience. The same report also shows the correlation of increases in illness with rising temperatures – and we all know what illness can do to a world! I know that got deep quickly, and this isn’t necessarily new news, but I’m going somewhere with this I promise!

“How inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.”
—Pope Francis


mountain lake and trees

3) By taking care of our world, we’re working to protect those we fight for around the world everyday – the materially poor.

And as we explored in this story from last year, there’s a direct correlation between poverty and our environment. Pope Francis is quoted in saying, “Both everyday experience and scientific research show that the gravest effects of all attacks on the environment are suffered by the poorest” By taking care of our world, we’re taking care of the poor too – and of course, ourselves, by preventing extreme conditions that could lead to global poverty or worse. It’s because of this true integration of our earth and humanity that I’m beginning to understand just how important it is to advocate for our environment, do our part to curb climate change, and love our world so we can continue loving humanity. We have to love our earth well in order to love humanity well.

Well, that’s about all for today! Our humanity depends on our earth. It takes care of us, and we need to take care of it too.

“We have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” – Pope Francis


What ideas do you have for taking care of our earth?

Here are a few of mine:

  • Plant trees! Or make it more meaningful and fun by planting a tree for each member of your family – perhaps each time a child is born! We did this in my family, and my tree was a willow. ☺️

  • Check out the work of The Arbor Day Foundation, Oceana, and World Wildlife Fund – They’re making great progress that’s exciting!

  • Take note of the things you throw away often, and see what you can do to reduce your personal garbage footprint!

  • Support products and businesses that are ethical and sustainable. I follow @thegirlgonegreen online and she has lots of products and tips to share!

Stephanie Jacobs | Storyteller & Advocate for Social Justice


A prayer for our earth

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.

You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love,

that we may protect life and beauty.

Fill us with peace that we may live

as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor,

help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.

Bring healing to our lives,

that we may protect the world and not prey on it,

that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts

of those who look only for gain

at the expense of the poor and the earth.

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation,

to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature

as we journey towards your infinite light.

We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle

for justice, love and peace.

Prayer from: University of Georgia (UGA) Action Plan for the Archdiocese of Atlanta

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