Like many people around the world, I’ve spent some time in Quarantine catching up on streaming shows (and by catching up I mean outrageously binging everything available). After finishing “The Crown” and “Tiger King”, I landed upon something completely different called “Our Planet” on Netflix and I was moved to write the following short essay. We all hear about Climate Change on a regular basis, and we may understand it conceptually, but it is entirely different when you see its effects, and that is what “Our Planet” has done. It will show you firsthand, giving a window into the so-quickly changing planet we call home.
You have your planet Earth, and I have mine.
You have your Earth and her resources, and I have my Earth and her gifts.
You look upon Earth and you set her forests on fire to make way for dairy farms; you see oil to be drilled in exchange for money to erect buildings, each one higher than the last. I look upon Earth and watch the robin building its nest, a circumference of genius, settled on a tree centuries old.
You see Earth as something to conquer;
I look upon Earth and know that I am her guest, like the dinosaurs before me.
My Earth is a resilient polar bear and her cub trekking through treacherous waters in search of ice caps, which have long melted due to climate change. My earth is a migration of five million sea birds congregating along the ocean in search of fish to eat and partners to mate.
Your Earth is inhabited by politicians, developers, armies and tycoons.
My Earth is for peasants, yogis, artists, and philosophers.
Your earth is meaningless and fleeting, whereas my Earth is resilient and shall endure long after you are gone.
You are strong and arrogant among yourselves, but weak and pathetic next to Mother Nature. When you dance we all clap, and you take a bow. When Earth dances, it’s felt for miles and miles— her salsa, her samba, her tango; an earthquake, a tornado, a monsoon.
Let me tell you who the inhabitants of my Earth are…
They are the poets sitting beneath fig trees, thinking of words that rhyme with love.
They are the brave men and women who risk their lives to save endangered tigers from poachers or nurse Rhinos back to health after they’ve been mutilated and left to die for their horns.
They are the artists who paint the portraits you hang on the walls of your homes.
They are the tired mothers and fathers who work two jobs to ensure their children have the opportunities they never had.
They are the builders, the sewers, the factory workers and the farmers.
They sweep the temple floors and ring the church bells.
They give to charity in secret and pray quietly in their gardens.
You have never heard of them, but they have impacted the planet in silence.
These are the children of Earth; they are the light of the world, illuminated by the torch of humanity.
In just a few weeks of human-quarantine, the Earth has quickly begun to heal. Dolphins returned to the Venice canals, smog cleared from the skies, social media posts show mobs of monkeys and deer roaming streets in Thailand that are now devoid of tourists, and according to the EPA’s Air Quality Index— the reduction in car emissions has left Los Angeles with the longest stretch of clean air since 1980.
You think yourself important, but without humans all other life on earth would flourish. But without insects all other life on Earth would fall away slowly, like baby teeth.
When you finish streaming a movie, there are thousands more to choose from. When your clothes are soiled and your furniture worn, there are countless options to replace them. But the Earth is not like that; we get only one.