The Saturday Morning Memo
April 22, 2017 | Posted in:General
Earth Day Edition.
I am going to keep this short and to the point, forgoing my usual fifteen hundred words for just a few hundred on this April 22nd, a day set aside to celebrate “the earth.”
On this morning the story of “The Wilderness Warrior” President Theodore Roosevelt comes to mind, when in 1908 pressure was being put on congress to allow strip mining in the Grand Canyon. Roosevelt would have none of it, and declared the massive expanse a national monument, declaring “You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”
Without visionary leadership and left to their own devices, there is a segment of society that would strip the earth and any species on it for profit until there is nothing left.
As one who remembers watching the news in 1969 when The Cuyahoga River in Ohio was “burning” because it was so polluted and the subsequent outcry from millions of Americans about the lack of oversight on corporations who had used the waterways and byways of our land as a dumping grounds for over a century. It was that “river of fire” that was perhaps the catalyst for the “environmental movement” as it were, and within a year of that incident, President Richard Nixon created The Environmental Protection Agency and The Clean Water Act was passed.
That was 47 years ago.
As the current administration is led by a man who thinks that Climate Change is a hoax, perpetrated by China, and has signed executive orders dismantling much of what has been put in place to protect the public lands and waters from corporations that can now resume much of their activity unrestricted. Four days ago, April 19th, staffers at the EPA offices in Chicago awaited a meeting with the new EPA Chief Pruitt who was in town. Pruitt was a no show-and declined to even walk through the door at the EPA Region V Headquarters office that is reportedly on the chopping block amid massive proposed staff and budget cuts to his own agency that Pruitt is supporting.
Earlier in the day, Pruitt declined to meet with community members in East Chicago speaking out about the environmental justice crises in their neighborhoods. Pruitt instead reportedly went to a Chicago Cubs baseball game in the middle of the workday.
Much like arguing with someone who smokes and “gets away with it” until they get cancer and then wonders why someone didn’t make them stop or inform them of the toxic effects of the habit, so goes it with climate change and our impact on the planet. The DNA of Denial is deeply embedded in our brains, fed by a stream of information that allows us to disregard our responsibility to the home we share. The ultimate ego statement isn’t that we couldn’t possibly damage the earth, its that we think we are above the systems that sustain life.
Truth is for me, its never been about “saving the earth” because we are merely another species passing through at best.
Countless other life forms have inhabited this “3rd rock from the sun” over the past 4.65 billion years, from a microscopic see through amoeba to the largest of the dinosaurs to the smallest shrew to the gargantuan blue whale and everything that swims, crawls, creeps, walks and flies.
There are five main ingredients in the circle of life. 1) Water in all its forms. 2) The green life in all its forms. 3) The animal life in all its forms 4) The earth itself in all its forms including the atmosphere and then.. 5) Humans.
The first four don’t need us to survive and thrive, but without them we are toast.
Humans depending on who you agree with have been around for about 250,000 years, a mere blip on the cosmic life screen. In the past 500 years our species has decimated the very systems that keep life in balance in the name of progress.
We live in a biosphere suspended in the dark of space, a tiny orb that is the only miracle of its kind in the known solar system. On this tiny planet, to insist that we have dominion over this little blue marble is folly, we are a parasite of sorts that depends on the host being healthy so our species continues.
This being FB, it’s inevitable that some humans will read this and will insist that climate change is some liberal left wing agenda to somehow put the clamps on capitalism and squash profits in the name of tree hugging.
To that I have just four words.
Cuyahoga River… Grand Canyon.
” Our posturing’s, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.” Carl Sagan.