We have awakened to the fact that as large as our planet is, its resources are limited. To illustrate the fragility of our planet’s systems, consider the following; the Earth is about 8,000 miles in diameter, and the depth of breathable atmosphere is no more than five miles. To draw a perspective of just how thin that is, imagine a ball four feet in diameter wrapped in a large single sheet of copy paper, the thickness of that paper represents the depth of breathable atmosphere in relation to the ball.
WWWCooperation with our ecological systems, and conserving them work to our great advantage and benefit, and has become glaringly apparent that in order for our planet to continue sustaining us with any degree of quality, we need to sustain it as well. We must keep the golden-goose healthy. So far, our cooperativeness with our planet has been somewhat, shall we say, one-sided, and we may be suffering under the delusion that nature revolves around us, rather than we around it. We have been feeding off it while trashing it; for instance we use our oceans both as a pantry and a toilet—not an especially cooperative alliance.
WWWCommon horse sense tells us that a one sided relationship is doomed to be temporary; sooner or later, probably sooner, as in any personal, business, or family relationship, the giver will no longer comply with the taker. In a personal relationship, we can recognize certain signals that warn us something is amiss, provided our ego isn’t flying close to the sun and tamed enough to allow perceiving it. There may be signs of an emotional distance, or a mood of alienation.
WWWAs a result of disrespecting and abusing the very bosom that nurtures us, Mother Earth likewise is exhibiting clear signs of alienation. When we practice this with personal or business relationships and lose them, we can move on to other similar relationships; in the case of our precious environment, we cannot stop the world and get off, it’s the only one we have.
WWWThere are many clear signs of alienation as when she responds to our careless disregard by giving us mercury with our fish, and when we’re being impacted with glaring consequential changes that warming is manifesting on our planet. Looking at just a few, we see that Greenland has the fastest rising temperature on the planet, rising 8 degrees Fahrenheit in the past ten years. NASA scientists estimate that Greenland is losing 100 billion tons of ice each year, and satellite analysis shows that its melt area has increases 30 percent.
WWWIn August of 2010, a massive chunk of ice four times larger than the island of Manhattan broke away from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier. Climate scientist, Dr. Konrad Steffen, with the University of Colorado has been conducting research in Greenland for the past twenty-years, and estimates that if Greenland’s melting continues at its present rate, sea levels could rise three feet by the year 2100, flooding parts of cities like New York and Shanghai, displacing millions of people.
WWWAnother alienating sign is the wildfires in the western United States that have increased by 78 days or 64 percent in the last thirty-years. Western fires have become monstrous, and recorded history shows nothing of the magnitude we’re seeing today. Since 1999, ten of the busiest fire seasons occurred. A 100,000-acre fire was considered huge ten to fifteen years ago, where one or two a year was unusual. Today a 200,000-acre fire is common. In fact they’re even seeing 500,000 and 600,000-acre fires.
WWWAnd, there is Lake Chad, surrounded by Nigeria, Niger Cameroon, and Chad, once the sixth largest lake in the world (25,000 square kilometers). This lake has shrunk 90 percent in thirty years, and the thirty million people who live in the area are now forced to compete for its water and fish.
Mother Earth Bestows Her Services Free
For instance, New York had crystal clear fresh water purified for them for decades from the Catskill Mountains, so good, they bottled and sold it. Regrettably, with their continuous population growth, much of the watershed land was being altered and transformed into resorts. farms and homes; along with all the sewage attendant with it, contaminating their wonderfully pure water to such an extent that it couldn’t even meet Environmental Protection Agency standards.
WWWNew York then contemplated building a plant to do the same job their pristine watershed was doing—the cost would be between six and eight billion dollars with a $300 million per annum maintenance expense, in contrast to it being free compliments of Mother Earth. The other option was to restore the natural purification capability of the land for $1 billion, which as a bonus, would also facilitate flood control—a no brainer. In 1997 New York started purchasing the land to restore it.
WWWAnother example is Atlanta. They removed twenty-percent of their trees in the urban area because of rapid growth, which resulted in a yearly increase of 4.4 cubic-feet of storm water runoff. To build containment and runoff structures with the capacity to hold that volume, would cost $2 billion. Replanting trees around homes and along streets with no maintenance costs was of course the answer.
Cooperation vs. Ego
There are many egos in the world that insist on remaining in denial mode, shutting out all incoming information to protect their own beliefs, agendas, and ideologies. They are like the man who falls off a cliff, and as he plummets, he’s heard to mutter, “So far so good.”
WWWImagine if science and religion were to come together in collaboration and cooperation, united in the quest of the stewardship of our environment, one contributing inspiration, the other, knowledge. When it comes to our precious world, we must get beyond the narrow thinking that religion in only about the spiritual and science is only about the physical, because our environment is both spiritual and physical. Merging both could perhaps give us a decent chance toward resolving the problem, and may even be powerful enough to produce a small miracle—get Congress to move boldly—providing environmental leadership to the world by our example.
WWWCooperating and respecting Mother Earth’s delicate systems will be an investment of incalculable benefit to each of us, especially our progeny, and would make the Louisiana Purchase Treaty seem like we got fleeced.
© Joe Arrigo