Earth Day 38th anniversary

As I write this, it is almost Earth Day. I remember the first Earth Day celebration, 38 years ago. The church I attended as a teenager participated in Earth Day with an all day clean up of Orange Square, the small park across the street from the church and as I recall there were some talks held at the church on the importance of being good stewards of our planet.

Today, Earth Day is more than just cleaning up the litter that we were too lazy to place in trash receptacles. And lazy does not even acknowledge the full weight of that act; there is a strong tinge of arrogance attached to littering as well. And privilege.

Arrogance that comes from centuries of teachings that human kind was to dominate and subdue the earth to our will. Privilege in that we were the superior entities on this planet and not simply animals like the whale or the grizzly bear.

Today, we are realizing, albeit slowly, that we are not the masters of our planet. We are an interconnected, interdependent species with all of life on this planet. Our survival depends on the survival of even the smallest creature or plant. The difficulty in this realization is that our society wants instantaneous consequences. We want to see results immediately and that is not how the planet works. Slowly poisoning our eco-system takes time for it to show up in the environment. And we are even slower to realize that we had something to do with it.

Mutated frogSeveral years ago there were reports of frogs either disappearing or having increased deformities. Pictures of frogs with extra appendages or lack of appendages began to show up on the internet. Some of the frogs were sterile. It slowly dawned on people that perhaps this was the result of DDT and other pesticides and chemicals being used. The reason these effects showed up in frogs is because amphibians have a shorter life cycle than other more complex animals. They also have a skin membrane that is purposely conducive to absorption of moisture—moisture that may be contaminated with chemicals such as pesticides.

Could it possibly be that our use of chemicals are also having profound effects on our DNA as well but because our life cycle is slower it will take some time before it shows up in the human species? Or has it already appeared and we are blind to recognize it as such? Why is it that autism incidence rose 1342% since 1993? And Asperger’s Disorder has an even higher rate of incidence. It simply cannot be because we are better at diagnosing these disorders. Could our pollution habits have a connection to the rise of these and other disorders?

I am not suggesting a conspiracy theory here. I am, however, asking questions of where our arrogance to our planet has led us to. Whether we like to think so or not, we are part of the ecosystem of our planet. The only difference is we have the profound ability to impact that ecosystem and us along the way. It is time we become conscious of that impact and change our behaviors. Blessings, Rev. Fred L Hammond

Published in: on April 19, 2008 at 6:44 pm  Comments Off on Earth Day 38th anniversary  
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