CO-OP for Earthsake

The Center at Mariandale’s multi-faceted environmental protection initiative, CO-OP for Earthsake, supports global and local causes, including the planet’s greatest threat: climate crisis.

CO-OP for Earthsake at Mariandale was created from two initiatives:

1  The Preamble of the United Nations’ Earth Charter, which reads:
“We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future.  As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward, we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of culture and life forms, we are one human family and one earth community with a common destiny.  We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society, founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Toward that end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater good community of life, and to the future generations.”

2  The Dominican Sisters of Hope’s Mission Statement:
“We are the women of the gospel and in communion with all Creation, we commit our lives to the transforming power of Hope.”

The yearning to share this combined mission with other co-creators gave rise to members of the Earth Consciousness Committee, to see our work in a new light and a more organized way.

CO-OP for Earthsake seeks to remind others that Earth has too long been used and abused, and treated as an “object.”  Rather, earth is a sacred “subject,” a living organism worth relating to as a mentor, teacher, and healer.  Through direct experience with the natural world, people of all ages, beliefs, cultures and economies are invited to a range of activities from contemplative listening to work on the land.  Among the possibilities are:

Hope Community Gardens:   Volunteers, both individual and families, help us to grow fresh organic food in our vegetable and herb gardens.  The food we grow supplies the retreat center kitchen, as well as local food pantries and families in fresh food they can prepare at home.

Planting for the Pollinators:  We honor eco-beneficial ways of planting for the bees, butterflies, organisms, and wildlife.  We plant milkweed for the monarch butterflies.

Beekeeping:  We have hosted meetings of the Hudson Valley Natural Beekeepers.  We host a number of hives at Mariandale, and have engaged the help of experienced beekeepers to help us care for the hives.  We delight in learning from the bees, both the mystery and their mystical aspects as we quiet down and pay attention to their rhythms of life.

Activism:  Advocating for environmental justice is one of the Center at Mariandale’s most pressing commitments.   We hosted a Green New Deal meeting, which brought together politicians, activists, indigenous people,  and the public.   We have joined the Croton Climate Initiative in promoting education about emerging issues concerning water and natural gas.  Through educational speakers,  neighbors who already have a heart for the land and water have gathered to learn more of the perils facing us and our place on the planet.  When Nature or Earth is threatened, we naturally respond.

Many nature-oriented groups visit us for retreats, including the Audubon Society, the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Religious Organizations Along the River (ROAR), master gardeners, beekeepers, and naturalists.

Walking the Land:  We have walked the land with many of our guests, and listened to the sounds around and above us, the sights, shapes, textures, names and stances of the trees, and the contours and texture of the land.

Mariandale offer programs on nature and spirituality throughout the year that explore our relationship with nature and the universe. Contact us to learn more about our land, or to arrange a land walk and exploration of our flora and fauna.

We continue to yearn to awaken and partner with people of all ages, races, spiritualities, and economies for a relation ship with the natural world that is both active and transformative, and offers tangible hope for the future.

For more information on the Center at Mariandale’s environmental initiatives and programs, please contact Bette Ann Jaster, OP, Environmental Programs Specialist, at

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