Earth on fire

Author: David D. Ramjohn, Special to the Record

Date: April 20, 2018

In recognition of Earth Day 2018 (this Sunday), I sought out that unique planet we humans call home to hear the planet’s perspectives on life on Earth.

Me: Thank you so much for agreeing to speak to me.

Earth: My pleasure; it’s not every day that one of you tries to see things from my perspective. You’re usually so caught up in yourselves that you have no idea what others might be going through.

Me: You are so right. I must apologize on behalf of all of us. But we do have occasions such as “Earth Day,” which celebrates and recognizes you.

Earth: Whoop de doo…yay for me…one day that allows humans to self-aggrandize with token activities that achieve nothing then go back to 364 days of treating me like dirt.

Me: You certainly sound unimpressed and angry with us. What can we do to change your opinion of us?

Earth: Unimpressed-yes; Angry-no. I honestly have no opinion about you; I barely think of you at all. If anything, I pity you for your ignorance and arrogance and delusions of grandeur.

Me: Those are severe condemnations. And to hear that Planet Earth barely thinks of us is quite disconcerting. But how are we ignorant, arrogant and deluding ourselves?

Earth: I tell it like I see it. Your reaction is that of a species sure of its rightful domination. Why do you think I would spare any thought for you? And why would your shallow celebration of occasions like “Earth Day” mean anything to me? You are ignorant of the true repercussions to yourselves of your continued destruction of the services freely given to you by me. And you are arrogant enough to think that you can either destroy or save me. As for delusions, you consider yourselves to be the most important species on the planet…but let me tell you; you’re not, not by a long shot.

Me: I’m sorry.

Earth: Why are you apologizing to me? You should be apologizing to the generations to come, the ones who will inherit the chaos that you and generations before have created. You were gifted clean air, clean water, healthy soils…everything you needed to live and you promptly proceeded to destroy all those resources. But not only that, you destroyed my ability to continue giving you those resources. You cut down trees, polluted the oceans, lakes and rivers, and killed the microorganisms in soil and water that form the base of the ecosystems that provide all the services you take for granted.

Me: I’m sorry we hurt you.

Earth: [laughing] hurt me?? Hurt me you say?? Now that’s funny. I guess that’s why none of you really understand why you need to change. You think that you are hurting me and the task of “saving the planet” is so daunting that most of you decide that it’s not your problem, you can’t do it, and you give up and go on with your business as usual. So, listen very carefully; I’m only going to say this once: you are not hurting me—you are hurting yourselves; and I don’t need saving—but you do. What do you think is going to happen when all the clean water is gone, when the air is polluted and void of oxygen, when there is no soil left to grow anything, when the temperatures go haywire and weather becomes merciless? Do you really think I’m the one going away? [laughing hysterically] …no wonder you can’t get anyone to change. Get this through your heads—you are destroying the support systems that allowed you to be here in the first place and when that happens it’s you that goes away.

Me: Well that’s terrifying.

Earth: Finally!! Me: So, what do we do?

Earth: Change your perspectives and actions. Change your patterns of resource use and disposal. Look at the other species on the planet. Do any of them use more resources than they need? Do they use resources not in their vicinity? Does the word “waste” exist for them? You are no more important than the bacteria in the soil or the microalgae in the water. Understand that no amount of picking up trash on the beach or along the highways one day a year will make any difference— you have to stop creating the trash in the first place. Do you get what I’m saying? Stop being superficial, treating the symptoms alone; identify the root causes and fix them. Stop treating the resources at your disposal like resources at your disposal. Use them and put them back the way you found them. You’re smart… you can figure out how to do that.

Me: Looks like we have an awful lot to do.

Earth: You might have more to undo than to do. But if you can change your way of thinking and doing, if you stop seeing life as linear and instead see that it’s a cycle, then you have some hope of saving your place here. If you don’t then it’s your funeral not mine.

David Ramjohn is the Chief Executive Officer of AlgEternal Technologies, which is located in La Grange.

Source: The Fayette County Record

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