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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day is my Birthday


All of our eggs are in one basket, I have said it before.

We live here, all-together and we have no place else to go.

The world is a big place and it can take a lot of damage, but the ecosystems we depend on are specialized and fragile, the world itself will survive many things that they collectively, and we individually cannot.

We are responsible for the care of this world. It is a sacred imperative, charged to us in our holy books, and more importantly, under the aegis of common sense.

The care of this world is a categorical imperative; if we do not care for it, the world may just shrug us off, or shrug just enough that a calamity will ensue that will alter us forever, changing our cultures, our languages, even our DNA.

There are natural disasters pending, they are built into the structure of the planet, in the thinness of the mantle, in the heat emanating from deep within the core. There are massive volcanoes, and there is continental drift, the geological forces at work in these could easily destroy us all.

If we allow it.

There are calamities heading our way from outer-space, celestial bodies sailing through the void, on a collision course with Earth. There are asteroids and comments that we will collide with, if we are unable to work cooperatively to change the course of these eventualities.

Those things are baked in. They are existential threats, but they also represent opportunities for the advancement of science, and the unification of humanity. Given enough time, it is possible that we could even harness the power of the greatest volcanoes, turn their destructive energies to the benefit of humankind, or move the near Earth objects that threaten us from our path.

We need time, more than that we need a willingness to rise to the challenges.

We face other threats right now, immediate threats, threats of our own making.

We are changing the climate, the planet is warming.

Our oceans are becoming more acidic, we are changing their salinity.

We are filling our atmosphere with toxins.

Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising

We are polluting our freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams.

We are losing topsoil, our forests and our reefs.

Our stewardship is failing.

We are divided, against each other…as greed drives a short sighted political mindset, seeking and succeeding to turn people against their long-term interests.

Politicians and their wealthy patrons, silence and undermine our scientists, they cast doubt on any field of inquiry which might lead to a curtailment of their industries, and their short-term profits.

They treat the Earth and all of its resources like it is a grab-bag full of goodies for them to plunder, like children with a big stick whacking at a piƱata.

Our stewardship is failing.

We are failing.

It is Earth Day 2018, and all of our eggs are in one basket, the basket is fragile, and there is no other.

Earth Day is my Birthday.

It was cold when I was born, I am guessing
Though I do not remember it, I am sure that I was cold
Coming from the womb, all pink and shivering
Ten pounds-eleven ounces of me, my mother’s sixth
And most difficult, all shoulders, and a big round head

I do not remember that first, sudden-sharp breath

It was Earth Day, that Tuesday in April, 1969 
For years before we had called it Arbor Day
In honor of trees, the 22nd day of the 4th month
What tangible thing do we honor now
Earth-soil? Earth-planet? Earth-Mother?

Taurus, the primal-bull?

Roman soldiers worshipped Mithra as a god of light
Mithra slew the sacred-bull, spreading a feast on the sacred table
A meal for human-kind to share, I was born in a soldier’s place
West Point, New York, I do not remember being there, but that name
Resounds with power, with victories no Roman soldier could imagine

I was born in the spring, in the hallowed halls of War

Spring is the season of hope, and life, of expectation
Of Plowing, of sewing, of planting, and the greening of the fields
Of roots pushing down into the thawing soil, drinking
From the deep black earth, of sprouts shooting up, to bud
And blossom, April is a month of showers, of rain

It is a time of ritual-remembering

I was born eighty-nine days before Neil Armstrong flew to the moon
Landing his vessel on another world, to walk on her bright face
His ship was named for Apollo, god of poetry and prophecy
Of healing and of light, I remember the moon landing…almost

I have seen it on TV, and heard these words countless times:

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”

What hopes drove our rockets there?

Whose prayers carried those soldiers to the stars?

To spread the celestial table there, a feast of hope for all too share

What hope have we?

04.22.2018