It seems that holidays come thick and fast in the spring, especially when Earth Day follows directly on the heels of Easter. Given the hard time mother earth has been having with too many Republicans waging war on her, it’s worth taking a few minutes to consider finity. Our planet is not infinite. The resources with which it came loaded out of the showroom are all of limited supply. Somehow we’ve managed to convince ourselves, at least in this hemisphere, that there’s always more where that came from. Unless, of course, you’re referring to the degrees that contribute to global warming. Of those, the GOP narrative goes, there really aren’t any. No credible scientist doubts climate change, although those who are already old and who are benefitting from it will claim otherwise. Any story depends, of course, on the teller.
Over the holiday weekend I was out of town. Driving home a few hours I was distraught at just how much litter lines our otherwise scenic highway system. Stuff falls off of trucks and, despite advertising against it, out of car windows. The few trash bags piled for pickup by the earth-conscious can’t keep up with the cast-offs of a throwaway culture. We desperately need to take the narrative back from those with the loudest, and most incoherent mouths. We all rely on this same planet and the power we cede to the wealthy is due to our complicity in their claims of ownership. They’ve proven themselves, should I dare to be biblical, unfaithful stewards.
The earth, it is true, is a place of immense beauty. It’s not aesthetics alone, however, that motivate us. We simply cannot survive without this biosphere in which animals, plants, microorganisms, and minerals coexist. We evolved in it. The mythical narrative of special creation unwittingly played into the hands of those who will claim it all for themselves if the rest of us don’t deny that they had indeed “earned” the right to be considered the most prestigious. Our societal sin of rewarding bad behavior has led us to this crisis. We pollute far beyond our needs. We “speculate,” hoping that “development” will lead to “growth.” The wealthiest build rockets to escape our planet, but there’s nowhere to go. Might it not be better to invest in this gift that we already have? To learn the lessons of nature? To become students in the classroom of Mrs. Earth? There have been many holidays lately, but this may indeed may be the most important of them all.