Earth Overshoot days

Earth Overshoot Day is the date in the year when humanity’s use of planetary resources and  ecological services in a given year exceeds what Earth's ecosystems can regenerate or replace in that year. In 2021, it falls on 29 July. Individual countries will also have different national dates most in the West will be well before July. The liturgy below is offered to be used in part or in whole for penitential-feeling gatherings for prayer. The materials are made available under Creative Commons licence to be freely used for non-profit purposes though please acknowledge the source with a link to this page and please put emendations and additions into the comments to share-alike. You can find ideas for symbolic Actions and rituals on another page on this site.

As we pray on this day when we recognise that we humans have collectively begun to use up more of the earth’s resources than can be replenished in a year, we gather in penitence. We recognise our greed, our pride and our selfishness. We recognise our lack of charity to our neighbours who consume so much less. We are appalled by the harms that we have built into our ways of life and infrastructure. We are penitent before our future selves, our children and their children.

Creator God, we are in awe of the cosmos you have made: its vastness, its minuteness, its beauty, its intricacy. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

O God, how gracious you are -bestowing upon us good gifts we don’t even deserve. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name.

How merciful you are -overlooking our unwholesomeness to hold us in good relation with you. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

Your compassion is wide and deep -slow to be offended and quick to mend our brokenness. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

You delight in all you have made and generously invite us to share in your delight. You are Good:

Hallowed be your name

——————————-

Woe to us because humans are moving the created boundaries: exploiting natural systems faster than they can regenerate.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to us because human enterprise is financing its growth and development by liquidating the biophysical “capital” essential to our own existence.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to us because our lifeways are dumping waste faster than nature can absorb and recycle them.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who delay collective effort to reduce atmospheric carbon.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who overturn the godly wisdom of our forebears. O God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who harm their neighbours by unseen pollutants.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who take reward from injury to the integrity of nature.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who finance the extraction of fossil carbon and its emission into the air.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who take reward to foul the land or sea or air.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who take reward to mislead by greenwash and disinformation.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who devise and promulgate laws which harm God’s good earth and its living creatures.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

Woe to those who employ algorithm or trick of mind to delay our collective efforts to justly reach net zero.

God, be gracious:

Amen: save us and help us.

————————

As ecosystems fray and wither,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As soils erode and become poorer,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As poisons accumulate and pollutants spread,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

Knowing the frailty of the systems that bring us our daily bread

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As the air heats, the oceans warm and biomes move,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As we observe the growth of deserts

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

As we see the loss of glaciers and diminishment of polar ice,

Our concerns grow

Like water in a rising tide.

We cast our anxieties upon you, generous and faithful God

You open your hand:

supply us in season

Wise us up to respond

Grace us to share your provision

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
Into what will sustain earthly life, lead us

————————

Hearing again the woeful consequences as we err and stray from the ways of wisdom …

Mindful that tipping points into runaway environmental feedback effects glower above our heads…

let us throw ourselves upon the mercy and grace of God.

Bewailing and lamenting the saws at the trees, the fires of fossil carbon, the droughts ever more frequent and storms increasingly tempestuous, we return with anguish of heart to our Creator and Upholder.

Pause.

Who can we turn to for help but to you, O God -who shares our righteous indignation for these sins?

When we have followed too uncritically the habits of our nurture in housing and transport, diet and energy use:

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

when we continued complicity with financial and organisational failures to account for ecocidal business models:

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

when we have failed to push back against the influencers and greenwashers promoting and normalising unsustainable lifestyles and aspirations:

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

when we have unquestioningly accepted bad laws and have not pressed for better laws.

Forgive us and make us afresh your true fellow-workers

Blessed are they whom the Lord forgives, whom God softens with compassion and fiercens with boldness for the poor and the planet.

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who fend off apathy, censoriousness and hard-heartedness

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who pursue justice: the righting of wrongs; restoring true peace.

For they live in the kindom of God.

Blessed are they who nurture life and the relationships that support it

For they live in the kindom of God.

Blessed are they who consume as planetary good neighbours

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who reuse, recycle and reduce their consumption

For they live in the kindom of God

Blessed are they who pursue the way of the cross, the path of nonviolence.

For they live in the kindom of God

————————

Keep us, Creator of nature’s cycles, from wasteful habits, steer us from carbon fuel conformity, defend us from the wiles of adverts, deflect us from unsustainable choices.

Lead us into gracious and merciful living;
generous and respectful within all you have made.
As we contemplate your creation, O God,
we see wildness and order,
chance and necessity,
Freedom and limits.
Grant us to use lovingly our freedoms
to be wise in living the order of things
And wary of our vulnerability to misleadings.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory.
Now and forever, amen

Jesus comes to us and says, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
He breathes on us and says; “Receive the Holy Spirit”
       ….Pause, breathe in, recognising God’s Spirit is with us.
Let us bless the Lord:
Thanks be to God
Who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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