The Daily Planet

Awareness, Appreciation, and Action.   I have an idea about awareness.  Here’s the issue: our culture has gotten so technical and anthropocentric that we are no longer aware of the changes and events of the planet.  We live mostly in cities, far removed from wilderness or even farmland and our connection to the earth.  We are more aware of Lindsay Lohan’s activity in the fashion world than we are of the seasonal changes happening in the natural world.   I get “news” items popping up on my browser all the time about some celebrity and her latest beau or who was seen wearing the same red dress and who wore it better.  OMG!  Is this news?  I don’t think so.  What if I could replace all those items with some news about the natural world?  What is happening in monarch migration, for example.   Or how are various species preparing for the winter?  Who hibernates, who sleeps, who migrates, who stays put?  And I would want local news for each area.  We know so little about our local ecology.  What if we had a daily conservation report similar to the Dow Jones?  How are soils doing in my area?  How is the water and the air?  What species became extinct today across the nation?   Which species are making a comeback?   The Old Farmer’s Almanac is still being published; it covers weather patterns, moon cycles and gardening advice.  How many people still read even this much information about the earth?  We just had a gorgeous harvest moon last night.  How many people in my city know what a “harvest moon” is, and how many do you suppose looked up and noticed it?   More to the point: how many care?

An American goldfinch takes his daily echinacea

Caring for our planet is our responsibility.  The Bible talks about stewardship, Buddhism talks about respecting all of life.  As technology advances, it seems that we develop new and more elaborate ways to abuse and exploit the planet faster than we come up with ways to protect it and safeguard its resources.  How backwards is that?  Carl Sagan wonders in his Cosmos series if the reason we haven’t been contacted by other intelligent life forms is that once a civilization develops to the point of having the technology necessary for galactic space travel, they have destroyed themselves and their planet in the process.  A sobering thought.

I care.  I want to be more aware.  I appreciate lots and want to know more.  Most of all, I want to know what actions I can take to really do something about the care of our planet.  I figured education would be a good place to start.  Tomorrow I’m off to the Wehr Nature Center to help run a field trip program about insects.  What do you know about creatures who “Fly, Flutter and Crawl”?   Would that kind of information be more important to you than knowing which celebrity pasta sauces scored highest in a taste test?  Just wondering, not judging.

4 thoughts on “The Daily Planet

  1. How many Chinese people are there in your city? The Harvest Moon festival is a major event here, including a parade. Gazing at that big, fat, luminous, beautiful orb and stuffing yourself moon-faced with big, fat, delicious, beautiful mooncakes is what it’s all about.

    We who live in cities must work a little harder to keep in touch with the earth. However, those of us on the awareness/appreciation/action bandwagon know that by choosing to live in a high-density housing environment we are doing less to encroach on wilderness spaces. We are fortunate in that the moon smiles down on us too, and even amid the competition of city lights, that glorious face can’t help but be a delight.

  2. There are some sites that give you a degree of control over what type of information they will pop up at you. But sadly, I haven’t seen a lot of nature-related options out there.

    I remember a girl from the Midwest in my department at school, from Illinois I think, maybe downstate… She had her family at home mail her some red and brown autumn leaves, probably oak, huge ones anyway. They were to remind her of home, since we “don’t get those here.” One of the leaves was very much like one that Dad found on our street and brought in, and later put on the Christmas tree during the last Christmas he was still at the house in Los Gatos. He was so taken with the size and brilliant red color, and it lit up the front room the way the whole row of red trees along the neighbors’ property lights up the street in the fall. Anyway, the girl who somehow thought there weren’t autumn leaves in California had to ask for them shipped from a couple thousand miles away, but apparently hadn’t been outside that one neighborhood of San Francisco enough to have seen the country around here — some of which runs right up to the city. I’m not sure what that means, but I thought of it just now because there are a lot of things near to us that we keep missing. Technology gives us many things, but so many of them are distractions from what we already have here and now.

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