In honor of Earth Day and the March for Science — both on April 22 — I only felt the topic was appropriate: especially for individuals like me.
I am currently a journalism student at one of the most conservative universities in Texas — but my eyes have been opened, and I cannot be stopped.
Three months ago, I started transitioning to veganism. Two months ago, I chose a cognate in environmental studies. Just last weekend, I put a green activism decal on the back of my car where a Marco Rubio and a “Keep Texas Red” decal stuck for nearly a year this past spring. People from home blame my changes in views on the university I attend.
I blame it on life.
It is so easy to look around and be blinded. However, once you really begin to pay attention, you will see that she is dying. She has been infested, and we are the parasites. She is suffering with a terminal illness, but I will not pull the plug. She is Mother Earth, and I will stand up for her.
I will stand up for the hibernating polar bears and denning wolf pups who can now be killed in their own homes, legally, as of two weeks ago. I will stand up for the seals who are slaughtered daily for their fur. I will stand up for the Great Barrier Reef — the biodiversity hotspot of the Earth — that is currently in its last stages of life. I will stand up for every living plant and animal that is now on its last breath because of us.
This is not a political issue anymore, and it never should have turned into that- this is a life issue that we all should take seriously.
Events that should take hundreds to thousands of years are happening in a matter of months, and we can be blamed for that. Sure, the Cuyahoga River is not on fire this time. And, there might not be a big enough focal point right now for anyone to care about what is happening. But look around and pay attention, and the detriment of our planet can be easily seen.
Glaciers are receding. More and more superstorms are being formed. Famine and drought are increasing. Diseases are spreading at a quicker pace. Monarch butterflies and bees are endangered. There are now gas bubbles of methane captured in ice.
Fish may be depleted by 2050. A Yukon river completely changed its course last spring – and this was the first occurrence for any river in the world since the 1800s. There is a garbage patch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean estimated to be between the size of Texas and twice the size of the United States.
But the worst environmental crisis of them all: there are still people who do not believe in the cause.
Because of the new “anti-science administration” (as I’ve heard people call it), policies are changing and funding is being cut. But, what better investment is there than an investment into your own home?
Climate change, pollution, invasive species and habitat loss would not have such an incredible socioeconomic impact on us if the water was not polluted, or the species were not forced from their own homes, to begin with. The price we have to pay is our own fault.
I agree that if politics must be involved, policies should be changed. But, they should be changed for the enrichment of our environment. I agree that if policies must be involved, budgets should be altered. But, they should be altered for land preservation and wildlife conservation. I believe there should be a shift to a more environmentally-sustainable society. And I believe this shift should matter to every single one of you because this is our home, and I know most people don’t want to live in a home that has even the slightest possibility of caving in on them.
Until this shift happens, we will remain the parasites that kill our host.
We will continue to spend over $120 million yearly, just in the U.S., on the impact of invasive species … that we caused. We will continue to spend trillions of dollars each year on air pollution across the globe … that we caused.
This is all because it makes sense to destroy the home we live in, knowing our landlord will make us pay for it later – rather than keeping it tidy and without damage in the first place to avoid any repercussions. For most individuals, the damage they make will not influence their actions until they are permanently evicted from their home.
But for others, those of you who take care of your home, I want to thank you.
Thank you, Andy and Rachel Berliner, for creating the option of a plant-based diet. Thank you, Jill Stein, for being the foundation for a green future. Thank you, Margaret Atwood, for writing “MaddAddam” and for informing others of environmental crises. Thank you, Rachel Carson, for “Silent Spring” and for the movement it created. Thank you, to famous individuals like Olivia Wilde, Neil Young, Carole King, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Denver, Emma Watson and Pete Seeger for your activism.
And thank you, Mother Earth, for your selfless love — and for continuing to give us our food, our water, our air and our shelter — even after you see us throw each of these gifts away, immediately after we unwrap them in front of you.
Once again, thank you, Mother Earth.