Every year, we mark it down on our calendars and celebrate it over our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Social media news-feeds blossom with memes, quotes, and articles on how we can take better care of the only planet we can call home. Hearts are filled with a new intention: be more eco-friendly. It seems as if a new wave washes over us, and the old habits of buying plastic or tossing paper into a regular bin are now taboo sins of the new age. We change, or we remind ourselves to, at least.
Earth Day hugs the core of what we, as humans, crave. Balance. When you peel away the materialistic desires, the hustle and bustle of everyday living; you can’t help but find solace and harmony in nature. It’s everything. It’s what keeps our internal rhythm from busting at the seams.
In that same respect, Earth Day is just as much about the other species inhabiting this wonderful ball of life. The animals that we share the Earth with are being, for lack of a better representation, thrown to the sidelines.
As pet owners, we dedicate our time, money, and clothes/shoes/couches to furry companions that will have our hearts and souls until their very end. We adore them, we equate our own needs with theirs because we don’t see their lives as anything less in worth than our own, and we advocate for them and their rights with every petition and every protest.
This, however, begs the cliché-old question: what about the animals in the wild? If we look at statistical data, there are more wild animals on the list of endangered species now than ever before – birds, mammals, amphibians, even coral reefs in our oceans. They are all at stake, our stake. Their survival affects the entire structural organisation of our planet, not to mention our very own existence and health.
Think for the earth, not yourself
Next time that you see a honey bee, remember that their extinction essentially spells out doom for the human race. Granted, the course of such a radical extinction of people is something that would unfold over a significant amount of time, but that doesn’t give us the cosiness to smack that bee into oblivion because it annoys us, or worse yet, support chemically-destructive spraying that kills its kind by the millions.
We cut trees and spray the rest, we pour concrete onto vast fields because shopping centers and parking lots are apparently essential to how we live happily ever after. We pay money to see elephants, tigers, and orcas jump through hoops and balance on beach balls. Giddily, we jump into tiny pools to swim with dolphins who we think are happy to see us, and worst of all, we turn our heads when articles like this are published because it is far easier to see a world through rose-tinted glasses than to accept the fact that this is our reality. Nay, this is the reality we’ve created.
This Earth Day, I invite you to feel the reality of our present situation. In that connecting moment, when we reach out with a true desire to align our values with that of nature, we cut our ties with greed, selfishness, and separation. Don’t look away. Catch yourself when you try to justify to your friends, family, or even to yourself that that elephant is happily cared for after the show or that the dog left in the cardboard box will eventually find a new owner, because…hey, dogs are scrappy like that.
When you see the problem for what it is, you gain the courage and the clarity to stand up for a solution. What’s more human than that?