05 May 2009

Article: Catskill Daily Mail- Thurs. April 23, 2009

CATSKILL — Sheila Dent wore a green blazer Wednesday adorning a yellow, blue and green pin. The blue and green triangles, the Catskill resident said, represent the sky and Earth and the yellow background the sun.

The pin is a memento from the Protect Your Environment — or PYE — group at her Gilboa school that was organized by the State University of New York at Oneonta. The idea of environmental protection fit in with other politically charged issues in the 1960s, including the draft and a fear of nuclear warfare, she said. “It was another thing to care about,” she said. Dent, who calls herself a “true, reformed hippie,” points out that environmental responsibility is as easy as planting a tree or picking up garbage. She remembers one protest her Gilboa group held over the felling of an oak tree near the Gilboa Dam. “We didn’t win, but we were there,” she said.

Dent said her daughter, Rev. Ursula Carrie (Wilkerson), and grandson also recycle and conserve energy.

Carrie started her own church, the Church of the Sacred Earth, in Woodstock, and keeps a religious and environmental blog. She writes that humans need to be aware of what they are doing to the earth if they want their children and grandchildren to have a life of any minute quality. “The act of recycling and composting, and all those things can be utilized as a prayer to the earth,” she said. And, as an herbalist, she said, everything she does is related to the earth. She buys in bulk and recycles whatever she can to minimize her garbage, because there is no way humans can be separated from nature. She said that once people become aware of their impact on the environment, environmentally friendly actions become part of an everyday routine.

“It’s a way of life,” she said, “because there is no life without the earth.”

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