Earth Day is upon us once again, but in this time of war we may not grasp its relevance. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Bob Hamma suggests that this year’s theme – “Protect Our Home” – can lead us to reconsider what kind of future we want, not just for ourselves, but for the world we live in:
Earth Day is upon us once again. But in this time of war, we may not grasp its relevance. Great Lakes Radio commentator Bob Hamma suggests that this year’s theme. “Protect Our Home” can lead us to reconsider what kind of future we want, not just for ourselves, but for the world we live in:
Upon his return to Earth after the Apollo 11 mission, the astronaut Michael Collins chose the word fragility to describe how the Earth looked from the moon: “The Earth appears fragile above all else,” he said.
This image of fragility seems an appropriate one for Earth Day 2002. We have learned so much about the fragility of life since September 11. People kissed their loved ones good-bye, went to work, boarded airplanes, all expecting to be home soon. Even now, more than six months later, we are keenly aware of how fragile life is. This tear in the fabric of ordinary life is not easily mended; it has forced us to look more deeply at what we value most, and how to preserve and care for that.
The theme for Earth Day this year is “Protect Our Home.” It is a call to remember that the Earth on which we live is indeed a fragile jewel of life. And in a time of ever-increasing hostility, the earth and those who dwell on it are endangered. How can we protect our home?
Our first instinct is to defend what we treasure, by force if need be. While there is a necessary place for homeland security and military action, these strategies are not the whole solution. Violence can be suppressed by force, hatred cannot. Perhaps Earth Day can be a time to take a look at our situation from another perspective.
If we could view our planet home from a distance today, with all we now know about the Earth and all we have experienced recently, I think we might recognize that the fragility of life on Earth is not only an ecological reality, but a human responsibility. We hold the future of the Earth in our hands. Life on our planet depends on us, on how we use and distribute its resources, and on how we resolve the differences that fuel the destructive power of hatred.
We live in a biosphere where all life is mutually dependent. If we ignore this interdependence on the level of relations among nations, races, and religions, we set in motion a process that imperils life on all levels. The fragile axis of life turns with delicate balance.
This Earth Day invites us to reconsider the idea that we are separate and independent, and that our needs and rights take precedence over those of the global community and of the Earth itself. If we can begin to see the Earth as our shared home, perhaps then we can hope for a better future. Only then can we truly protect our home.
Host Tag: “Bob Hamma is the author of “Earth’s Echo – Sacred Encounters with Nature,” published by Sorin Books. He comes to us by way of the Great Lakes Radio Consortium.”