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Earth Day 2020

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we hand it down to our children. This is a Native American proverb, and if there was ever a people to understand the importance of taking care of our Mother (Earth), it is the native people. We are merely visitors here. Humans are not separate from nature, but we are a very part of the ecosystem that must be shared with millions of organisms. Each organism does its part to keep the ecosystem alive. Every worm, every insect, every animal is working for the ecological well-being of the planet. Humans, who claim to be the most intelligent species on earth, are the only ones not doing that. My dream is that we wake up before it’s too late (some scientists will say it already is) and start living for the betterment of our future generations. We are already leaving a mess for our children and grandchildren. Remember, the meek shall inherit the earth.

On this particular Earth Day, April 22, 2020, we are in alignment with a new moon. This is a phase of the moon when it is in conjunction with the sun and is invisible from earth. Shortly after its invisibility, the moon appears as a crescent and will gradually appear fuller until the moon is once again full. (The next full moon will appear on May 7, and is known as the flower moon.) Astrologers study the position of the moon and the effect it can have on people and the energy of the planet. How fitting that today’s new moon is in alignment with Taurus. Taurus is a feminine sign with the earth element.  As we navigate our way through this uncertain and challenging time, we must not lose sight of what’s truly important. We must remember the Feminine way that teaches us to live within the flux of the unknown, movement and change. If we allow the experience we find ourselves in to transform us, we will grow through it, rather than resist it.

We have been so disconnected from nature and from ourselves for so long; we have forgotten that humans, like earth, are always evolving. Life is not meant to stagnate, it is meant to move. Humans are resilient by nature, just as our dear mother earth. We are not fragile. Everything that happens is an opportunity to meet the true nature of the world, which is always shifting.

Let’s think back to when our grandparents were children. Life was much different then, yes? Do you ever wonder how they were able to survive without cell phones? How on earth did they survive without Wi-Fi? Just think of how the manufacturing of cell phones alone has changed the planet. Every few years we are encouraged to buy the newest model to keep up with the times. Today’s cell phones are not durable like the first one I had. (I think we all can agree the Motorola razor was the best we ever had.) The first phone I ever used from the car came in a small black bag. It had a cord on the end of it and it had to be hooked up to the car cigarette lighter in order to work! I wasn’t really sure how to use it, but I knew it was there if I needed it! I wonder where that cell phone is now…

Do you think your grandparents put everything in little plastic baggies? They didn’t go to Sonic happy hour or the convenience store every day and get 44 ounces of pure liquid sugar in a Styrofoam container to be sipped out of a plastic straw. Sure Styrofoam makes your drink stay cold longer, but are there side effects?  Do you ever wonder if any of the chemicals in these materials seep out and get into your bloodstream? The dioxins found in the foam cause immune and hormonal problems in workers who are exposed to it. When it is burned for disposal and released into the environment, it leads to air pollution and health problems when inhaled by people or animals. And yes, those little plastic straws do make their way into the ocean and up the noses of sea turtles. Best case scenario the plastic breaks up into millions of little particles to be inhaled by the fish that will eventually become wrapped in shiny plastic, put up for sale in your local grocery store’s seafood department.

We purchase food-like substances that have been made in a manufacturing plant in China, and packaged in toxic, non-biodegradable materials. Then the instructions say to microwave for three and a half minutes until hot in the middle. Do you ever wonder if some of those toxins leach off into the food and make it into your system? Did you know this is how a lot of restaurants prepare the side dishes for your entrées?

Speaking of plastic, do you ever wonder where it goes? Studies show that at the rate we are going now, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by the year 2050. It’s projected that the oceans will contain at least 937 million tons of plastic by then. Only 14% of plastic packaging is recycled. It is our responsibility as concerned consumers take this matter into our own hands and reconsider our need for short-term convenience versus long-term damage to the planet. We were taught to go to school, get a job and make lots of money, but we were never taught how to value our resources and make intelligent decisions on our own. We’ve suddenly found ourselves up against a greedy, corrupt system.

Current situation: 2020. While we are caught in the middle of the storm it is easy to lose sight of the grand scheme of things. It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s opinions and how the government is failing us daily. People are dying (but not enough for us to be concerned, right?). Small businesses will be forced to close (but some will receive funding or get creative and shift into something even better). Some of these businesses were already dying and maybe this is an opportunity to make that shift.  For those very privileged, perhaps your dream vacation has been cancelled or rescheduled. You won’t get to desperately escape from that job that you are so concerned of holding on to and sit on an island sipping margaritas, watching the tides roll in while millions of little particles of plastic are choking marine life and the coral reef is dying.

Is this whole situation a huge inconvenience? Absolutely. Can any of us really believe that this is not about something bigger? (And no, I don’t mean political conspiracy theories or anything of the sort.) Is this experience not asking us on a deeper level to slow down and take a look at how we’re living? Humans are literally destroying the planet as some of us sit here in our enormous homes taking in more resources than our ancestors could have ever imagined us needing. (Define need.) Others are dying on the streets because there is no place that can take them in and give them a bath or a hot meal. And the rest of us sit hopelessly at home wanting to change it all but are not sure where to start. We were too busy before to even notice these small cries of help from the universe, but now we are forced to sit with and really take a look at things. How inconvenient! Would our time be better served complaining on Facebook and itching to get back to the job we hate so much so that we can return to “normal”?

We will remember these days. We may not remember how uncomfortable they were or what a huge inconvenience, but we will remember. We will remember the time we spent with family (if we’re lucky enough to have one). We will remember connecting with friends through face time- those same friends we were too busy to call before. We will remember communities rallying together, joining forces to strengthen and uplift one another in times of need. Our children will remember those two months they didn’t have to go to school and they got to stay home and bond (fight) with their parents and siblings and eat snacks during the day. Citizens of populous cities will remember the time they could see the skyline or the mountains during the day, and the stars above in the big beautiful sky during the night. We will remember that time we scavenged for toilet paper and sanitizing wipes and how we got by on the bare essentials. Some of us learned how to bake bread or fine tune our cooking skills; some of us learned how to grow our own food for the first time.

If anything this experience is giving us, it is an opportunity to return to our roots. This is an opportunity to live minimally. A lot of folks don’t like that. A lot of us are itching to get out and go shopping for things we don’t need, to travel to places we don’t really need to go, to spend money we don’t have. One day we will be there again. But in the meantime, can you be here now? Can you listen to the birds singing outside and watch the flowers beginning to bloom? Can you enjoy the fresh air as you walk with your dog or your lover on a warm spring night? Can you enjoy staying up late and watching movies or sitting around the table with the ones who matter most? When you look back, will you know that you used your time wisely and learned how to truly savor the small things in life? Or will you remember how awfully boring the time was just sitting around, waiting for the world to end?