Do you remember what it was like before you were born? No? That’s the point. We are forever aborning. Each moment a new incarnation, and in each moment the original conviction is arrived at again. Yet for all our convictions we are still constantly aborning.
We read about environmental issues nearly every day. We buy “eco-friendly” products from stores like Whole Foods or farmer’s markets. And we watch with fascination nature and wildlife adventure shows on television. We do all these things in an effort to be closer to nature, more in touch with the planet earth. But how much of this are we really accomplishing?
While there has been burgeoning interest in environmental consciousness in the past ten or twenty years, lately it seems as though that environmental awareness has resorted to a bunch of cheap marketing tricks. The underlying assumption among so many green products and initiatives is that it is only through acts of consumption that we can make a difference, that we can be politically effective entities. In this respect, most efforts at respecting the planet earth strike me as false.
So how, then, do we develop a respect for the planet Earth? For one, I think that all human beings, as part of the animal kingdom, already have an innate desire to be among plants and animals and pristine environments. That is to say, we don’t have to make ourselves care; we already do. The only problem arises when we are separated from nature for long periods of time, which is true of pretty much everyone in the modern, post-industrial world. Even if you do live in a more rural area, you are invariably still connected with the technological-industrial complex that has spawned the ubiquitous Internet. You can be in the middle of an awe-inspiring river valley but still be absent if you are in front a computer or cell phone.
So what does this all have to do with respect for the planet earth? Well, for one, we cannot recall our lost sense of innate planetary respect if we don’t commune with nature in the first place. Of course, we may have an abstract desire to respect the earth by recycling, getting rid of our cars, and reducing our carbon footprint, but this respect is never really concretely instilled unless we enjoy it in all its quiet and solitude.
So, before we embark on any environmentally-geared causes, it would do us well to see what this “planet earth” is really about. Once we’ve reaped the benefits of spending time in the great outdoors, then we’ll know from first-hand experience what it is we are fighting to protect. After all, the word “respect” originates from the Latin respicere, meaning “look at, regard, consider.” If we really want to respect the planet earth, then we should hew to the original meaning of “respect ” and go outside and take a look.
Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.(Bold, italicized text is input from One World class participants. Thank you!)