#trashtag - A prayer for the Earth


written by: Jon Lee Rucker

I’m glad to have been reminded the other day by an elder in the community, that everything we do is a prayer...

The thoughts we think, words we say, actions we make, all of our expressions can be a form of prayer. 

And than on Friday May 10th, I sat in a circle of 26 people around a sacred fire, praying for the Earth all night from sunset to sunrise. 

We sang songs and shared good words of prayer, giving thanks to our Mother Earth for all that she does for us. We asked for forgiveness on behalf of humanity, for all of the harmful things we do to her and the other species of life that live upon her. We were asking her what she needs from us. How can we help her? We were praying that life can continue on in a good way and many future generations can thrive. 

Sitting all night, focusing our minds is actually not an easy task, but it is still the easiest part of the prayer... 

Living that prayer and walking it everyday is actually the more difficult part. 

When the sun rose we closed the ceremony, it was really beautiful. We than began the work together of planting trees and starting a brand new garden. We all felt really good and very grateful. We gave offerings to the Earth of tobacco before breaking ground. We worked all morning into the afternoon. 

By the end of the day you can imagine I was ready to go home and rest. 

But as I was getting ready to leave, I noticed on the ground, some small pieces of broken glass. So naturally I knelt down and began to pick the pieces up and bring them to the trash. 

Than I found some more, so I knelt once again. One of my sisters knelt with me and shared in the task. And than one by one everyone left. 

Ok it was time for me to go, but alas... 

I found more glass. I couldn’t leave while there were still visible pieces of glass. 

I thought about the children that might walk here with bare feet. I continued to pick up the pieces, which was my prayer, that children could safely walk these grounds without getting hurt. I kept seeing more and more of these tiny pieces and I thought how easy it would be if a group of us just focused on picking up the glass. We could get all of the pieces very quickly. 

Then I remembered a movement that began recently called #trashtag. Individuals or groups of people are going to places that are filled with litter and cleaning up everything, making the places beautiful again. They post before and after photos with the hashtag #trashtag. 


This is such a wonderful thing that human beings are doing. I believe this has a positive impact on the awareness of people that visit these places. Somewhere inside all of us it must feel awful to see trash littered all over the environment. It makes everyone feel good when they go to a beautiful clean place. 

I wish that more human beings become part of this movement. We can clean all of the lands piece by piece. We might even think of ways to reuse a lot of the materials, and we can consolidate the rest to areas that can be managed. 


There are some people out there who say that it is too late, that we are doomed, and it doesn’t matter anymore. 

I don’t care what they say, I do not believe that we are doomed. And even if we are, think about the children. We owe it to them to try, to give our best effort in cleaning up the mess that humanity has made. 

We are humanity. It doesn’t matter who made the mess, we all need to take responsibility. 

We can pray for help but are willing to help ourselves? We can pray for change but are we willing to change ourselves? 

Fellow humans we are at a crossroads. One is the road to our total destruction, the other is the road to a beautiful future where all life can thrive. Let us choose life together. 

Everything we do can be a prayer for life. 

Let us put our hands together, our voices, our hearts, all together. Let’s give everything we have to this prayer. 

Thank you to all the ones out there cleaning up the mess, making the world a better, safer and healthier place. Thank you so much, your prayers are felt.