“Well done,” said Oberon. “They are [a wild pansy] called Love in Idleness. I will use them to cast a midsummer spell on Queen Titania.”
from: Ella Bella Ballerina: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
written and illustrated by James Mayhew
Orchard Books/Barron’s, 2015
Today is William Shakespeare’s birthday (April 23, 1564). In the Bard’s day, the Thames River was so polluted that you could smell its stink for miles. In my day, the Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it caught fire.
If it is true that all the world’s a stage and we are all merely players (adapted from As You Like It, Act II, Scene vii by William Shakespeare), then just like Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream (sorta quoted above), we’ll need a little magic to make the world right. We don’t. We need information. We need encouragement. And we need determination. That combination IS magic.
Myths and controversies surround both Shakespeare and Earth Day. (Always celebrated the day before, April 22)
Some say Shakespeare couldn’t have been the prolific poet and playwright he claimed he was. After all, the skeptics claim, he was the son of a glove-maker. He was poorly educated, he was not well-travelled, he did not have the time to have written the quantity (not to even mention the amazing quality) of work. He did not own a collection of books for reference. But admittedly, these theories are all based on a lack of evidence. Genius or not, William Shakespeare probably collaborated on at least some of his famous works. Most writers of his day did. So I have laid the controversy to rest, at least for myself. I recognize Shakespeare’s genius for what it was. He was smart enough to ask questions and savvy enough to take good advise.
Genius scientists are pros at asking questions. They ask the questions they think they know answers to, just to discover if they actually could be wrong. After all, it’s really effective to learn from our mistakes. Scientists have shown us that we continue to make many, and many dangerous mistakes. They show us that we human beings have had a profound affect on our environment, especially in the days and years since the Industrial Revolution.
So why is the earth filled with climate-change deniers?
Of course, the concept of denial is well-understood, well-documented, and much written about. We can be in denial about our own mortality or that of a loved one. We can be in denial about the hot-fudge sundae we ate last night really affecting our weight-control efforts. We can be in denial about a drinking or drug habit. According to psychological research, the enormity of the problem does not allow our brains to process its reality.
Now imagine that the earth will suffocate/drown/blow away or burn up if we don’t acknowledge climate change and start working diligently toward solutions.
That fact of climate change is easy to deny. It is just too big to wrap our heads around and millions of people are climate deniers.
So what is the solution? Just like any huge problem or project, we must break it into smaller, more achievable goals.
That’s where all those lists come from.
You know, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and ReFUSE (single-use plastic, gas guzzlers, styrofoam…)
Denial comes from fear. We become “scared stiff.” But even a small, positive action will lessen our fear. Do enough and we can encourage others. Working in community is better, but of course a solution will ultimately take whole nations working together. Like the Paris Climate Accord.
Hosts of activities; planned and sponteneous, boisterous and reverent, large and small, took place yesterday, all over the world to celebrate the 49th Earth Day.
Mother Nature is nothing if not fair. She responds harshly to abuse, but is abundantly forgiving when treated with love and generosity.
Here’s a list of some forward-thinking organizations you might want to learn more about.
The Official site for Earth Day https://www.earthday.org
The National Park Service https://www.nps.gov
Clean Water Action https://www.cleanwateraction.org
The National Audubon Society https://www.audubon.org
The National Wildlife Federation https://www.nwf.org
The White Feather Foundation whitefeatherfoundation.com (founded by Julian Lennon)
https://myplasticfreelife.com/?s=Beth+terry Beth Terry’s website. Her TED talk is here:
Let’s promise Mother Earth to be more cautious, more care-full, and more aware of her gifts.
Stay curious! (and in love with our Earth)