Earth day –  Help me to survive !

Mother Earth/ Gaia ‘s Blog
Earth year 4,492,056,020

Mankind, My children!

As you know from a previous blog, I was born 4.5 billion years ago and for most of my life I was a lonely, barren and uninhabited rock floating through space. Then a miracle happened and to my great joy, I gradually changed into a beautiful  Planet with my lands, oceans and air teaming with life and vegetation and all living eco systems in harmonious balance. I was delighted and proud to be  mother to such profusion of life and to become known throughout the Universe as Mother Earth

As the youngest of my children who came very late in my life , I came to love Mankind and you became my favourites. Sadly I let you dominate, bully and exploit my other children, did not discipline you enough when you were young, did not teach you right from wrong , continually made excuses for your bad behaviour and kept forgiving you. As a result, I now see that I spoiled you. You came to think that the whole Planet and all of its resources and living creatures were yours for exploiting and that no one else mattered. In your greed and uncaring ways, you took whatever you wanted without ever asking for my permission or thinking about the consequences of your actions on others sharing the Planet or even on the consequences to yourselves. That is why I am having to write to you directly as individuals to try to explain yet again the catastrophic future that you face unless you take urgent action  now and what  needs to be done to nurse me and your own species back to health before it is too late.

Polluted seas, choking exhaust fumes in cities, infertile land, climate change causing devastating storms, hundreds of millions living in abject poverty  and now  millions infected and dying around the world before the latest Global virus is contained. Mankind seems determined to destroy it’s one and only home Planet and seems to be  stumbling blindfolded towards the approaching abyss. This would not matter so much if  it was only yourselves you were destroying but sadly you will take me and all my other children with you unless I can persuade you to change your profligate and selfish ways.  

It was not always so. There was a time when I was optimistic and  thought Mankind  had  at last begun to understand its place in the Universe and the fragility of our  existence in the Cosmos. I really thought that things could be different and I looked forward to a new beginning and resumption of the harmony I remembered from before the age of Man 

Can anyone remember 1969, when  Man first walked on the moon? Did you all see the amazing photos taken from there of the small blue / green jewel  that was Planet Earth rising gracefully on the far horizon and twinkling in the dark vastness of space.? How fragile and beautiful  1 looked   from such a distance,  belying the petty squabbles and fleeting concerns of your Nations at that time  ( USA /Russian rivalry, Vietnam war , Pakistan / Bangladesh war etc ). In that image you could not see the pollution and growing number of oil spills that were already beginning to poison my seas,   rivers and air. It was that single awesome  image of me from afar  suspended alone in the vastness of space that made some of you at last begin to appreciate just  how lucky you were to have me as your Mother Planet  and to be the most favoured of my many children.        

This led to the birth of the Environment movement on 22 April 1970 when people (initially in USA and over the following decades, around the world ) started to say that it was no longer ok to rape and pillage Planet Earth for  short term gain. It led to formation of the Environment Protection agency ( EPA )  the Clean air and the Clean water acts in USA and similar organisations and initiatives sprung up in other countries promising a brighter future for all . This year it is the 50th anniversary of that birth ( now called Earth day and held on 22 April of each year ) and it is important to  note that  despite my current fears about where we are heading, some important and notable events have occurred during these past 5 Decades  

  • 20 million people in USA participated in that first Earth day on 22 April 1970 
  • 200 million people from 141 countries participated in Earth day in 1990 
  • The UN held its UN Earth summit in 1992
  • In 2015 The Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs ) were agreed by the 193 UN members countries 
  • On Earth day in 2016 the countries of the World agreed on the Paris Climate Accord to try to prevent global warming and its related effects 

Despite these important developments and increasing concern that promises a more enlightened, approach and possibly, a better future , it is a sad fact that many  still  continue to deny and ignore the urgency facing the Planet and continue in their profligate ways without regard to the consequences. 

So how can we pull back from the brink before it is too late to ensure our mutual survival?.  Many may not previously have seen the relevance of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals  ( SDGs) or why we need to care about such issues and people or the need to improve conditions in what may seem very  faraway  countries and far away peoples.   The latest Pandemic / COVID 19 crisis illustrates frighteningly  just what an inter- connected world Mankind now lives in, where a single incident in a small local market in one  town has a worldwide  impact affecting all countries of the World , causing enormous Global health and economic problems ,infecting millions and  killing  tens of thousands across the World – even in the far distant richest countries with the very best resources and medical facilities .

Mankind lives  on a single, highly interconnected  Planet  and unless all start to understand the critical and urgent importance of dealing with emerging issues such as pollution , climate change, poverty, infections etc affecting those less fortunate  in faraway countries, such dangers will  come to haunt everyone on their  own doorsteps no matter how far they are from the original source of the problem. The SDGs have been designed to help create a fairer safer and better World for all  and to protect and save the Planet for future generations .All  should support the SDGs and take small actions in their own life (see  ). Such small actions if done by millions, can have a huge beneficial impact and help in creating a better World. 

The current crisis  with lockdowns , restrictions and isolation has perhaps for the first time, made people think more seriously about the  kind of society and world that they want to live in and  given  everyone a chance to reassess what is most important in life. It has made many see that there  may be a better alternative   than what has been done in the past. Many may  no longer be willing to be customers of or to accept  the unsustainable  activities of the rapacious mining, oil and logging industries that have been scarring the Planet  and destroying the environment. The  many thousands of bankruptcies and closures of firms around the Globe may also offer a unique , once in a lifetime,  opportunity for many to re- emerge into a new beginning and with different activities , aims and aspirations to meet the demands of  more environmentally demanding customers  and investors . 

As a Mother observing its favourite child  at last beginning to understand responsibility , I would like to think that this could be an  inflexion point where Mankind  can look back in the Decades to come and  say that this was the moment when, as a Species , it at  last began to understand that it has  to live in harmony with others and without causing irreparable damage  so that we can all continue surviving  on this small and fragile Planet. 

My 4.5 billion years of overall existence  and nearly 6 million years of  watching the ascendancy of Mankind until you modern humans emerged just 200 ,000 years  ago should have dampened my expectations and made me cynical  . However despite my repeated my disappointments observing your atrocities and wars over the centuries , I  remain an incorrigible optimist  about Mankind and its eventual future in the Cosmos. I keep hoping that , as my youngest and most beloved of all my children you will one day see the light and make me proud of your achievements – if we both survive that long !

Mother Earth