Today marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day so I thought it fitting to share my opinion on the subject of “saving our planet”.
I often find myself spending considerable time dwelling upon the problems facing our environment as I pursue my passion photographing wildlife. I have come to the realization that we humans are looking at the situation all wrong if we believe that we must save the earth.
Sure, we as a species have the potential to do considerable damage to the environment. We poison the air, the waters, and the land. We rip down mountains for the coal that lies beneath. We burn fossil fuels at an alarming rate spewing poisonous emissions and greenhouse gasses. We create chemicals never before known on earth and spray them on our crops, feed them to our animals, and use them to manufacture products that soon end up in vast landfills. We overfish the oceans, destroy rainforest, everything must give way for the consumptive wasteful society we find ourselves in. The list of sins committed against the environment goes on and on; nearly without end.
Regardless of the damage we do we will not destroy the planet; we will not even come close. So what if the planet warms, ocean levels rise, the Gulf Stream quits circulating plunging us into another ice age. So what if we spew nuclear radiation over millions of square miles. No matter what we do the planet can take it. The sun will come up in the morning and go down in the evening, the earth will be here.
What is at risk is us, the human species. In our rush to riches and power we forget that we to are a natural part of this planet. Just like all other living things, both plant and animal our life begins, matures, mates, and dies all the while depending entirely upon the earth for our very survival. When we poison the earth it is ourselves that we are poisoning. When we poison the atmosphere we are poisoning the very gasses that we require for survival. When we pollute the water we are polluting the universal solvent that makes up the vast majority of our bodies. When we eliminate a species we are eliminating just one more building block of the very environment that we depend upon for our life giving sustenance.
Protecting the environment in reality is all about saving ourselves. Going Green is not going to save the planet, it doesn’t need saving, but it is a step towards saving humanity. Although going green may seem to be an anathema to the path to riches, what does all the money and wealth in the world matter when we succeed in destroying ourselves?