Thursday, April 28, 2016

Earth Day

Yes, I'll celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the death of Shakespeare . . . where would the English language be without him?
Yes, I'll honour the Queen's 90th birthday . . . her years of service deserve our gratitude.
I'm even willing to give thanks for St George . . . a fine man, I don't doubt, although probably the dragon would disagree.
What seems a little unfortunate is that these three anniversaries should have coincided last week, and, even more unfortunate, that they squeezed out Earth Day.

Did you know that it was Earth Day last Friday?
I saw no mention in the media, and it was only thanks to the internet that I was able to access the many speakers called upon to mark the occasion.

Yet, without the Earth there would be no Shakespeare, no Queen, no St George.  Whilst the sobering discussions I heard online underlined the seriousness of the Earth's fast-changing situation.

Listeners were reminded of the increase in erratic weather patterns, the worldwide shortage of fresh water, the loss of fertility in the soil.  And did you know that there will be no more expeditions to the North Pole?  The ice has become so unstable that rescue aircraft, if needed, can no longer rely on landing safely.

The Earth will survive . . .  but, unless we dramatically change our abuse of available resources,  we could be the ones to go.

We've lost touch with the Earth . . . physically, mentally and spiritually.  We concede that it produces our food, our air, and our water.  But, in our hubris and self-detachment, we imagine that we'll always be able to bully it into contributing enough for our needs.

I say we've lost touch with the Earth, and this is physically all too true.   When did you last walk barefoot in the open air?
Not easy, I grant, for city-dwellers . . . but there are always parks and gardens.
Our ancestors often walked barefoot.  Not because they had no shoes, but because they valued the vital connection with the soil beneath their feet.

They knew instinctively that this contact provided the anti-oxidants that improved their overall health,  and added to their energy levels.

We've literally lost touch with our base.
And, although we badly needed a wake-up call,  Earth Day came and went largely unrecognised.

So, what can we do?  Time isn't on our side.
We can reduce our consumption of the world's resources, even a small reduction in the amount of meat consumed would make a major difference.  We can promote locally-grown produce, we can treat water as a precious commodity, and we can take steps to slow down the rapidly increasing problem of air pollution . . . in the UK alone, air pollution kills over forty thousand people every year.
The one certainty?  Something has to be done.

Who better than Shakespeare to sum up our current dilemma.
To be . . . or not to be?  That is the question, the vital question . . . and it's one we need to answer.

But, if we're such stuff as dreams are made of, then let's dream of a profound change of heart.
Let's dream of a heart that enables us to recognise where we've gone so badly wrong, a heart that encourages us to put things right.

Will it be a case of 'all's well that ends well'?
As Earth Day demonstrated so profoundly  . . . that's entirely up to us.