A recent United Nations report, “Nature Crisis,” reveals the extent to which mankind is changing life on Earth. It says that while the Earth has always suffered from the actions of humans through history, over the past 50 years these scratches have become deep scars.
A few facts:
• The world population has doubled since 1970, the global economy has grown four-fold while international trade has increased ten times over.
• To feed, clothe and give energy to this burgeoning world, forests have been cleared at astonishing rates, especially in tropical areas. Between 1980 and 2000, 247 million acres of tropical forests were lost mainly from cattle ranching in South America and palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia.
• Faring worse than forests are wetlands, with only 13% of those present in 1700 still in existence in the year 2000.
• Species are going extinct at a faster rate than seen for millions of years. A million species now face extinction within decades.
• Soils are also being degraded as never before. This has reduced the productivity of 23% of land surface of the Earth.
We are reckless consumers. Plastic pollution has increased ten-fold since 1980. Every year we dump 300 to 400 million tons of heavy metal solvents, toxic sludge and other waste into the water of the world.
Each day I feel grief for nature and its creatures so under assault. I believe everyone alive is feeling this sorrow for the planet, although most are not aware of it.
Rather than grieving for Mother Earth, many are given pills for depression or find ways to self-medicate. To live well involves making amends to the Earth by finding gratitude for every bite of food and for every stitch of clothing, for every element in our bodies, for it all comes from the Earth.
We all need to correct our selfish, mindless manner of wasting resources and amend our arrogant disregard for life.
Red Lake Falls, Minnesota