7 Billion Reasons
Quietly and with modest fanfare, the Earth welcomed its seven billionth human on Monday.
And like all who came before this child across the millenia, the Earth surrounded this human with an abundance of life-sustaining gifts: Air to breath, fresh water to drink, and fertile land to grow food. As this child grows, the Earth will continue to selflessly give of itself: Trees for wood to build shelter, stores of fossil fuels for energy and plastics and so many other things, oceans for travel and food, precious metals to adorn, plants to derive medicines from… Everything that this child will ever need — or could want — will come from the Earth.
So what does that mean to you and me?
Everything. With this new child, there are seven billion reasons (and counting) for all of us to challenge the status quo of how we live our lives and the burdens we bring upon this beautiful planet of ours. Seven billion reasons to embrace a new earth ethic that returns and restores the awe and magnificence of the natural world to our senses and livelihoods. Seven billion reasons why we must approach each day as a single human family with common values, selfless respect and deep compassion instead of billions of individuals with selfish egos and agendas.
Have you ever stopped to reflect on the beauty of this world we are a part of?
Our oldest son has been showing a strong interest in astronomy as of late. With that, we’ve been spending time with a lot of library books and talking about all things meek and grand within the cosmos.
But it’s been the simple pictures of Earth that have given me such pause of late. When paired next to images of the other planets in our solar system, the Earth just beams with beauty. A perfect sphere of deep blue with green-brown masses intricately connected across its surface and the wispy white of cloud cover seemingly brushed on here and there. With just a passing glance, you know we are somewhere special in the cosmos.
Yet, the path we have set in motion as humans has the potential to render this idyllic picture unrecognizable to those who will come after us. Selfishly, we will have stripped the Earth to its core, burned its contents to ashen relics, poisoned its air and water, rendered land barren and unable to bear life-giving food, and brought fellow creatures to the brink of or sadly to the demise of extinction. For what? So called “gain” and “prosperity”? The illusion of “growth” and “innovation”?
With the seven billionth human among us, we reach yet another critical milestone in our brief but tumultuous history; another fork in the Road of Life. Decisions both big and small regarding our future are more critical than ever.
If the annals of history are to be kind, all of we must shift our perspective on Nature and our place within it. We must return to a balance point that respects the gifts the Earth gives freely to us and enables all to share in a way that redefines “prosperity”. We must live choose to live deeply in a shallow world. We must live simply so that others may simply live.
The fork is there. We have the power and means to turn the right way. All that is needed is the collective will — the will of all seven billion of us.
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- Meditation: To Nature We Turn
- Roots, Reconciliation and Renewal
- Minimalism, Mindfulness and the Moral Imperative of a New Earth Ethic
[image: NASA via Flickr]