The Turn to Earth

Rural outbuildings near the Harbert Preserve.

One day soon, you and I will have to turn to Earth and put a halt to the planet’s degradation. The problem is, I haven’t put the date on my calendar.  Is today the day when the headlines are bad enough that I will put the date on my calendar, the date when I must begin living differently, because, if we don’t all get the date on our calendars soon, the human species might die?

Last week, I noticed a headline about birds nesting a month early.  They are doing this because the Earth’s temperatures are warmer.  So, the birds are adapting to a change in the air.  Their innate wisdom is what humans lack.  They listen to the air.  Humans do not.

This morning, as I read an article about Putin’s atrocities, a bit of bold text in the sidebar mentioned that it’s “now or never if the world is to stave off climate disaster.”  I was running late, so I couldn’t read more.  Now, though, I’m thinking about that little bit of text.  I hold such messages in one part of my mind, as the rest of it goes on normally.

I don’t suspend habit.  I don’t instinctively calibrate it, as the birds are doing.  If only there were a big red fire alarm switch to stop us “civilized” people in our tracks!  We need an unmistakable signal, a cosmic Amber Alert, loud enough to interrupt our customs and force us to stop.  If only there were a protocol for foreswearing our arrogation and turning to earth, reverentially caring for its life-giving elements and seeking its redemption as activists like David Attenborough are urging us to do.

The primitives’ oneness with nature being lost, we strain to recall the synergistic bond between nature and all human life.  Yet the turn to Earth can be something other than a return to an earlier, simpler, and yes cruder time.  The cosmic scale of the climate crisis dwarfs the individual, yet cosmic change depends on each of us harkening to a change in the air.