Destroying our planet is like tearing pages out of an unread book, written in a language humans hardly know how to read.
But still Nature keeps painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty. Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind is wishful, and snow is exhilarating. Every dewdrop and raindrop has a whole heaven within it, every sun-ray and snowflake has a new story to reveal.
The aggregate of our joy and suffering; thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines; every hunter and forager; every hero and coward; every creator and destroyer of civilization; every king and peasant; every young couple in love; every mother and father, and hopeful child; every inventor and explorer; every teacher of morals; every corrupt politician; every ‘superstar’; every ‘supreme leader’; every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived here, on this planet — a tiny dot on the face of the universe, yet a forgiving mother to zillions of lifeforms.
Today’s Earth has many faces.
- A man in the Maldives worried about relocating his family as sea levels rise;
- a farmer in Maharashtra struggling to make ends meet as prolonged drought ravages the crops;
- a fisherman on the Niger River whose nets often come up empty;
- a child in New Jersey who lost her home to a super-storm;
- a woman in Bangladesh who can’t get fresh water due to more frequent flooding and cyclones.
And they’re not only human faces.
- The polar bear in the melting Arctic;
- the Bengal tiger in India’s threatened mangrove forests;
- the right whale in plankton-poor parts of the warming North Atlantic;
- the orangutan in Indonesian forests segmented by more frequent bush-fires and droughts.
These faces of Earth are multiplying every day.
For many, climate change can often seem remote and hazy – a vague and complex problem far off in the distance that our grandchildren may have to solve. But that’s only because they’re still fortunate enough to be insulated from its mounting consequences.
Because we, the humans, are the ‘self-proclaimed supreme creatures’ who presumably rule this planet. Because we need special occasions to remind ourselves of our responsibilities. Because some Mayan prediction may have failed, but the Earth is watching us closely, every single day.
And when the watching ends,
We’ll be single, solitary,
Just like we were before the start.
This write-up is inspired by a Carl Sagan (1934–1996) quote from his non-fiction book, “Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space”.