Many Pagans describe their religion as “Earth-Centered.” I’ve found this a rather puzzling statement since I wouldn’t describe my path as that way and I don’t usually see much difference between the actions of Pagans and non-Pagans in regard to the earth. I hear a marked difference how they talk about the earth as sacred, but as my mother taught me, “If you want to know what a person really believes and values, watch their actions and ignore their words.” I don’t know, I don’t think we show by our actions that we are any more or less “Earth-Centered” than any other group in the US.
Which is why I was excited by the prospect of picking up garbage with a group of fellow Pagans last Sunday. The group is the Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance, UMPA for short. They used to sponsor a 2 mile stretch of highway out by Anoka under Minnesota’s Adopt a Highway Program. Now they have claimed a section of 35E near Hugo. Last Sunday was the first time UMPA cleaned their new bit of interstate.
I was delayed by work and arrived on scene about an hour late. A group of five had already donned their attractive safety vests, put on work gloves, grabbed trash bags and sticks, and were picking up trash along side the North-bound lane. Judy gave me safety tips, helped me suit up, and then John joined us to do the South-bound lane.