Posted by: MC | April 22, 2013

Earth Day – a Week after Boston

Earth Day 2013  mmc

Earth Day.  Two days after 4/20.  A week since the Boston Marathon Explosion.  Ten days since the Senate voted against background checks for gun purchases.

Pedantic as it may sound, if it weren’t for the Earth, none of these other things would have a place to happen. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter how it sounds – it’s simply so.  Without Earth, marijuana would not grow, humans would not have places to be born, to die, to run marathons, to kill or to avoid leadership toward reducing the killing.  Without the Earth, I would not have this keyboard and screen and venue known as a blog.  There would be no such thing as the word blog – a term still grating to me in its clunkiness.  Couldn’t we have come up with something more elegant?  Even the verb to google has a modicum of aesthetic value.

But back to the original line of inquiry: The situation of every celebration and horror, every clock tick and turn of season, every breath in, every pulse beat in the context of this planet and its atmosphere.  Then there’s the globes’s situation itself — its placement relative to the sun so intricately precise it can generate the environment that sustains our living.

Today the sun is out in Portland, wisteria is beginning to bloom.  Today much of the Midwestern United States is flooded and newly fallen feet of snow are beginning to melt in Montana.  Poetry is being written in Colorado and Hawaii, in New Hampshire and in the margins of a weekly newspaper in Montgomery.  And Elders in rural Alaska are gathered at tables beading, sewing animal hides, and talking again about how a few weeks ago they had gathered in the same room to visit with friends in Ohio over Skype. 

Most of the people moving through lives today, through mundane routine, great delight or crushing trauma will give no thought to this stage – this Earth.  We forget.  In lots of cases, the fact of our reliance on the planet and its resources is never brought to awareness.  That fact is no less so.  The Earth is no less present and its generosity is never any less free.

An obscure video showed up on the internet this week.  I say that without really knowing, but it didn’t seem to have any level of viral exposure.  In it a former CEO of Nestles sat behind his desk in his office in Germany.  He spoke in a matter-of-fact way about the Earth and its resources and, as if he were explaining the procession of one month to the next – first is January, then February, then… — he presented his fact that water is a food stuff.  His commentary proceeded to show that as a food, access water is not a right but rather a commodity to be privatized.  Check it out for yourself.

The logic of this man’s position is that all human activity ought to support business success, then all will be well.  Oddly, stretched to its limits, this could be so.  If we were all truly and thoroughly, 100% focused on business success we would have excellent schools for preparing participants in business, we would have healthy and happy families and communities and profound universal appreciation and sustenance of diversity – of ethnicity, language, religion, sexuality, ….  We would have fair distribution of wealth and vast cooperation in the production and distribution of food and of health care.  And to keep it all going we would have clean water, air and soil.  All of these things would be recognized as completely necessary to business, if we were truly focused 100% on success (and I must admit to assuming success equals both innovation and sustainability).

So, here on Earth Day — on this stage with its week of unfathomable grief (in Boston, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, China), of disappointment, and of cannabis celebrations – here we are together still, with only opportunity for seeing where we are, and for joining together to make wiser choices – like kindness and listening, like courage.

A lot of that happened in Boston among the community members responding to Monday’s crisis.  A lot of it happens every day, but much like the Earth upon which it all takes place, the tendency is to give only fleeting attention to the weave maintained and the precedents set with goodness and generosity.


  1. As always, an accurate assessment. Thank for your clarity.

  2. So true. And beautifully stated, as always. Thank you, MC!

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