As I gazed in silence across the valleys and peaks, I was stunned by the wondrous scene that stretched before me.
Below me lay a blanket of cloud covering untold forest secrets. Turbulent streams of white mist raced through narrow jagged gorges, swirling over and around obstructions, just like boulders interrupting the flow of raging rivers.
Streams of fog reached the escarpment and cascaded silently over the edge, rolling until the momentum was curbed and they no longer held any shape. Tree-clad peaks pierced the clouds forming islands in the sky - an archipelago in a sea of tumbling white.
A mysterious golden glow radiated from somewhere beneath this bubbling carpet of cloud, creating shadows and subtle pink and orange hues. And suddenly, chunks of cloud broke away and drifted off like wispy campfire smoke, disintegrating, revealing hidden slopes and valleys. The remaining translucent fog simply dissolved. Sunshine warmed the air and earth, and the day awakened with birdsong and breeze.
To the casual observer who arrived at the lookout to view the sunrise, the fog might be nothing more than an untimely nuisance, but to the person who truly interprets nature for the remarkable life-giving force it is, the cloudy morning is a beautiful gift to the senses, to be treasured.
The disastrous effects of Climate Change are fast approaching, if not already upon us. Skepticism and nonchalance is rife. I have something to say about this ignorance and apathy, whether it be in the form of lack of interest or concern, total disregard for the consequences “because it won’t affect me”, or a genuine disbelief in scientific data/predictions. I challenge these people to honestly experience nature in it’s raw and unsullied form; get out there and get to know what humans are risking by not taking responsible care of the Earth. Only when you have felt the energy of the Earth, looked Nature in the eye and allowed its spirit to touch and nourish your soul, can you stand up and announce with conviction that you want to protect Planet Earth.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” Martin Luther King Jr.
How can the human race turn the tide of destruction and exploitation it has ravaged on the planet unless people are encouraged to seek a basic understanding of, and genuine interest in nature? A forest is not merely a bland canvas of green and brown, but a living breathing ecosystem comprised of earth, plants, rocks, animals, fungi, invertebrates, micro-organisms, water and air. Every component of that ecosystem is interconnected in the complex web of life. Humans are not superior or separate to nature - they are part of the web of life.
A race of greedy humans is stripping the Earth bare, degrading and polluting. What will be left for our grand-children’s children? What plants and animals will go extinct due to our actions or inaction? What will it mean to us and our planet when countless threads of the web are irreversibly broken? What will life be like when the last corner of the globe is trashed?
“By over-exploiting the Earth’s resources we are undermining the very basis of our own life.” 14th Dalai Lama.
Climate Change and environmental sustainability are not simple subjects, but we are living in an age of unprecedented environmental awareness. Information is freely available. Attitudes must change. Awareness and education is critical in promoting and adopting environmentally sustainable lifestyle practices, both individual and corporate.
Although time is of the essence, I firmly believe mass recognition and change could be a reality by beginning at the beginning - Nature. Can a person reel from the profound loss of a forest or desert or ocean before he/she truly experiences the grandness and wonder of the life within and surrounding these ecosystems? I ask you to sit in silent solitude amongst the trees and feel the essence of the forest; or hold the hand of a lover, friend, child or stranger in the desert night and recognise the significance of the land and sky; or let the clean, cold water of a pristine mountain stream wash over you and feel renewal within; become connected to nature, and you will know that you must take responsible care of our planet home. Encourage others; create a snowball effect, and with the spreading appreciation of nature, knowledge of, and concern for the environment will be enhanced. Passion is infectious and inspiring. Positive action will ensue.
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” Albert Einstein.
We are the intelligent species. Taking responsible care of the Earth that sustains our every need is simply common sense.
As the polar ice shelves recede due to Climate Change, will our only Polar Bears be those confined in zoos? For those who don't accept scientific data and predictions relating to human-induced Climate Change as fact, take a good look at life in your backyard and beyond, and ask yourself "can I afford not to live more responsibly, just in case they are right? Can I die peacefully when my time is up, knowing I have selfishly lived beyond my means at the expense of Earth's creatures and my great-grandchildren's basic survival requirements?"