Today on Earth day I find myself sitting
with mixed feelings.
On one hand we can celebrate clean air, and the fact that the Himalayas are more visible than ever during this Quarantine. We can now see clearly that Los Angeles is more than one giant smog cloud when people lessen their carbon footprint. We can giggle seeing animals freely roaming, no longer being contained by our human boundaries and cement buildings acting as fortresses intended to keep nature out.
We can’t get our hair cut professionally, but we can step outside and be thankful for sunlight outside of our dimly lit apartments, with four—all too familiar—walls. Although, it may feel like chaos all around us, there is a lot to be thankful for, and the earth we live on is one very big reason to be thankful. We have life, because of the earth. We can thank the earth for its perfect distance from the sun, allowing us to exist.
The turmoil that bothers me today, on Earth day, is it seems Earth doesn’t want us here.
There is debate over the genesis of this pandemic covid19 virus, but regardless it is spreading as virus’ do- by the transmission of germs- thus we must respect the natural order of nature. Germs are sneaky. Virus’ are ruthless. Plants get sick. Virus’ can infect any living organism. It is hard to find out where the first virus came from, but is believed to have developed between insects millions of years ago and developed since then: evolving and expanding (Scientific American). We can’t avoid the fact that sickness is on the planet, but we do have to learn how to live harmoniously with it.
So, basically, humanity isn’t to blame for bringing sickness into this world, but we are responsible for its upkeep. And it doesn’t seem like we have been doing a very good job. For example, waste is still an issue. Humanity seems more concerned with marketing the next big idea for profit than picking up trash from the sidewalk (at this time I would only recommend picking up strange trash with gloves). When visiting Nepal several years ago, it broke my heart to see Lays chips bags littering the streets. Large companies want to sell products around the world, but they don’t want to pick up after themselves. Not all countries have a system for trash, therefore it ends up in landfill, streets, sides of the road, rivers, lakes, and the ocean.
Have you not seen trash island?
We consume, and consume, without thinking about where each item we touch will end up.
This mirrors the issue we are having with germs during this pandemic. We touch countless surfaces without thinking who touched it before or who will touch it after us. We don’t generally keep track of what our fingers touch in a day, until we are forced to change every single habit because of it.
Everything we do matters.
It was hard for me to think of the Earth today and not feel like I am impeding on her existence, but I can learn to be aware of my actions. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is to be aware of all our actions, to re-prioritize what is necessary and essential in our own lives.
Yes, it is devastating what is happening to the economy, but let’s think about nature first.
Nature isn’t happy and humanity is currently facing these repercussions. Covid19 is only doing its job- because it is a virus- all it knows how to do is spread. It makes me ask myself, what is my job? What do I exist to do? If my one small breath gets to exist on this beautiful rotating sphere of vast oceans and dense forests, why, for what purpose?
Perhaps some of us could use this isolation time to ask ourselves these big questions. People finding their purpose to help the world is becoming evident all around us. Seeing people at the food bank passing out food with masks and gloves, the countless doctors and nurses who are working frontline with this pandemic, and even our political leaders who are quickly adapting and making changes to save lives shows that we have purpose. We can make a difference. Now, I am not recommending you begin feeling guilty for not helping and go volunteer somewhere. Truthfully the only way to stop the spread of a virus this big is to stay home—if you are able. The irony for many is choosing to stay home instead of your normal life routine is saving lives. This is what you can do to help.
We are all making big sacrifices to make our planet a healthy place again. While we are saving humanity, we are seeing more clearly what mother nature needs as well.
Earth needs less commuting for clean air.
Earth needs proper recycling, compost and trash to clean the streets and oceans.
Earth needs less plastic (Hint refillable water bottles and reusable bags).
Earth needs trees to breath and create habitat for many animals.
Earth has much to offer us, but what can we offer earth?
Happy Earth Day.
What role do you play?
Earth Photo: Old Farmer's Almanac. (n.d.). Earth Day 2020. Retrieved from https://www.almanac.com/content/earth-day-date-activities-history
Himalayas Photo: Republic World. (2020, April 11). Fact Check: Are Himalayas visible from Jalandhar after 30 years? Retrieved from https://www.republicworld.com/fact-check/coronavirus/fact-check-are-the-himalayas-visible-from-jalandhar-after-30-years.html
Sheep Photo: Rogers, Z. (2020, April 22). Photographer: 'Even sheep are having McDonald's withdrawal'. Retrieved from https://katv.com/news/offbeat/photographer-even-sheep-are-having-mcdonalds-withdrawal-in-south-wales
Trash Island Photo: Miller, H. (2017, November 2). Watch: Photographer discovers two miles of garbage floating in the Caribbean. Retrieved from https://matadornetwork.com/watch/2-mile-trash-island-found-caribbean/
Where did viruses come from? (2008, March 27). Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/experts-where-did-viruses-come-fr/