April 22nd is Earth Day.  But of course every day is earth day.

A story to start

Here is something to contemplate.

Activist and author Naomi Klein tells a story about the time she travelled to Australia at the request of Aboriginal elders. They wanted her to know about their struggle to prevent white people from dumping radioactive wastes on their land.

Her hosts brought her to their beloved wilderness, where they camped under the stars. They showed her “secret sources of fresh water. The plants used for bush medicines. The hidden eucalyptus-lined rivers where the kangaroos come to drink.” 

After three days, Klein grew restless. When were they going to get down to business?

“Before you can fight,” she was told, “you have to know what you are fighting for.”

Our connection with nature

Nature is worth saving for its own sake.  If we want to co-exist with nature, we need to realise our connectivity with it.  We can so easily disconnect ourselves.  When we are sitting in front of a computer feeling far removed.   It is too easy to forget we and everything around us is born from the earth. Or that everything we do has an effect.  To ponder on the raw materials and production processes, that made even the computer, this chair, this cup of coffee, one can only be humbled and awed at the gifts of nature. And the ingenuity of people. And be pained at the impact we make.

Gear shift conversation change

This Earth Day lands in a time of particular moment in our history. Not only is it marking its 50th year, the world is in the grip of Covid19. The gear shift in individual and collective awareness and action thanks to Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion, and now the pandemic, point more than ever to a need for systemic and structural change.

As environmental activist, Vandana Shiva wrote recently “a little virus can help us make a quantum leap to create a planetary, ecological civilisation based on harmony with nature.  Or, we can continue to live in the illusion of mastery over nature and move fast forward to the next pandemic. And finally, to extinction.  The Earth will continue to evolve, with our without us”.

Source:

  • Naomi Klein story (tinyurl.com/5q84zh) as told in R. Brezny (2009) Pronoia is the Antitode of Paranoia, North Atlantic Books, page 76
  • Shiva, Vandana, A virus, humanity and the earth, Deccan Herald, 05 April 2020 01:11 IST https://www.deccanherald.com/author/vandana-shiva
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