Earth. Gaia. Tierra. Pachamama.
She goes by many names. She’s at our feet. She’s all around us. And, fortunately for us, she gives us her all, freely, unconditionally, always.
This panorama is of Ayoloco glacier atop Iztaccihuatl, one of our most beloved volcanoes in Mexico. I took the image during my first visit to this vast and seemingly impervious field of ice above 5000mts in January of 2012. It is mighty, impossibly beautiful, and intimidating to behold as one prepares to cross it on the way to the summit – and back. It rewards those who reach it with a walk on frozen water above its vaporized kin in the clouds below.
During the last nine years I’ve visited this giant several times, and in more recent visits I’ve felt equally exhilarated and sad. The high has come from achieving the difficult climb required to get to it in the first place and standing in front of its awe-inspiring size and quiet, inhospitable nobility. On the flip side, an equally strong, sinking feeling has overtaken me when seeing how much of its mass has been lost to atmospheric warming in just a few years. The melting has reached a point where we are able to walk on solid ground on some patches, where several meters of ice had covered it for thousands of years. Our boots have gotten wet from puddles where icicles used to grind on our soles.
I’m writing this in the hopes that we will stop reciting with an abstract, solemn look, “oh yeah, the Earth is screwed”, “we should change our ways”, or “OMG, look what we’ve done” – and instead we actually DO something about this. WE have created most of this downward spiral that consistently whittles away at life and resources on our planet.
It’s time to STOP TALKING and START ACTING DIFFERENTLY.
It’s time to start using less.
Thinking before buying that unnecessary, shiny piece of bling-bling that will end up in the trash anyway.
Moving around in less polluting forms of transport.
Ordering less takeout – and writing our restaurateurs, asking them to use sustainable packaging, or otherwise we will stop buying from them.
Bringing our own containers to the store to avoid using single-serving cups, plates, etc. Sorting our garbage so that as much of it as possible gets recycled.
Turning off lights and appliances when they are not in use – and not turning them on when it’s not necessary in the first place.
Collecting the cold water while waiting for it to heat up before a shower – and reducing water flow when lathering. The collected tap can be used for flushing the toilet, filling the washing machine, and other chores.
Getting active in social, professional, and political circles to improve environmental measures and policy.
And the list of small, easy changes goes on…
Thank you, Mother Spaceship, for all you do for us, for the unconditional love you give us in the form of all the resources we have at our disposal, for the very cells that make up our physical form. Forgive our ignorance and addiction to comfort, and let us never forget the debt we owe to you for the mere fact of being alive. May this “Earth Day” celebration extend our awareness of you to every moment of every day of every year of every generation henceforth, for you never forget about us and our need of you. It’s only fair – and the least (and most important) we can do. And may we learn to pay the small fee of modifying our habits before the only thing left to pay is the ultimate price.
I love You.
Peace and rejuvenation to you through our upgraded actions, dearest Mother.
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