If you are fortunate to have a little spring weather and the chance to step outside today, take a chance and enjoy the benefits of life on planet Earth. Now, as you breathe in a little fresh spring air, consider that you are, wherever you are, a citizen of Earth.
Millennials are paradoxical. We have ways of existing and understanding concepts that seem impossible to join. We are free-thinkers and individuals, but we like teamwork. Saying and understanding that we are all citizens of Earth is probably an easy thing for anyone in Gen Y, because we have become part of the global community since our introduction to the world. There is nothing wrong with special affinity for our country of origin or current homeland, but strict focus makes us miss the forest for the trees.
Earth Day and the environmental movement came to prominence about a decade before the first Millennial was born. In December of 1970, President Nixon signed a bill that created the Environmental Protection Agency. Earlier that year, celebrations for “Earth Day” were held as people began to see real need to address the health of our planet. A thank you is due to the Boomers and GI generations who saw the world their Gen X children were inheriting and moved to act.
Since those early days, Gen Y had Captain Planet to show us the way. Recycling programs, conservation efforts, and the foresight of older generations, have made Gen Y members attuned to environmental issues. By hearing stories about what we could lose, we understood that enjoying life in the moment did not supersede preserving life for those after us. Dr. Suess’s “The Lorax” was published in 1971, and it remains one of my most treasured books from my childhood. Someone must speak for the trees, speak for the animals, and speak for the people without voice, even if others try to speak louder.
I was very fortunate to grow up with access to urban areas as well as the natural world. On hikes I would hear the birds and insects. While kayaking, I would see fish and feel rocked by Mother Nature’s gentle waves. People forget that we were once a species in the wilderness. At that time our societies drew on our place in nature, not today’s view of being apart from nature. I dislike getting bitten by mosquitoes as much as the next person, but pulling ourselves out of the natural cycle is a dooming option. The famous book, “Silent Spring” about our use of the pesticide DDT showed how we could devastate the natural world at our peril if we were not careful. Our success in anything is not merely measured by our talents or good fortune, but by the home we share that provides the resources for our success.
While we walk on the Earth, we must be stewards of the gifts we have. If someone wished to give a favorite book or heirloom to another after their passing, they would treasure it and keep it safe. Each successive generation that preserves our world ensures all of us the chance to accomplish more as a species. We are in nature, and we must make sure that it remains in us. Go out and enjoy nature today. Make your mark by leaving no mark, take pictures, observe, protect living things, respect the natural world, and leave it better than you found it for those who follow after.
Happy Earth Day – 2013