Mary Westfall - Profile in Sustainability

Why is health so central to sustainability?

The health of our bodies and the health of the planet are so connected.  We breathe, eat, drink, and are totally sustained and nourished by Earth. What we do to the planet, we do to ourselves.  As we treat the planet with respect and work toward increasing patterns of sustainable living, we make possible greater health in our own bodies, spirits and communities.

 

How do your work on campus and in Durham relate to sustainability?

One of my great joys is getting to teach a UNH course,  "Ecology and Values," that connects students to many crucial topics related to sustainable living. Additionally, in my role as UNH Chaplain and a local pastor I have the opportunity to do lots of education around these topics, helping people connect their core beliefs and their daily actions and choices. There is an increasing interest in the connection between spirituality and sustainability, and this is a topic I frequently am asked to speak about as well.   

 

What motivates you personally to be involved in sustainability?

It is truly my sense of awe and great love for the planet - its beauty, mystery, magnificence, and variety - that provides my motivation to be involved in sustainability. We inhabit an amazingly intricate, diverse and interconnected home planet. The cosmic unfolding of billions of years has bought about the systems and cycles that now sustain us. It seems not only our responsibility but also our privilege and joy to work within those systems and cycles in ways that contribute positively to the whole. Nature is embedded in us and we in nature. As human beings we are only able to truly find contentment and a lasting sense of well-being when we are living in sync with the natural world. So my "great" work as a pastor, parent, educator, and citizen is to love the planet!

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