“The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not a professional philanthropist, and I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out.” – Paul Newman
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone were able to put back what they took out? If everyone only put back what they took out, and didn’t add all their litter and refuse? I remember a nice passage in Willa Cather’s Death Came for the Archbishop in which two characters discuss the Native Americans’ ability to live in a place for a while and then move on, leaving no trace that they had spent time there. They had true respect for the planet and their surroundings, and they knew how important it was to leave things as they should be for the next people who came along, and for nature itself.
For our part, we’ve inherited a planet on which very few areas have been left in their “pure” state. We have to deal with a huge number of problems that have been brought on by over-development, overuse, manipulation, and abuse. People before us took what they could from the land and they put very little back. It’s a legacy that we’ve inherited through no fault of our own, and to our credit, we’ve come a long way towards righting some of the wrongs of the past.
That doesn’t mean, though, that we don’t still have responsibilities to this planet. What have we given back? Are we going to leave with little fuss, or will we leave behind a mountain of trash that someone else will have to deal with? We have a beautiful planet here, and one of the ways that we can help our children and grandchildren to live life fully is to leave them a planet that’s still beautiful, that’s still healthy, that’s still functional. And that’s up to every single one of us, not just those few who are working in conservation.
Questions to consider:
What kinds of things can you do to help to conserve this planet for our descendants?
Why does our culture tend to undervalue concepts such as conservation?
If you and I don’t work to conserve the planet, who will?
For further thought:
“Life is really simple. What we give out, we get back.” – Louise L. Hay