OUR CHOICE by Emily Bergeson (18)
Today, I stood in the knee-high lemon grass and untied my hair. I let the violent sharp breeze tangle my hair into nasty snarls and I ducked beneath the protection of the grass. I sit and dare not make a sound in fear that I might miss the silence rolling through the leaves and untamed dandelions I admire the dandelions steadily growing beside me how lovely would life be if I was as content and patient as they are. As I lay there, the warmth from the sun pressing it’s way through my hair, I feel the love mother earth so freely gives, and I let it reside inside of me.
To be able to put into words how much the earth means to me is seemingly impossible. She is the greatest comforter. Have you ever let the persistent waves of the ocean wash away your engulfing sadness? Have you ever let the wind sing to you as it floods into a forest of aspens and crumble your deafening loneliness? Someday when the world is terribly overwhelming and utterly disgusting I sit with the evergreens and allow myself to become something more than just human, I am there, grounded, growing with the trees, waving with the branches, and crawling with the clouds. And in that moment I do not feel overwhelmed and disgusted, I feel sheer delight and encouragement.
However, my heart aches because the planet that provides everything for not only us humans, but all living things, is suffering. Because of the greedy nature of mankind we are putting my dear planet in danger. We take, take, take but we fail to give back.
Our burning of fossil fuel is acidifying the ocean leaving nothing but white skeletons to haunt our reefs. Our Pollution makes it hard for everyone who lives here to breathe and eventually creates acid rain that poisons our plants and contaminates our water. Our demand for land and resources to please the growing population is responsible for the loss of 80% of our natural forests. We are so unconcerned with the condition of the planet that we litter heaps of plastic which end up in the ocean creating islands that are miles long of solely trash. We are facing an extinction rate that is 10,000 times any natural extinction rate we’ve ever recorded.
Right now we are deciding, without quite meaning to, which evolutionary pathways will remain open and which will forever be closed. No other creature has ever managed this, and it will, unfortunately, be our most enduring legacy. The time to act, my respected reader, is now. The science is sound and improving. Those living today will either win the race against extinction, or lose it, the latter for all time. We need to protect our planet because, to put it bluntly, our health and prosperity depend on it.