Earth Day is like Mother’s Day in some ways. Somehow, in the hustle and bustle of day to day life we forget about what is really important in life. Shouldn’t we be valuing Earth every day?
But it isn’t easy to remember. Sure, in the hunter and gatherer days, the Earth very clearly provided and thus was valued each day for the plants and animals it produced. Today, however, food is shipped in from faraway places; energy comes to us magically through power outlets; and products come assembled in beautiful packaging. We don’t see the multiplying dead zones in oceans, the growing deserts in fertile areas, or the poisoned water supplies. Companies hide the ugliness from a public eye hypnotized by sleek new consumer products. Furthermore, Earth day is not just about the environment. Beneath the degradation of the resources is a degradation of the human spirit. Slave labourers, ethnic cleansing, market and religious fundamentalism are all an outgrowth of forgetting about Mother Earth.
Remembering is hard. A human being rich or poor doesn’t need much to believe in their way of life, and thus who would be willing to believe that their way of life is destructive? And who among those is willing to take responsibility for their destruction?
I know I forget easily, and I often don’t take responsibility. But luckily there are journalists who report on the destruction. There are investigators who bring to light the companies who act destructively. There are regulators who stand up to the oligarchy. There are engineers trying to find a better way. There are activists who keep it top of mind. There are messengers who share the stories. They remind me and ask me the hard question: what is your role as a keeper of the human spirit?
It’s a question I hope to ask and answer every day until the end of my days.
Thanks to Greg for his blog in getting me to pause and think about today.