It’s strange to think that out of three hundred and sixty five days we dedicate only one to awareness of our earth’s limited resources and what we can do to minimize the harmful effect that we have on them. For more than forty years, since it’s inception, Earth Day has served as a day of awareness and for more than forty years it has become increasingly more important that we pay attention to how we have impacted the world in which we live.
So many of us live our lives without ever thinking about how our actions not only affect the lives of those around us, but the very ground beneath our feet, the air within our lungs, and the lives of smaller beings. We never really think about how our earth is literally and figuratively the foundation of our lives. Everything we wear, consume, or come into contact with has come from the earth in some way. We collectively throw away over twenty million tons of food every year and in 2009 alone the inhabitants of this planet produced enough waste to circle the entire planet twenty-four times.
If the earth is so integral to how we live our lives, why do we treat it as if it is disposable? Why do we continually misuse and abuse it? Why do we take for granted everything that it provides us with: fresh air, countless resources, and (inarguably) our lives? Is it because we don’t care or because are we lazy? Maybe it’s a little of both. Or maybe it’s because we’re too afraid to face the idea of a world that can no longer sustain itself so we choose to ignore the problem altogether.
The sad reality is that if we continue to ignore the problem, it won’t go away. It will only get worse until it reaches a point where we can no longer fix what we’ve broken. There is a line from The Lorax that says “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” And while we may laugh at the idea of a children’s book addressing such a serious issue, we cannot ignore the gravity of the words that this character speaks. It is our responsibility to ourselves and to others to respect what we have been given and to treat this earth as we would treat our own children: with love, kindness, and even caution. If we stop caring, as so many of us already have, we are doomed to not only remain in the predicament we are in with dwindling resources and catastrophic global changes but to an even greater decline in the near future.
Earth Day shouldn’t be one day of the year; we shouldn’t reserve our care and duties to this planet to one day out of every three hundred and sixty five. Each day we should be conscious of what we are doing to either help or hurt this planet from pollution and energy conservation to excessive expansion of urbanized areas. Our actions have consequences more dire than most people are willing to acknowledge or accept. Unless we begin to see this and act with conviction and as advocates for our voiceless planet, we’ll continue living in a dying world.
Think about what you can do to reduce, reuse, and recycle. As strange as it sounds, maybe together we can make a difference.
Until next time…stay classy.
– C.M. Berry