When I was a boy and then a teenager in the 50’s and 60’s, there was an attitude of “let’s save the birds because we love the birds. Let’s save the woods because we love the trees. Let’s save the Adirondack lakes because we love their beauty, and the life that they produce.”
Now it seems that there is panic rising to save the planet, more based on fear than on love. I suspect that if we move forward with fear based motivation rather than love based leadership we will likely go down a path that does not serve us in the best possible way.
The death of the coral reefs, the decline of savanna and the steady reduction of forests around the world is like an illness striking the various organs of the planet. Imagine that the warming oceans resulting in the migration of lobsters to unknown territory, and the pumping of millions of tons of carbon into the surrounding envelope of air that we call atmosphere is attacking the immune system of Gaia. Burning off the rainforests is like teenagers today vaping unknown substances, sucking them deep into their lungs and creating disease and loss of good health for the breathing system. As we damage her organs, we are putting stress on the living earth. It’s no wonder that hurricanes are increasing in frequency and intensity, no surprise, then, that monsoons rage and wildfires proliferate. Perhaps it is Gaia’s immune system repulsing the disease.
I believe that the Earth is a living organism, and all of the millions of species of plants and animals, insects and sea life, trees and winged ones are like the millions of bacteria and organisms living within we humans. Each of these organisms that are a part of our makeup and a part of a healthy, fully functioning human body, are essential for long life. They each play a role, most beyond our current understanding.
So, too, it is with the great blue heron, the snap dragon, the turnip, the sloth and the oysters. Sometimes we have some introspection as to the purpose of various organisms on this great blue ball. For the most part, we are clueless.
It is really easy for me to become fearful as I witness the slow but accelerating loss of species around the world. I mourn for what my grandkids and great granddaughter Aria will not benefit from. There will be fewer critters for them to connect with, to view with astonishment and wonder. There will be a less well stocked medicine cabinet that originates in the natural world. The cascading effect of biodiversity loss is simply beyond our imagination. We have no clue.
Still, I believe if I put my focus on what I don’t want, I skew the energy in a negative way. It is as if a part of me exists in desperation, a swimmer fighting for the shore with a 20 pound weight on each foot. If I shift my energy towards imagining the world that I want to see, the one that I want the future generations to benefit from, then each victory, regardless of how large or small becomes like a boogie board for that swimmer stroking towards safety.
The world that I envision when my great granddaughter is my age (that will be in 2086) includes the vast majority of fossil fuels being locked up under the surface of the earth. It includes expanding, healthy forests, rainforests, savannahs, and wetlands on each continent. This vision sees clean, fresh water readily available as common property to people all over the world. The world I see for Aria will include tracts of every ecosystem, far more vast than what we currently have, protected and embraced for providing a home to a huge population of biodiversity. The world I envision is one where the natural disasters become less frequent and less severe. I see cooperation between all nations for the good of the entire living planet, for all of her inhabitants. I long for the day when most of the human population strives for preservation. Let’s hurry.
Steve Aman, The Wandering Bobcat