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?
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.