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Our Walk in the World: Original Steps

Jacob Ammentorp Lund/Thinkstock

The life of a community depends on how we care for the ground we stand on and how we step lightly, walking side by side.

Our concern about nature and the environment has ancient roots. For we have always struggled between using up the earth and honoring it. In 2011, a clay tablet was discovered in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq that has added 20 lines to the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest narratives known to humanity. The 12 original Assyrian tablets date back to 2000 BCE. The newly found tablet was acquired from looters by the Sulaymaniah Museum for $800. The story of Gilgamesh centers on an enervated and self-centered king who, along with his only friend, Enkidu, declares war against the nature deity, Humbaba, in hopes of securing eternal fame. The newly discovered lines to the epic reveal a sense of guilt and remorse in Enkidu for having killed the nature deity and for having decimated the Cedar Forest, the home of Humbaba. Enkidu says, “We have reduced the forest [to] a wasteland.” His anxiety about offending the gods has him imagine an angry god, Enlil, asking them when they arrive home, “What was this wrath of yours that you went trampling the forest?” It’s timely that this story should surface in our moder …

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This entry is tagged with:
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