UNITY – It is humanity, not the planet, that is sick and in need of saving. And there is hope.

That was part of the message Saturday from Kate Braestrup, chaplain of the Maine Warden Service and commencement speaker at the 41st graduation of Unity College.

“At my church, spiritual home to many environmentalists, we can sing hymns in four-part harmony about the suffering and imperiled Earth,” Braestrup told Unity graduates, family and faculty members. “The Earth is perishing. The Earth is dying, we sing. Look at the images flowing north from the Louisiana coast. That’s the truth. Isn’t it?”

Braestrup, the widow of Maine State Police Trooper Andrew Griffin, who was killed in an auto wreck in 1996, countered that Earth is a “fabulous planet” and with people such as those graduating Saturday, it can be cured.

“The Earth has endured far bigger injuries than us,” she said. “From the Earth’s point of view, human beings aren’t AIDS or cancer. We’re more like a bad case of acne. And one day, there will be a cure.”

College President Mitchell Thomashow told graduates that Saturday was a blending of their past, present and future.

“It’s a day to celebrate your accomplishments and to contemplate what lies ahead,” he said. “Today is the day to let it all blend in celebration. You are authentic and genuine. You love the outdoors. You embrace life. You are searching for meaning.”

He said careers after Unity College will include game warden, organic farmer, biodiversity research and school teacher, but all will play roles in restoring ecological balance “to this beautiful and sacred planet.”