My precious children,
I am not in a good shape. For many years I have been nourishing all life. It is my wish that you grow into strong, healthy individuals, and so I give you everything that I have—air to breathe, water to drink, land to live and food to eat. I am happy when I see you and your families happy. I decided to write this letter to you because I am very ill now. There are many greedy people who are polluting the air, poisoning the rivers, cutting down the trees and killing many precious life forms. They are destroying my gifts, treasures that give you all life. I am afraid that if things go on like this, I will be permanently damaged. I want you to help me. If you help, there might still be a chance for me to get better. I am eagerly waiting for you to take action.
Goodbye for now,
Dialogue with Nature
Earth, or nature, is our original home. All life on this planet was born from the natural environment. We have not been created by machines – we are products of nature. However, haven’t we moved away from nature? Surrounded by gizmos and artificial pleasures, we seemed to have forgotten how much trouble our Earth is in.
Today, our dear Earth is in deep crisis. Many of its rivers are dry or polluted, forests have disappeared and the air is not fit to breathe. Experts say that human lifestyle is largely causing this distress to Earth. How do we live in harmony with nature? First, learn to appreciate and have a dialogue with nature. And then start talking to it.
Some cool ways to deepen your bond with Mother Earth:
. Grow a plant in your balcony and take it to a plant or flower show.
. Borrow or buy a camera and start taking pictures of nature. Make a nature album or CD.
. Go on morning walks. When you walk your pet, let him/her lead the way and discover nature’s treasures.
. Find out how many bugs stay as your house guests.
. Draw and paint the sunset before it’s gone.
. Find the oldest tree in your neighborhood and make friends with it.
Power of One
In the mid – 1970s, less than 2% of Kenya’s original forests were left. The women in villages suffered terribly as they had to walk long distances to collect firewood for cooking. There was no healthy soil in the fields and not enough water. The children were often sick.
One woman in a Kenyan village got an idea: “Why don’t we plant trees!” Trees provide shade, prevent soil erosion, supply firewood and produce nutritious fruit. This woman, Wangari Maathai, began planting lots of trees along with other women.
Soon women all over Kenya were planting trees and the Green Belt Movement was born. Not only did this increase the green cover of Kenya, but the women were able to sell the seeds for money and become more independent. Over 35 million trees have now been planted and 6,000 tree nurseries established in Kenya.
Wangari, who later won the Nobel Prize for Peace for her green movement, says, “I may be just planting a tree here, but just imagine what will happen if there are billions of people out there doing something like this. Just imagine the power of what we can do.” Imagine the power of one.
About 30years ago, in the state of Uttarakhand (then called Uttar Pradesh) in India, forests were being cut down by greedy contractors. The villagers were horrified – the trees in the forests were not just timber or paper or wood or furniture. The trees were their brothers and sisters. They had to protect them.
So, one day, when their trees were being cut, many women from a village called Reni rushed to the forest and started hugging the trees. As they embraced the trees, the contractors had no choice but to quit the forest. This courageous act of women started the Chipko Movement. (‘Chipko’ means to hug) that spread to many states of India. Today tree cutting is banned in India.
Be an Eco-defender for Earth
. Turn off the tap while you wash hands. Turn the tap on when you’re ready to rinse. Avoid taking a shower, go for bucket bath.
. Do more work in natural daylight and reduce usage of electricity.
. Borrow a toy or game instead of buying one. Trade toys with friends. Try making your own toys.
. Start recycling plastic and paper.
. Use eco-friendly mosquito repellants.
. Wear organic cotton.
. Create a “charger station” for your phone, Ipod, laptop, camera, etc. on one power strip and charge your stuff at night.