Today is Earth Day, the day that the whole world celebrates the natural world. I'm grateful that there is a day like this when we can stop and recognize how much we need the natural world and also how much it needs us. The natural world is not only our national parks and spectacular wild lands, it is also the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, the food that we eat. Today is the day when we hopefully realize that our very existence is inextricably intertwined with the natural world. What we do with and to the natural world eventually impacts us as well. We all too often forget that we are part of the natural world. Most of the problems come when we think we are separate from it and can do with it what we would like.
One of my dreams is that we will begin to recognize that the non-human world does not exist to serve us. So much of human existence has placed humanity at the center of everything. Everything else has been viewed in light of how it can meet our needs and desires. Finding health for our planet is going to require a change of attitude, a new humility.
One of the Christian saints I've often admired is Saint Francis of Assisi. He often referred to the plants, animals, and other parts of nature as brothers and sisters. I think this is a much healthier approach, the recognition that all other living beings on this little blue ball have a right to exist and are no less important than us. It's a radical shift, but one that could set us on a path to a more sustainable world.
As you think about Earth Day, what do you think about and why is it important to you?
Today is also the third anniversary of Nature First! I'm encouraged with how far this initiative has come and very excited about where it is headed.