By Qin Sun Stubis
Like us humans, the Earth is a living thing with a personality and a temper. When I say “living,” I’m talking about her growing mountain peaks, flowing rivers and oceans, and everything that She breathes life into and nurtures, be they people, animals or vegetation; when I say “temper,” I refer to her volcanic eruptions, earthquake tremors and atmospheric rages.
Until the day we find other planets to harbor us and provide us with resources to live and thrive, Earth will always be our only home, our sole means of existence and the single provider of our livelihood. She gives us everything, including our very lives, now and forever. Her life precedes our own, and without hers, we wouldn’t have ours.
Our Mother Earth is beautiful. From afar, pictures transmitted from outer space open our eyes with breath-taking images of her majestic magnificence. Her round perfection, adorned in blues, greens, browns, and whites, makes our hearts brim with pride: We are her children, her proud Earthlings. Closer to home, we nestle in her bosom, enjoying every astonishing part of her beauty. Earth is magical: She is deep beyond the depth of her oceans and kaleidoscopic with the turning of each and every season. She has fertile lands, vast seas, and boundless skies to satisfy and indulge our curiosity and appetite.
Our Mother Earth is also kind and forgiving. For thousands of years, She has tolerated our poking, digging, and every physical assault. We force changes on her to fulfill our needs, seldom questioning how She would be affected. Quietly, She provides, never asking us to give anything back. She is our altruistic mother, loving guardian and fierce protector, without whom mankind and civilization would cease to exist.
As we flourish, however, her health declines, like an overworked, drained and aging parent. Though She tries to maintain her composure, She has been expressing her agitations and discomfort more frequently than ever, through droughts, mudslides, tornadoes and tsunamis, which we call “natural disasters.” When her dark side surfaces, She becomes outraged, ferocious, destructive and even murderous, leaving multitudes of her seemingly innocent children destitute and in despair, wondering why their own mother has forsaken them.
Every once a while, such as on Earth Day or when a tragic event occurs, our conscience pricks us. We start to reflect, wondering whether we are at fault for the episodes of Earth’s temper-tantrums and her unstable body temperature we called “global warming.” Efforts heat up to protect the environment, clean up parks and rivers, and save energy.
But soon enough we cool down and resume our normal our lives, working, shopping, and building dream homes of a magnificent size. Why should we overly worry about Earth all the time? After all, She’s tremendously big with seemingly inexhaustible resources and power. And history shows that She always lives on, persisting even when entire races, including the dinosaurs, perish.
So we focus on the continuation of our kind, creating worldwide organizations to monitor and maintain our harmonious and prosperous existence, such as the United Nations for world peace and the World Bank for our global economy. It was not until 1991 that we finally launched a global initiative for protection of the environment called the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with 183 participating countries. However, it’s mainly for funding projects but not monitoring the changes on Earth. In other words, our Earth matriarch still doesn’t have a physician, or her annual checkup. With all the scientists in the world, we still don’t have a world organization devoted to the understanding and protection of the very ground we stand and depend on.
The melting ice caps and extreme weather around the world tell us that we cannot treat each part of the Earth as a separate entity. We only have one Earth and all her parts are connected. We need a global organization, gathering the talents of scientists from all over the world to care and protect what is essential to our existence, our Mother Earth.
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