Evolving our Envisage about the Earth, Lubna Javed
We are all aware that over the past few decades there has been a pattern of increasingly higher average temperatures as well as more severe weather patterns. I now live in a region of the world which is facing one of the most severe droughts on record, where ‘Brown is the new Green’. We are all aware of environmental pollution but this has not deterred the litterers from depositing trash debris anywhere but the garbage or recycling bin even when it might be just a few feet away. Did you know that it takes anywhere from 500 to 1000 years for plastic to degrade?
I visited a small museum in Danville, California, called the Black Hawk Museum, late last year. A section of the museum is dedicated to the ‘Spirit of the Old West’. Two Native American proverbs on the wall of the entrance to that section of the museum caught my eye:
“Treat the Earth well: It was not given to you by you are parents, it was loaned to you by your children.”
- “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
The Earth is borrowed from our children. Let the profoundness of the above statement imprint in your mind. Whenever I borrow something from a friend to use it, I am much more careful with it than if it were my own. And I have noticed that many of us are that way with borrowed items.
I have started considering the Earth as borrowed from my children and I have noticed a considerable shift in my behaviour in treating the Earth. I find myself kinder. I will now dig through my garbage bin to find recyclable items that my household inadvertently put in the trash instead of the recycling bin. I will now make sure my showers are shorter. I will now take cloth bags to the grocery store so I do not have to get plastic bags to carry my grocery home. I will now make sure paper is used on both sides before I chuck it into the recycling bin.I will now wear a sweater instead of increasing the temperature on the thermostat when I am cold.I will now avoid buying bottled water.
Change does not need to happen on corporate or government levels to make a difference. While this is important, individual efforts do make a difference. There are countless statistics online to show this. Recycling just one can of Coke saves enough energy to run your TV for 3 hours. (Source: Huffingtonpost: 17 Ridiculously Easy Things You Can Do To Help Save The Earth Every Day) Do not undermine your individual efforts. Do not let anyone tell you that you alone cannot make a difference. In the words of Desmond Tutu, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
Even religious scripture instructs us to protect the environment. The Quran states, “It is He that has made you caliph (vicegerent), over the earth….” (Quran, 6:165) The Quran says that God gave humans the role of steward, ‘caliph’, on earth. Caliph is an Arabic word which translates into steward, deputy, or guardian. This important role gives humans the responsibility for maintaining and protecting God’s creations.
God has also instructed us not to be wasteful: “O Children of Adam! Eat and drink but waste not by excess, for God loveth not the wasters” (Quran 7:31). I only have knowledge of Islamic scripture however, simple research will show that other religions also guide its followers to take care of the environment. It does not matter whether you are religious or not, the take away message here is important: Treat the Earth well.
Feb 24, 2016
Photo source: www.Nasa.gov