Dear Blogosphere, I’d like to have a conversation. It’s going to be a one-sided conversation, seeing how no one really reads my blog, but I want to have it anyway. I want to talk about us, as a people. Not as black or white, male or female, gay or straight, of a certain religion, as American or Brazilian, but as citizens of the planet.
To begin our conversation, picture me sitting at my laptop on a stormy night. As I was feeding my addiction to social media this evening, I came across the following photo-
I normally ignore these chain-mail inspired “words of wisdom” because frankly, they are faithfully stupid and a waste of good reading time I could be using to catch up on a friend’s daily life or delve into a book. I read this one for some reason, clicked “like”, and scrolled on.
As the thunder continued to shake the walls of my apartment in the midst of a really intense storm growing more serious, literally, by the second, I ignored the emergency alert system texts that continued to beep from my phone across the room while reading Facebook status after status about people in my area hiding in their basements, watching trees go down in their backyards, making funny comments about ” playing Little House on the Prairie” because their power was out. Read, like, scroll.
As I ended my ten minute social media update check, my mind went back to that photo-quote. I clicked back over to Facebook, found it once more, and thought something I’ve pondered many times- what in the fuck are we doing to ourselves?
At this point, you’re probably either thinking, “oh great, another environmentalist about to go all Captain Planet on us…” or “oh great, someone about to rant about a topic I already agree with him on and don’t need to waste time reading…” I’m not here to do that. I love planet Earth, but I’m not an obsessive eco-terrorist here to try to impress you with a vast memory bank of carbon related facts or animal extinction rates. All I’m here to do is to ask you, try to convince you, of one small very small thing, but I’ll get to that later.
Reader, there is no need for me to expound upon the quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson pictured above. He is a much more intelligent man than I, and a much better writer as well. I feel it would be almost rude of me to try to make a better statement than he. But I’d like to ask how we have gotten to this point.
Even as I type, mother nature is confirming to me that she is pissed, and she means business. Lightening is flashing though my window like a dance club strobe light, and the thunder… It’s an undescribable sound. Not just shaking the earth, but booming so loudly it’s exciting even the molecules in the air, almost as if you can feel them, collectively, brushing up against your leg or rustling your hair. The tornado warning continues to cry from my phone and hell is breaking loose outside. Why have we continued to turn a blind eye to the havoc we as humans are reeking on our only home?
In all fairness, I should give an abridged background about the area I live in. The hills of East Tennessee are no stranger to thunderstorms. Its not rare for us to see as much rain as Seattle through out parts of the year, and the thick masses of vegetation and forestry are lucky enough to rarely experience drought.
Growing up, I remember a few isolated instances where my parents would be watching TV, being interrupted by a emergency weather alert, and once the storm hit you could see the worry in their faces, trying to stay calm for their children but knowing that it could become dangerous very quickly. On one of those occasions, we even saw a funnel cloud forming over the ridge that sits in front of our family home. Summer storms are a part of life where I live.
The alarming thing about these storms is not that they are happening. It’s the rate and intensity in which they are happening. As my area of the world gets pounded by incredibly sever weather once, twice a week at minimum, California is going through sever drought. Wild fires rage through Washington state. Drastic weather change producing shortages in avocados, limes, mangoes, and other tropical fruit while typhoons wipe out Pacific islands. To deny that something is amiss, that our planet isn’t changing at an alarming rate, has become foolish.
How much more can the planet take? Picture Earth as a human body. How many toxins can a body breath into its lungs, how much oil and debris can a bloodstream flush, how many holes can you dig into the skin and extract a body’s resources before it no longer is a livable body? How close are we to that time of death?
Reader, I feel like I’ve probably already lost you. I’ve got more to say, but it’s already been said by many before me, and I’ve lost my train of thought in the midst of Stormaggedon continuing to rage outside. I also see this unedited mess of stream of consciousness going south before my eyes. But before I end our conversation, I want to go back to that thing I said I was going to ask of you.
Do one small thing a day to make our planet a better place to live. Whether you believe in man-made climate change or not, one thing a day. Cut the plastic can holders on your six packs so they don’t entangle animals. Cut your shower concert one minute short to save some limited clean water. Don’t ask the grocery store clerk to bag your milk gallon and save a bag. One tiny thought per day adds up to 365 tiny thoughts a year that go toward making our home a cleaner, better place to live.