I'm writing this on Earth Day 2017. It's also the 26th anniversary of the day my hubby and I fell in love — at an Earth Day sunrise ceremony — and our fourth wedding anniversary (yes, it was a sunrise ceremony). So it's always a special day for us. I hope it was a lovely Earth Day for you, too, wherever you celebrate it.
Here's a small collection of thoughts and poetry for Earth Day.
The Rainbow WarriorsCome, all who ever loved our Earth
by Nicola Beechsquirrel
by Nicola Beechsquirrel
Who lived in peace amongst her creatures
Gentle, loving, caring folk
With healing hands, and wisdom in your souls.
Come, incarnate once more
Come to Earth in her greatest need.
Help us rid her of her burdens
Cleanse her of all poisons
Close up the deep sores on her sacred body
And cover it once more in soft green.
Walk amongst us again
That we may relearn ancient skills
And long-forgotten wisdom
And tread lightly upon our Mother Earth
Taking from her only what we need
Living her ways in love and joy
Treating her creatures as equals.
Teach us how to reach those who exploit her
How to open their souls to the beauty of Life
That they may destroy no longer.
Come to us, Rainbow Warriors
Share with us your wisdom
For we have great need of it.
Climate change impacts have now been documented across every ecosystem on Earth, despite an average warming of only ~1°C so far. (Scheffers et al, 2016, in "The broad footprint of climate change from genes to biomes to people")
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
— Marie Curie
Information is everything.
— Pamela Anderson
To understand that humanity is on a collision course with the laws of Nature is to be stuck in what I call Cassandra's Dilemma. You can see the most likely outcome of current trends. You can warn people about what is happening and underscore the need for a change in course. Some people can understand you, and a few may even believe you and try to take action — but the vast majority cannot, or will not, respond. Later, if catastrophe occurs, they may even blame you, as if your prediction set in motion the process that resulted in disaster (self-fulfilling prophets are the most reviled). If, however, the World manages to avoid the potential catastrophe, thanks in part to the work of those who were motivated to action by your warning, many will point to that escape from danger as evidence of your incompetence as a prophet.
The role of Cassandra, issuing unpopular warnings of avoidable danger, is a no-win situation. Failure to convey the message effectively results in catastrophe. Success in being understood — which leads to action to avoid that catastrophe — means ultimately being proven 'wrong.'
Being willing to be 'wrong' is, by itself, not enough. Your timing and your tone must be perfect. You must be 'wrong' at the right moment, because once proven 'wrong' — and the World will use every possible means to label you mistaken, as soon as possible — your credibility will be destroyed, so that thereafter your effect on the World will be minimal. Moreover, your means of communication are severely limited: if your warnings are too shrill, you will be ridiculed; too sober, and you will be ignored.
Even the best-case scenario — predicting disaster at precisely the right moment, in the most strategically balanced tone of voice — does not guarantee a successful outcome: a failed prediction of disaster. Warnings are notoriously ineffective. People may believe you and still do nothing.
The worst and most painful outcome for any Cassandra is to be proven right.
— Alan AtKisson, in Believing Cassandra: How to Be an Optimist in a Pessimist's World
Earth Day Emergency
by George Elliott Clarke
Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada
Earth Day should be Thanksgiving, not Mother
Earth’s Good Friday, when Extinction’s spectre—
Those ghosts of the Endangered or those Dead
Creatures haunt us—souls polluted by lead,
Mercury, arsenic, acids, and seeds
“Frankensteined” genetically. Live meat bleeds
As it conveyor-belts from plains to plates—
Shrink-wrapped, sporting “Best Before”-stamp, stale dates—
While dolphins and whales, having gulped down our
Plastic garbage and water bottles, lour,
Thrash, and beach themselves, their bellies starving,
And tides turn as red as blood spilled, carving
And serving mad cows or sick swine, all ill
From ingesting strange flesh and/or feces,
Contracted in ponds, scum-green with algaes.
Earth Day should be Eden Revival Day,
Not a “Mayday! Mayday!” Emergency,
When the Apocalypse sounds factual—
Angels strike, and precious seem wine and oil,
And the seas belch up blood, and all fish die,
And sun scorches like fire, so wetlands dry,
And locusts chew roots, leaves, fruits, and Famine
Eats every human down to skeleton,
And skies shine with poison Radiation
Or go dark with choking smog. No nation
Is immune from terra firma that shakes!
One must ask: Does fracking trigger earthquakes?
Ebola, SARS, Swine Flu, Bird Flu,
And other pestilential plagues renew,
Plus West Nile Virus, and other disease—
Infections without treatment, deaths sans cease.
Lethal’s now the baffling kiss of sunlight—
Intricately broken down is skin, white
With pus, putrid with boils, palpably raw,
While tornadoes whirl and swirl, clout and claw,
Oceans go soapy as a laundromat,
Foaming; skyscrapers totter; homes go splat;
A tsunami of trash washes away
Hospitals, leaving unsanitary
Cadavers. Each toxic anatomy—
In obscene inundation—heaps awry.
Oil spills, clear-cut forests, firestorms, sink-holes
Swallowing suburbs whole, are routine tolls
Now, for “Progress.” Condemned seas and damned winds,
Waste lands, Rust Belts, vast contaminations,
Thorns and rubbish, smashed glass, cracked ceramics,
Charred remains, scorched-earth, war-zone Economics,
Bomb-blast disasters ever more drastic,
Atomic threats, arms races elastic,
Ever expanding, is just a short list
Of unpalatable residues unjust,
The catastrophes now making us sick—
Is Capital the acceptable
Villain, or are our choices culpable?
If Mother Earth now faces assassins,
Who are the culprits if not we humans?
This Earth Day demands deliberate turns
Back to Nature: Balance: What each child learns.