""My answer [that the Earth was dying] did not come from abstract sources. Many changes had already taken place in my life and now readily apparent to anyone with eyes to see. The last majestic chestnut trees near my childhood home are now extinct. There are no chestnuts on Chestnut Lane, no elms on Elm St., no caribou in Caribou, Maine, and no buffalo in Buffalo, New York. Multiple states have had to change their official tree, animal or flower because of extinction...
"These changes in the health of the planet are mirrored in humans. A few months before vacation, I had admitted three women to the hospital. All three were in their thirties, all three had breast cancer, all three died. It is not easy to tell a man with one child on his hip and another in hand that he is on his own. There is only one response: to hug and cry with him.
"Later, I wondered about the lifetime risk of breast cancer, so I went and looked it up. When I started in medicine, one in nineteen women in America got breast cancer. When I saw the three women (in the winter of 1999), the same updated medical text said it was one in nine. Now (2008) it is one in seven. There is currently a pandemic of cancers and the most dramatic increases are in young people.
"Similarly, there have been increases in asthma, autoimmune diseases, autism and other maladies, which many believe have environmental links. No one can suppose that those trends in nature and in us can continue unchanged and everything will turn out all right.''
(J. Matthew Sleeth, The Power of Green, The Green Bible, Harper One, San Francisco, 2008, pp. I18-I19)
His empirical observations are beyond reproach, yet most of the newspaper articles you will read today about Earth Day will focus on stories like the local Rotary club which planted 50 trees at the local park or Mrs. Smith's second graders who planted 15 trays of flowers donated by Yourtown Growers.
And that's great, and yet...
"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child"
I'm sorry to spoil the celebration, but there seems to be one or two little things left out of our Earth Day stewardship conversation. I could let you off easy today, but I'm not going to.
"...When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."
The Earth's problems --our problems-- are not going to be solved by taking one day of the year to exalt things like planting trees, recycling, buying a GREEN BIBLE or riding bikes.
Obviously Earth Day should be celebrated every day and while it may be true that the Green Bible may not be theologically sound, Matthew Sleeth is right in THE EARTH IS DYING
It should be obvious that we can not even begin to address the following crises only 40 days out of the next 14,600 days (40 years) with out a deeper understanding of the root causes. With this in mind, I've comprised the top 12 of the most significant threats to our mutual survival because:"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". Albert Einstein
(Warning: the following stories may significantly alter your sense of reality.)