By Pamela Noel
Special to Plumas News
The other morning, as I sat at my breakfast table, looking around my kitchen, I saw in my mind’s eye what everything in the room had once been. I saw the refrigerator as metal, that had once been buried in stone. I saw the plastics that seemed to be part of many items in the room as roaring dinosaurs, dying and becoming the oil that would eventually be extracted to produce them. I saw my table and cupboards as trees that once grew in our forests. Everything in this kitchen had, at one time, been part of our natural eco-system.
And I asked myself, whose responsibility is it to govern how we use these resources? Do the government agencies, whose stated mission it is to protect our natural resources, really know how to manage and keep the balance in light of the greater demand and appetite of consumers? Does the flash and dazzle of manufactured goods diminish our ability to bask and wonder at nature’s little miracles that can be seen, so that we just want more and better things?
We have rules and guidelines for the ethics that guide our behavior toward one another. The legal profession has a code of ethics. The medical profession has one. Many segments of our society have their own guidelines that encompass a “code”. We often have unwritten codes within our own family. Sometimes aspirational, not always followed, they are there to help us carry on in a better way.
Most of these codes guide our behavior towards one another. But, we often leave our greatest host and mother out of the picture—the Earth. WHAT DO WE OWE THE EARTH, who has been crucial in providing the home for our evolution? How do we treat her? How do we recognize and own the harm we have created, reverse it, and ensure justice for all who have been harmed by our habits of living?
Although I am careful in using the word “should”, it is long past the time we “should” be asking these questions. There are many people who have gone beyond the asking of questions, who are in action mode…walking the talk…doing what needs to be done.
But what about the rest of us? What will it take? When will we realize that we collectively need to live more simply, sustainably, “cutting back” … perhaps hopping on a plane less often, buying less, growing more, reusing what we have?
There are countries that are miles ahead of us, concerning a sustainable lifestyle. We could legislate certain aspects of our lives to become more earth friendly, less destructive. But, what it will truly require is all of us reaching deeply into our hearts, realizing and feeling the harm we have created, and making more ethical choices to walk into the future…starting today.
Earth ethics is a call to be responsible given a fragile ecosystem for which we have been mostly responsible. We begin with gratitude for the earth that supports us. Then, we need to develop a sensitivity and listen to what is needed to let this magnificent host flourish.
We need to recognize how our desires have created the pain that we are starting to experience. The connection of oil, plastics, resource depletion, creating growth and lifestyles that most of us feel is normal and to which we are entitled, but is quickly destroying the planet.
One final note: Thanks to Plumas News, Debra Moore, and all the readers who have continued to read this space—both my personal thoughts and musings about the state of our earth. Hope to see you elsewhere soon.