Today is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. Should there be an Earth Day? Perhaps it is a beneficial reminder to those who spend their time indoors, isolated from nature, their attention consumed by objects with screens…that there is an ecosystem that we all belong to and rely upon. One that we can’t ignore, and one that we should ecstatically enjoy to the fullest extent, but never exploit. It has become common practice to leave our familiar homes, climb into our modern transportation, and spend our days in buildings, partitioned from the earth, the wind, the rain, the sun, soil, water, beauty, and all of the excitement that it offers us. It’s far too easy to forget that we we’re designed to interact with our natural world, how much we depend on the gifts of our planet…..for life. Sadly, it is also much too simple to drive to the grocery store, throw our trash in a bin, to be carried out of sight by a truck, and buried away from our homes, allowing us to forget the damage, forget the demands we place for more goods, more comforts, and more convenience.
EVERY day should be Earth Day. “There is a sense in which we are all each other’s consequences.” ― Wallace Stegner, All the Little Live Things. The choices that we make each and every day have a long-reaching and lingering effect. These options directly touch the planet, ourselves, and all life. If we pollute the waters then nothing can drink from them. “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ― John Muir
We should live EVERY day with our planet in mind, being more conscious of how we use our limited resources, the things we purchase, and the things we waste. We have exceeded our carrying capacity. It is time. We need to wake up and realize that we cannot thoughtless consume. Ecosystem services….the air we breathe, the water we drink, climate regulation, biodiversity, the parts that are difficult to put a monetary value upon…are vital to life itself. It has been estimated that the actual financial value of these services would be much greater than the U.S. national debt…but can you really put a value on potable water? Of trees that absorb carbon dioxide and give us oxygen to breathe in return? What’s that worth?
It’s worth your life.
In nature, in wilderness, there is a beauty and calmness that fills your heart and soul…a sense of belonging, communion, and place. We should appreciate all that Earth has to offer us and give thanks by nurturing and protecting it. Conceivably, if we all got outside a bit more….or preferably a lot more, we could sever some of the disconnect that we have from the world around us. Touch the bark of a tree, gaze upwards into its limbs, and understand the complexity of services that it provides…then remember that moment when recycling papers seems too time consuming, or when you decide that two people need a 3500 square foot home. “The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see.” ― Edward Abbey
Open your eyes, your mind, and your heart.
You will see something wondrous…let’s protect it.