Steward Profile: Susan Turner Pohlmann

Welcome to Steward Profiles, the new, weekly feature on members of the community who are answering the call to be stewards of the earth.

Our first featured steward, Susan Turner Pohlmann, is a long-time member at SP&SA and core member of the Green Team. Below, a few of Susan’s thoughts on what stewardship means to her.

Susan mans the compost bin at the tutoring cookout.

Susan mans the compost bin at the tutoring cookout.

How does relating to and taking care of the earth figure in to your faith and/or spiritual life?
I believe that our first obligation to the earth is to do no harm. I believe that individuals are part of the larger corporate body of nature just as a human cell is part of the human body. We must not do harm to that which we are a part of, and that which sustains us. Actions that have consequence must be at the very least benign. And, it would behoove us to correct harm that is done against this corporate body, even when we ourselves were not a cause of harm. A body that is not in harmony can develop a cancer, even in a body that on the whole is well. If that cancer is ignored, you give it power. But if the cells take action to fight the cancer, it can be overcome. We have the choice to either feed the cancer or throw up antibodies against it.

In what ways do you relate to and/or take care of the earth?
I feel it when I’ve taken more than my share. To me it signifies that someone else must necessarily have less. I live my life as simply as I am able to and live in accordance to my own sense of proportion in relationship with my fellow travelers. I don’t sit down and quantify my footprint as much as listen to that voice that says “now you’re taking more than your share.” When I listen to this voice, I naturally make sustainable choices.

A moment of reflection on the deck.

A moment of reflection on the deck.

To me it’s all in the Sermon on the Mount. Take Matthew: 5-7. The meek shall inherit the earth and those who thirst for righteousness will be filled. The only way to break a cycle of oppression is to treat others the way you want to be treated. You reap what you sow. I believe that these passages lay out how we should live.

What is your best hope for the future of our planet?
I see the world as a classroom where humans work out spiritual problems within the constraints of time and space. I don’t think that the headmaster would blow up the classroom in order to teach a bunch of 3rd graders. I believe the true essence of life is eternal and will continue, and that if we live with faith there is no reason to fear.

Thank you, Susan!