It is Earth Day today – officially, that is – and that means many things: that many people actively think about their world today, that they may feel inspired to make changes that will help heal it and keep it alive, that even though Volkswagen Canada pushed some car-related trend to top trend on Twitter (yes, they did), #EarthDay occupies the second spot, not because of money-inflated campaigns but because people make it so. That is powerful.
Over the last two months I have been observing the effects that two words have on people. Say climate change and some will jump right in the middle of the conversation, while others shift their gaze and sail out of it as it happens with taboos, because that is what climate change often reminds me of. A couple of states in the US have banned the very words, while here in Canada, the very words are spoken with gusto only by those who have no ties with the fossil fuel industry or the seemingly irreplaceable benefits such resources bring to our everyday life.
Everybody knows that dependency is a dirty word that becomes even dirtier when the environment becomes collateral damage. And it does, whether we admit it or not.
The damage, some would say, is already big enough, is it not, while others still argue that perhaps there is no such thing as human activity-induced climate change and what we see is merely normal phenomena of our world.
I will not dwell on the latter. The fact that March was the hottest on record prevents me from it. As we stand now, and we will, likely, for a few more decades at least, there are no additional options when it comes to living quarters, a reality that cannot be twisted in any way even by the most fervent deniers. This is it, our home. The Earth.
What helps then, putting things in perspective? Here’s what changes mine and keeps me motivated to never give up:
Children, mine included. They deserve better than a declining world. Their minds are eager to learn and their compassion levels run high. If we teach them early, by example, that wants and needs are as different as night and day, and happiness never comes from opening a package or owning yet one more thing, they’ll go after the real thing: connection. With themselves, with people and with the world.
That all resources on Earth are finite. Matter – that means liquid, gas, solid – transforms constantly and nothing in our world disappears but becomes something else. We have the power (and technology, for most part) to choose processes and resources that improve our world rather than destroy it. Think fossil fuels and pollution versus renewable, non-polluting energy, think plastic and pollution versus reducing consumerism and garbage. Think health versus… Wait, nothing to set that against. True conversation starters indeed.
That nature is resilient. Which means that silly kids that we are, we have been abusing it for long enough, yet, should we change our ways, things will get better. Slowly, but they will, and that is reason enough.
That if the environment suffers, we suffer too. No revolutionary medication and treatments can make up for clean water, air and soil and no amount of money can buy a livable world. Ours was and still is good enough so it makes sense to keep it alive. Everything we create (plastic, pesticides, chemicals used for various purposes) stays with us, whether in the same form or a different one. Every action comes with reaction and if we have once accepted that as truth, why not apply it and make our actions positive ones. It only gets better from there onward if we do.
I am stubborn enough to believe that our survival instinct will prevail. It has to.
PS: Happy 364 Earth days more until the next April 22 comes around…It is when it becomes an everyday thing that it matters the most.