It was just a little wet spot. Less a bog and more a hole where some water couldn’t escape. The Davidson River was just twenty feet behind it. I imagine when the river overflowed its banks this little indention in the earth could fill with water or maybe it was just the rain that kept it moist and full. It was situated under a thick canopy of trees which would prevent rapid evaporation from the Sun. In any event the eight year old in me was fascinated and found a stick I could use to stir this bowl of natures soup.
Before I began digging through the leaves on the bottom I noticed something moving, life. This wasn’t some random water-logged pool placed here for my amusement, this was a home, a little world, which was part of a bigger universe, my universe.
I threw the stick away and watched. Small fish darted back and forth under the thick leaves that coated the bottom. Water beetles dog paddled all around the pool in a strange, disjointed dance. A marvelous array of Larva wiggled in every corner. And attached to a tree branch on the edge of the pool was a glob of glistening frog eggs filled with tadpoles days away from spilling into this tiny ocean in the middle of the forest.
Here I was ready to poke a stick into this little world without any thought about what or who I may be disturbing. I could have easily destroyed this little community with the most primitive but deadly of tools, ignorance.
In the Antarctic an iceberg the size of Rhode Island is down to a 12-mile “thread” holding it on to the continent. The crack is already 110 miles long. It would seem this massive chuck of ice would have few repercussions for me in my little corner of the world 9,000 miles away, but it does. It does for all of us. That iceberg will drift into warmer water and melt filling an already raising ocean. And behind it, more ice currently being held in place by this very large ice shelf. Once the shelf has broken free the ice behind it will slowly disintegrate and melt as well.
It is convenient to take a very narrow view about what is happening to our planet. If it is not in front of us or in our backyard it is easy to ignore. Our President has placed economic gain over our environment. If any of you think that is not true I would love to hear your argument. Certainly that makes the energy companies happy and keeps gas prices down which make us, the consumers and voters happy. But what is the true price we are paying for $2.00 a gallon gas? What landscapes are being destroyed, what rivers are being polluted so that we can drive to Walgreens to simply buy a pack of gum?
One of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s many causes that he has taken up is environmental awareness. He states that, “Taking care of our planet is like taking care of our houses. Since we human beings come from Nature, there is no point in our going against nature, which is why I say the environment is not a matter of religion or ethics or morality. These are luxuries, since we can survive without them. But we will not survive if we continue to go against nature.”
I think we would all benefit if we viewed the world like that little pool of water I discovered on my hike Saturday. There are little things each of us can do, decisions we can make that may seem small and pointless in the grand scheme of things. But those little actions, added together, can become a bigger voice. Sacrificing our environment for jobs and votes today does little to secure the future for generations after us.
I have said time and time again, we are all just tenants here. Even if we live to be 100 years old our time, as a tenant, is minuscule. We can continue to beat this planet up. We continue the approach of passing the buck on to the next generations. We can suck the life out of this planet but who do you think wins that battle? Earth doesn’t need us. Earth would be better off without us. Given our current trajectory I am afraid we will learn that truth sooner rather than later.