In her book Super, Natural Christians, theologian Sallie McFague writes: "It is not just that other life forms are becoming scarce or extinct, but our experience of and with them is, too. The results are deep and disturbing. We not only learn less about these earth others, but disaffection sets in, and hence we care less for their well-being. We do not care about what we do not know."
When it comes to gaining or rekindling such knowing, we need encounters with "earth others" - our sisters and brothers (as St. Francis of Assisi called them) in the broader family of creation. These encounters can be both direct and indirect. Soaking in the beauty of the setting sun, working with other people to mitigate the ravages of an oil spill, gardening - such direct encounters awaken our knowing and, hopefully, our caring. Indirectly, we can learn a great deal from authors, poets, theologians, scientists, and others who have taken the time to cultivate awareness of and care for creation. A growing number of these "creation mediators" invite us into deeper knowing not only by stirring our intellects but also by awakening our emotions and senses. In doing so, they help remind us that we too are embodied members of creation, not just distant, intellectual observers. The following are several of my favorite creation mediators and some of the fruits of their work.