“We cannot win this battle to save species and environments without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature as well—for we will not fight to save what we do not love.”
— Stephen Jay Gould, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science
In 2010, on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, we stand at a critical point in history. Gone are the days when skeptics could write off the predictions of environmentalists as being alarmist or extreme. Like it or not, the predictions of global eco-system collapse appear to be coming true, and the urgency grows with every passing day.
For some time now, we have been at war with the natural world, and increasingly, it seems that we are all on the losing side – humans, other animals and the planet itself. Having appointed ourselves the dictators of the future of all life as we know it, we now find ourselves on the receiving end of the violence we have inflicted during an unprecedented planetary reign of terror.
The only way we will be able to change our perilous course, is to be willing to change the behavior that has created it. The choices of every individual, in every area of life – from procreation to dietary practice – have to be examined with new eyes; not through the lens of one’s personal desires, rather, by posing the question of how these choices impact the rest of the planet.
For too long, we have luxuriated in the temporary pleasures of an unsustainable self-indulgence – using the resources of the planet, as well as its other inhabitants, however we have seen fit.
It is time for us all to turn our attention away from superficial “solutions” and toward addressing deeper issues. We must change the way we think and feel, in order to change the way we act. It’s time for us all to seriously re-examine what makes us happy, and whether what we want is more wealth, possessions and sensory gratification, or whether our efforts would be better directed toward finding fulfillment of a higher nature.
Now is the time – for all movements of positive social change – to converge around the most pressing issues of the day and create a plan of action to offer to the world as a map out of the madness. Above all, we need to examine the prevailing lack of concern – for nothing less than life itself – that has led us to this potentially disastrous situation.
We need to treat the root cause of all our problems: The conscience of humanity has been deadened, by our universal silent agreement to ignore and deny issues of critical ethical concern. As well as spiritually alienating us all, from each other and from the rest of the natural world, this vast moral void is causing us to destroy the very systems that support life as we know it, even though we all know that it is happening, and we are actually watching it occur before our very eyes.
But there is a solution to this. We need to make a new agreement: an agreement to embrace basic human values that we have turned our backs on. By re-evaluating and renewing our commitment to fundamental values, and by calling attention to the need for an ethical evolution, we can create new standards for truly sustainable behavior.
The keys to a new world of safety and plenty are at our fingertips. What we need is to be willing to embrace the evolution of values that will illuminate our choices and show us the way. If we are open to the necessary changes, we can step forward together into a new humanity, and become a species that recognizes the importance of qualities such as empathy, compassion, justice and respect; for the natural world, for the other animals, and for our fellow humans.
**More Care2 Earth Day Coverage**
ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING EARTH DAY:
HOW ARE ANIMALS AFFECTED?
THINGS TO PONDER
THOSE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
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