This Earth Day, we invite you to explore your relationship with Earth and take appropriate steps to make it healthier. A healthy relationship includes mutual respect, communication, honesty, connection and so much more.

As David Abram puts it “The Hebrew word for human – Adam – is intimately related to the term Adamah, which in Hebrew means “ground” or “earth.” For the ancient Hebrews, to be human was to be an earthling (as in Genesis, where the first human – Adam – is a creature fashioned from the soil who will ultimately return to the soil).

In a similar fashion, the English word human is cognate with the English humus (or soil). Both are derived from the proto-Indo-European root that signifies “earth” or “ground,” which suggests that in English, as in Hebrew, that which most deeply defines the human is our own derivation from (and kinship with) the ground underfoot.”

Earth provides us with life-supporting resources – trees for shelter, cooling, and oxygen; plants for food, habitat, and medicine; water for drinking, bathing, and fishing; air to breathe; and animals that complete the web of life. Spending time in nature is just what the doctor ordered. It reduces stress, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, improves mood and memory and increases the likelihood of social interactions.

How do you complete your relationship with Earth? Is there balance, mutuality and respect? Can you identify opportunities to enhance that relationship? Do you need to spend more time together? Communicate more? Honor each other’s boundaries?

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The Associated Contributors are writers from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.