The Guardian (Charlottetown)
Living on the edge
Earth and all life on it are related and connected
Earth is so incredibly special. We must learn to appreciate Earth’s vibrant life and our far-reaching role in it. We are more a part of Earth than we like to believe, and we urgently need a change to a more natural and healthier lifestyle for life on Earth, including our own, to thrive. Not just on Earth Day, but every day!
Extraordinary conditions make Earth so incredibly special. Earth has vast amounts of water with ingredients necessary for life. Earth is just the right distance from a sun to benefit from heat and energy that enables photosynthesis and water not to evaporate or freeze. Earth has plate tectonics to create diverse land masses, underwater energy, and work with an atmosphere to regulate gases. An atmosphere, along with a magnetic field, to protect against excessive radiation. Planetary neighbours stabilize Earth’s rotation, generate ocean tides and protect it from meteors and asteroids. After decades of searching, we have yet to find this delicate balancing act anywhere else in the universe. Earth is exceptionable and we ought to be deeply grateful that we even exist.
Earth is oceans and land masses veined with rivers and lakes, all enveloped by atmosphere. At its best, Earth is alive with healthy ecosystems consisting of a complex interconnection of millions of microorganisms, invertebrates, fungi, plants, and animals, including us. Earth is every living being playing its role to provide nourishment or support for each other to thrive. A tree grows thanks to energy from the sun and nutrients in the soil. Birds and animals eat the tree’s fruit, spreading its seeds and fertilizing the soil. Earth’s ecosystems deserve more than our sincerest gratitude. Earth must be vigilantly safeguarded to ensure clean air, water, food, medicine and shelter is available for us to survive.
We share the same basic ingredients with Earth. Plants and animals, including us, essentially consist of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, while the air we breath is mostly nitrogen and oxygen. DNA analysis corroborates that all things on Earth are comprised of similar genetic material. Science verifies what Indigenous people have known all along, that Earth and all life on it are related and connected. We are of the Earth! Like family, Earth and all life deserves our respect and devotion.
For over a 100 thousand years we lived in harmony with the natural world, however, over the last 100 years or so we have become an aggressively dominate species, unnaturally separating ourselves from Earth and our fellow living beings. We have lost our way, perverted by the delusion that we simply exist for self-gratification and little else matters. Our selfish desires have led us down a destructive path of over-consumption resulting in excessive resource extraction, deforestation, burning of fossil fuels, industrialized agriculture, overfishing and polluting of land and sea with our plastic and other waste. The devastating consequences of our actions now threaten the survival of all Earth inhabitants. Suffering from biodiversity loss, climate change and ocean acidification, Earth is on the brink of collapse.
If we continue to cannibalize Earth, our descendants will have insufficient resources — namely clean water, air and land — to survive. It's time for a lifestyle re-prioritization towards increased humanity. We are capable of compassion, sympathy, and generosity, however, we have not "given" much to Earth lately, while we have certainly "taken" our unfair share! As the most intelligent and powerful beings alive, we have a profound responsibility to become stewards of, or better yet, partners with Earth.
Joining environmental groups give us the opportunity to make amends, as well as give purpose and meaning to our lives. Let us care for and learn to co-exist with all Earth life. Indigenous people can help lead the way. Indigenous society explains that our first obligation in life is caring for the Earth. This can be characterized by: Taking only what we need; sharing any surplus; replacing what we take; letting the Earth rest when shortages are observed; taking a little of what is abundant, less of what is not, and almost nothing of what is rare; leaving the Earth as we found it; and perhaps most importantly, considering multiple generations of life after us, before acting.
Earth has remarkable healing and regenerative powers if given the opportunity. Today’s climate action and social justice-oriented environmental movements are growing in strength and gaining momentum. If enough of us join the fight, we can re-imagine Earth being special once again. Our very existence depends on it.