That’s the first nightmare I can remember having. Progress was my boogeyman. Perhaps I was born an environmentalist. Along with the nightmare was my first experience of anxiety. It commenced to be my companion, triggered by a feeling that I couldn’t hold back humanity’s need and therefore protect the animal kingdom and the smallest amongst us from our wrath.
As I grew older I started to see more and more of this destruction in my path, forests with deer in them were becoming residential neighborhoods. Wetlands where the birds return to every spring were being filled in and developed. I wondered how people could be so insensitive as to just take away habitat like that. I was sensitive to it; it made no sense to me, our destructive ways.
As an adult I began to understand the driving force behind destruction. I was born into a world with 3.5 billion people on it. The population has doubled in my lifetime. Young couples are still dreaming of getting married and having children and the majority of us long for a big house with lots of stuff in it.
We go to the zoo and marvel at the beauty of the animal kingdom, but when it comes to our space and our perceived needs and rights as human beings, we have no mercy.
If I could change one thing about humanity it would be to develop a compassion gene. A compassion gene would stop wars, it would halt what we call ‘progress’ and connect us to the ecosystems where our fellow earth inhabitants live and try to thrive. It would make us question whether making more people is the right thing to do. It may even create an element of happiness within, a foundation for living a loving existence; an end to insatiable need, and a place for gratitude to take its rightful place in our lives.
Sunday is a day of worship in many places on earth. We worship our Gods and we give thanks. But really, have we missed the point that we are acting like spoiled little children, taking this great place and ripping it to shreds? Have we missed the perils we’ve created here? The volatile weather, the droughts, the loss of more habitat and life saving pristine forests responsible for our very air?
Today as we give thanks, I think we should be thankful we haven’t destroyed the ENTIRE planet yet, we should give thanks for the foresight that we can’t go on consuming the earth at a record pace, and we should give thanks for the growing desire in us to change the way we show up here, paving the way for innovation instead of knocking it down for reasons we don’t even understand.
Why? Because it is truly up to us. Our earth mates are counting on us. The little girl in me, is counting on us.