Monday, 31 October 2011

Q47: Why Doukhobors Respect The Earth?

From: Harold Johnson, Montreal Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan

Tell me more about the Love of the Earth.
Why Do Doukhobors Respect The Earth?

This doesn't correspond with my understanding of Christianity which I have always understood was a strict love of Christ and God and maybe something called the holy ghost, and a complete disregard for the Earth. Didn't Christians give up the Earth when God gave them dominion over it in Genesis? Where did the Doukhobors develop this deep understanding of Earth as life? It seems completely at odds with the Judea Christian Muslim singular god idea.


Early Doukhobor pioneers were grain and cattle farmers who depended for their livelihood upon the land, abundant moisture and sunshine.

Because of the nature of their work, they were close to the soil and therefore close to 'Mother Earth' which gave them life.

An example of this would be a contemporary Doukhobor farmer by the name of George Zeberoff and his Russian-Czech wife Anna who operate a unique organic farm on an eleven-acre hillside fruit farm in beautiful valley of Cawston, British Columbia. Opened in 1973, the farm has been a veritable cornucopia of delicious, nutritious, organically grown food. To achieve this, the owners exercise patience in working with nature. They follow the natural rhythms of the seasons. They also encourage the ability to let go and forgive and they deliberately prefer to work on a small scale with an environmentally friendly relationship to the world. For the Zebroff's the Earth is their life and they lovingly respect it. (See more on this unique farm in my book Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers' Strategies for Living (2002): pages 191-193).

A personal example on the power of the earth comes from an experience I had in southern Canada in 1990. In an East-West cold war exchange, I as a Doukhobor was chosen to mix Russian soil from the Tolstoy farm of Yasnaya Polyana in Russia with that of a dairy farm in southern Ontario — in a symbolic Culture-Agriculture exchange program. It was an awesome moment for me as I mixed the soil from two continents in a ceremony that was captured on film by a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation crew for a program Adrian Clarkson Presents.

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