A friend and I were sharing the steps we’ve taken to create a more sustainable lifestyle when she uttered these poignant words:
I had shed plenty of tears as I watched the destruction of wetlands I played in as a child give way to more and more factories making parts for cars. Even though miles now separate me from the destruction I witnessed, I still feel the loss of habitat created by my purchasing decisions.
I remember the beautiful flowing grasses of my childhood wetland. The baby polliwogs swimming along the pond edge, the sound of the wind rustling the reeds. Remembering, like it was yesterday, the utter horror I felt when I visited there as a young adult, having been gone a few years, only to discover that every last bit of it had been paved over or filled in.
From this experience, which saddens me to this day, I understand in an intimate way that the parts of nature we destroy to create goods for us, is not only hurting the animals and plants we share this world with but ultimately destroying our habitat too.
When the full impact of her words suddenly hit me later that day, I felt like my heart was breaking for all that we’re beginning to lose…
The graceful undulating flight of a bird, the powerful majesty of the lion, the friendly playfulness of the dolphin, the sleek beauty of the tiger, the enchanting gurgle of creek water over rocks, the lovely dance of butterflies, the powerful rush of a waterfall into a quiet pool below, the stately tree, the scent of evergreens, the rousing chorus of mating frogs in springtime, the industriousness of bees, the inspiring beauty of flowers, fertile topsoil, potable drinking water, stunningly beautiful mountains, lush green landscapes, an Earth that can support life.
…and all that we’re gaining because we cherish consumerism, unchecked population growth and “infinite” growth on a finite planet…
The ugliness of landscapes marred by coal mining mountaintop removal, tars sands oil extraction, clear-cut forests, gas and oil fracking, resource extractions of all kinds, coal-fired power plants, resource wars and environments destroyed by oil leaks.
The blight of endless paved roads and giant shopping malls. The loss of habitat for our fellow creatures–even species extinction.
The danger of nuclear power plants and climate change induced hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, typhoons, cyclones, floods, droughts, wildfires, melting glaciers, sea ice and permafrost melt.
Desertification of once fertile soil. Loss of farmland to ethanol and biomass production. The GMO-ization of our food supply.
How long can this go on before it all comes tumbling down? Will we wake up in time to turn it around? Or will we continue to extract resources till we reach the very last tree, drop of oil, chunk of coal, wisp of gas? Perhaps we all need to feel what we’re doing to the Earth on a gut-wrenching and heart-awakening level before we decide to turn away from business as usual.