Erev Earth Day

blue earth in hands 2.jpg

Jewish holidays start in the evening prior to the calendar day. And the day before, Erev whatever is celebrated by preparing. Erev Shabbat involves, for the observant, cooking and cleaning so the next day is free for rest and contemplation. Today, then, is Erev Earth Day, a time to prepare for the contemplation and commitments to be made tomorrow. Forty years after the first celebration of this special day, the Planet is arguably in much worse shape, in spite of grand efforts to curb the excesses of the affluent nations.

With so many people, businesses, and governments becoming green, the pace of destruction may be slowing down, but we are far, far from a level of damage that can be absorbed by the once resilient Earth. Growth, the imperative of all modern economies, promises to more than offset any gains won through greening. Celebrating Earth Day is not going to change that one bit. Certainly raising conscious of the damage we are doing to our home should be helpful, but I fear that those who need to hear the message will be blissfully unaware of this day. And for those that do celebrate the day as meaningful, they are largely fooling themselves that either their intentions or actions will turn the tide. They are fighting only a rear-guard battle, not the war

The war that must be waged is not against those forces that threaten our earthly home, but against ourselves. It’s not the Earth that needs regeneration and love, it’s ourselves. Unsustainability is fundamentally a human disease. We have forgotten what it means to be a human being. Our malaise is existential. In blindly accepting the modern way of living, we have lost the caring core that makes homo sapiens unique. Waiting for the next iSomething from Apple has become a major occupation for too many. Yesterday I passed a long line of mostly young men waiting outside a shoe store to buy the latest in sneakers, I think, from Nike. Some had been there waiting overnight since the day before. I looked inside to see what was so special. but to my eyes, all I saw was just another pair of shoes made somewhere overseas. If you are suspicious that something is wrong here, just take a peek at this video from the Nike website.

We act and are treated only as if all we are is a skinbag full of needs to be satisfied, almost exclusively, by buying or acquiring something. But that is not what we are at the core. We are fundamentally creatures that care about the world around us, about ourselves, our family, friends, and others with whom we relate, and, lastly, about the Planet and everything on it . If we do not recover our core, then all our promises to do something about the sad state of the world are hollow. We are only responding to what we hear from the crowd telling us what to do, not from our heart or soul. At best, Earth Day might wake us up and change the focus from out there to inside. At worst, it will only fool us into thinking we are doing all it takes. Buying a few extra green things tomorrow is not going to help.

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