from Earth Mother
written by Ellen Jackson
illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
Walker Publishing Inc., 2005
read on-line 4/21/2020
The rest of Earth Mother shows how Earth Mother received thanks from humans for providing frogs to eat, but they complained about the pesky mosquitoes. She received thanks from the frogs for providing mosquitoes to eat, but they complained of humans eating their kind. She received thanks from the mosquitoes for providing humans, so juicy, but the mosquitoes complained about the frogs, always eating them.
Then, Earth Mother said goodnight to the beetles, to the hawks, to the people, to the sunbirds, to the frogs, the whales, to the mosquitoes and the fireflies, and to her children everywhere.
And then she went to sleep and the world, in its own way, was perfect.
I remember when I learned about conservation. My teacher stressed that the word meant “to use wisely,” not “to save.” I took that message home and my mom told me a story.
Mom told me about my dad’s mom. She saved a pair of silk stockings my dad brought home for her when he returned from fighting in World War II.
She never wore them. Babba (we called her) kept them in her dresser drawer instead. Too pretty, too expensive to wear, lest they wear out. My mom and my aunt found them, still in their box, still wrapped in tissue paper when they closed up the house after Babba and my grandpy passed away.
When my mom tried to lift those stockings out of their carefully protected place, the material had disintegrated.
“What a shame,” I remember my mom saying. “No one got to enjoy them.”
To me, conservation is kinda the same. For me, the opposite of conserve is “waste,” not “use.” Some consumables we need: water; fabric for clothing; materials for shelter. We need to enjoy them. They can be replaced, regrown. They are renewable.
Here’s my poem for Earth Day, 2020.
Lament to Our Mother: What Have We Done?
spew carbon high,
hiding the clouds.
succumb to more plastic
than even a whale
Ground so polluted
crops are diluted.
They feed but don’t nurture
Machines clack and clatter
exhausting all matter
Thunberg, Muir, Gore,
and so many more
But icebergs drip, dripping
cause us to all
live in fear.
Does she take it in stride,
All patience and pride?
Our Mother Earth
our path to destruction
She brings out her
sunshine and smiles.
This week marks several anniversaries.
It’s been 10 years since the Deep Water Horizon explosion caused the largest oil spill in United States history. Located in the Gulf of Mexico, 11 people were killed, millions of gallons of oil spewed into the water for 87 days, countless marine wildlife were killed. A toxic crude oil component (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs) are still found in Gulf fish and mammals. Billions were spent by BP and the government on clean-up. Research is ongoing.
Early in 1970 Richard Nixon, of all people, signed the Environmental Protection Act into law. This led to The Clean Air Act and the The Clean Water Act, also to Nixon’s credit.
Clean Air Act programs have lowered levels of common and toxic pollutants. Although water continues to be polluted in many places, strides have been made to protect and clean our vital life-source.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. It truly has become a world phenomenon. Because of distancing recommendations by health experts the world over, Earth Day celebrations and challenges have all moved on-line. https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/
Billions of dollars are spent each year on research and programs like installation of solar panels on private homes, electric cars, and discovering how to harness the energy in our garbage.
More people are more aware of the Climate Catastrophe, the unnecessary use of single-use (especially but not only) plastic, food waste, air and water pollution. Becoming aware is the first step toward taking action and speaking out.
Greta Thunberg is inspiring kids all over the world and admonishing the grown-ups.
Even in this pandemic, maybe because of this pandemic, people are becoming aware of what we really need and what we really need to do.
-—stay curious! (and celebrate our Earth)