Earth better off without us?
Vail CO, Colorado
So I had this great letter written for Earth Day. It was all planned out. I was going to write on how 37 years ago Sen. Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day to drum up political support for the depleting state of the environment. And that how now, thanks to global warming, we finally had that support.
Then it occurred to me that maybe Earth Day shouldn’t be just about the environment anymore and that given our current state of political partisanship, maybe the political arena was not the place for drumming up support either. Certainly global warming is a significant problem. It may be the single most important issue facing the future of our species, however; climate change and more specifically the term “global warming” have become so politically involved that in the continual debate over the subtleties of each, little is actually being accomplished. And then there are the other major worldly challenges: poverty, disease, terrorism and war to name just a few.
Shouldn’t we do something about those as well? I began to wonder where all of these problems came from. Who caused all of this? The answer of course is that we did. These are man-made problems, all of them. Our mere presence on the Earth has done more to destroy its fragile social and environmental fabrics than anything else.
It occurred to me that our lives on Earth serve one purpose. Though we sit on the highest pillar of the food chain our existence on this wonderful planet benefits only us. The problems we pretend to be solving would not be problems at all had we never created them. Poverty, war, global warming, we did that. Now the entire planet is made to suffer.
In the delicate web of life there seems to exist a harmony, a balance of predator and prey, of life and death. The end of one cycle brings life to another. We are beginning to disrupt that cycle. We can no longer ignore the fact that despite the tremendous amount of importance our egos allow us to possess, we are really not all that important. We are privileged to live in this world, privileged to lead the lives we lead. The planet doesn’t need us. We need it. Have you ever sat down and thought about what the world would be like without the human race? The natural world is fragile. It is complex. Its foundation is built on life forms we routinely squash under our shoes or on our windshields.
If the world were suddenly void of humans it would flourish. If it were void of insects it would not survive. The major threats to our existence and to the existence of all of Earth’s creatures are a direct result of human action or in many cases human inaction. Our selfish and thoughtless behaviors lead us to this point.
We must now act together with compassion and integrity in a new direction. We can no longer afford to sit idly by.
Forget politics, global warming and Earth Day. A reason is not necessary to argue the truth. This is an issue of consciousness, of living with purpose and thought. It is not about one cause or one designated day. It is about our lives on Earth and their effect on the planet both socially and environmentally.
Doubt has clouded the issues and provided an excuse for inaction. No longer. There is no doubt that we can and must be better stewards to this planet. We each have a responsibility to act, whether it be picking up trash rather than walking by it, or writing your congressman in support of renewable energy. There is something out there for each of us. Find yours.
Ryan Sutter of Avon writes a biweekly column for the Vail Daily. Send comments or questions to email@example.com.