Narrow Ridge and Earth Literacy

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group on trail in woods

“Narrow Ridge” does not refer to a geographical location or a geological structure. Rather, it is a place in the heart. “Narrow Ridge” is a phrase that originated with Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber. For Buber, the Narrow Ridge was the place between the “I and the Thou,” as opposed to the “I and the it.” In our life journeys, we encounter many “others” which include both human and other-than-human members of Earth’s community. When we relate to others as subjects rather than objects, as sacred Thous, we are walking the “Narrow Ridge.” The spiritual path of the Narrow Ridge is steep and rocky, and we find ourselves slipping over the edge time and time again. A friend or supportive community can help us work our way back to the Narrow Ridge. Likewise, the wisdom and restoration that we often tap into when immersed in the natural world aids us in our efforts to regain our footing on the “Narrow Ridge.”

At Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center, we understand ourselves to be in kinship not only with the humans closest to us in the here and now, but also with the humans and other-than-humans who make up Earth’s community in the past, present and future.  In walking the Narrow Ridge, we consider how our decisions affect these sacred relationships.

Earth Literacy offers ever-greater understanding of the evolution of the Universe and the interconnectedness of all being. Rooted in experiential, as well as evidence-based knowledge, this cosmological context informs a worldview, guides all fields of study, and inspires social change. Earth Literacy, a term coined by Thomas Berry, recognizes Earth as educator and honors the wisdom found in Earth systems as well as the mystery and awe-inspiring beauty within the Universe. Earth Literacy allows us to discover our role within the story of Earth and the Universe, transforming our beliefs and actions so as to create mutually enhancing, sustainable, resilient relationships with Earth’s community of life.

Earth literacy is a process rather than an end-goal. Through immersing ourselves in the natural world and paying attention to what we perceive sensually, emotionally, and intellectually we grow in our understanding of ourselves as members of Earth’s family and are inspired to work toward the restoration of mutually enhancing relations among humans and between humans and other-than-human members of Earth.