Today is Earth Day. Happily, here in my small, local patch of Earth, it is a beautiful day. The Sun has shined brightly since this morning, the sky bright blue with soft white clouds. Thanks to the rain of the last few days, the grass is a lush green, and the trees are displaying their springtime blossoms in all their shapes, sizes, and colors. A gentle breeze has come and gone throughout the afternoon. What a fortunate people we are to exist at all, nevermind in such an exquisite habitat.
With today being so lovely, and Earth Day to boot, it’s easy to reflect on the fabulous luck of our species. Yes, the weather is not always this nice; in some regions of the planet, it is never this nice. We suffer from hurricanes and earthquakes and floods, and a thousand other things which those of us who tend to romanticize nature are all too quick to ignore. But think of how overwhelmingly the good outweighs the bad: We live on a planet that provides for our every need, that offers us the natural resources to feed and clothe and house ourselves, to manufacture virtually anything we could possibly imagine. In nearly every environment on the planet, except those destroyed by our own depridations, we find breathtaking natural beauty, a diverse abundance of life, from the tiniest single-celled organisms to creatures larger than many of our buildings. And even in those places where our industries have wreaked havoc on the natural landscape, we can see grass growing up through cracks in concrete, we can see insects crawling and birds nesting — pests, annoyances, but also stirring evidence of the resilience of life on Earth.
The Earth is our home, and our progenitor. It is our mother, not in the mystical, spiritual sense, but literally. We are all — all of us: people, animals, fish, trees — the descendants of the first life on Earth, which was much humbler than the simplest organisms alive today, but from which all the spectacular variety of modern life has evolved. We are all cousins, sharing a common heritage with every other living thing that exists on the planet — it’s not New Age hippie bullshit — it’s a scientific fact.
So let’s listen to the environmental concerns that this day is typically used to publicize, and let’s act on them. We do have rivers to clean up, and smog to reduce, and trees to plant. We should do these things not for political reasons, not to advocate some narrow agenda, and not because some dire catastrophe looms if we don’t. Why must our own destruction be iminent for us to act responsibly toward the environment? Can’t we be cleaner and use our resources more efficiently because it’s the right thing to do, because preserving the natural beauty around us is a worthy goal unto itself? I hope so.
Happy Earth Day.
A natural beauty should be preserved
like a monument to nature
Don't judge yourself too harsh,
Or someday you might find
your soul endangered