One important thing to keep in mind is the difference between fear and having a healthy respect, as it applies to many facets of life but also specifically in reference to our relationship with the planet. Another point of interest is the fact that the earth is just as alive as you or I, perhaps, even more. The planet grows, evolves and changes each and every day. It experiences change and loss; it sees tragedy and it feels both joy and sorrow. More than anything it possesses majesty and beauty, in spite of the fact that we humans attempt to steal that away every chance we get. That is one of the greatest tragedies.
The planet also learns. This is obvious from history, and now science. It is also apparent in our lore and fables. What most of us do not realize, or perhaps choose to ignore, is a great many things have come and gone before us, leaving their own unique imprint somewhere in the world. And, we will one day have come and gone leaving our mark; what will it be? Sometimes that question makes me nervous, usually leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. I worry what we leave on this fragile planet will be riddled with negativity. I wonder sometimes if our sudden “eco-efforts” are all in vain. And, not in the name of the planet but our own vanity; I wonder sometimes just how much time we do have left.
One day the planet will shed us, as if a dog out in the spring sun shedding itself of a tired, old winter coat. One day our behaviour will result in consequence and our planet will no longer tolerate our abuse. It is our own fear of mortality, peppered, perhaps, with jealousy, that drives us to ignorantly attempt to control it. Our lack of complete understanding, and the presence of its mystery, infuriate us and cause us to act out, and that is very wrong. One day the people will learn the lesson many people hoped it would not.
Death is a hot topic between us humans and the planet. In recent years, a number of increasingly worrisome natural disasters have occurred and sad results of those are the huge numbers of human casualty and fatality. There has been a lot of human suffering, and in many instances said suffering continues years later. We get angry and upset with the planet, we refuse to understand and we ask a lot of questions, though we don’t really care about the answers. The breakdown lies in our failure to comprehend and accept that what takes places is natural. It is a natural part of the planet’s life. In no way do I mean to make light of the struggle, pain and loss of others, but in many ways the planet’s natural disasters are very much like the tantrums of a small child…
We’ve all witnessed those moments of calm before the storm, happily bouncing about and laughing, cherub-faced and bubbly; what ensues is shear and utter chaos. The store erupts in the middle of the store, everyone is standing there watching the tears, hearing the cries, and all of it loud and ugly. Yet, beyond these seemingly inexplicably outrageous outbursts often lies a very logical and reasonable cause.
When something very massive occurs in nature and there are people on the television suffering and angry, there are always angry people, and it leaves me confused. Perhaps, I see it all too objectively. I am saddened when a natural disaster occurs and even one person is injured or worse perishes, let alone thousands of people, but a natural disaster is just that: a natural occurrence and those events are often (especially with the technology available today) quite easily explained through scientific research and analysis. What I find unbearable is the war and suffering we bring upon ourselves. I am sorry for any life lost in any natural disaster or encounter with nature, but I can more easily understand and accept it. And whether I have been privy to a natural disaster or not is not relevant. I see the planet no different than myself. I believe it has the right to and will grow and change just as we do, and if in that growth we humans suffer loss, we need to think about the damage we have thrust upon the planet before we cry foul too loudly. Natural disasters do not make me angry, I find them fascinating. But, when we kill each other through plotting and careful calculation, when we seek each other out, when we lay in wait, stalking, hunting, we do something quite unnatural. To seek out another life and eliminate it is the most inexcusable thing one can do. It is without explanation or justification and carries consequences infinitely greater than any resulting from a natural disaster.