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Stop Inflicting Harm on Mother Nature

Posted August. 04, 2007 03:39,   


“Protect Mother Nature!”

It’s almost clichéd, but there is one thing we’re not aware of. Human beings are not able to protect nature. If anything, over thousands of years, the Earth has been the guardian of humanity. Man is one of millions of species nature has been taking care of. For Mother Nature, humans are a “mischievous offspring” that seem to offer nothing but harm.

The earth, however, can no longer afford to indulge human beings. It is sick and aged. “The good life,” American eco-activist Helen Nearing has been in pursuit of, has collapsed. Belatedly, Adam started caring for his mother. But what is really needed is not protection but forgiveness and awakening. In this respect, “Zoro`s Field: My Life In The Appalachian Woods,” by Thomas Rain Crowe, and “Climate change begins at home: life on the two-way street of global warming,” by Dave Reay, are nothing less than memoirs. Both authors are asking for nature’s forgiveness. One retired into himself and headed for woods as if he had inflicted punishment on himself. The other gives an admonition to us. Between inspiration and preaching, which one is more effective in protecting nature? Yet regardless of the answer, both make us ashamed of ourselves.

The message “Zoro`s Field: My Life In The Appalachian Woods” conveys is straightforward: desert civilization and go back to Mother Nature. He forgoes electricity, tapped water, and even a watch. He is living tending a small mountain garden. The book chronicles in 1978-1982, when he lived alone deep in the North Carolina woods.

But simplicity doesn’t guarantee comfort. He suffered from loneliness. “When loneliness strikes to my bones, I realize I am not ready to be alone.” For the author struggling to survive by himself, Henry David Thoreau’s essay, “Walden,” was like a ray of sunshine. Thoreau wrote that one should be used to talking to himself, be indifferent to time, and learn how to unite with nature like deer, doves, flowers, and trees. The essay was not only his bible but also a must for his survival. Then he wrote, “I enjoy being alone. I’ve never met a friend gayer than solitude.” Solitude in the woods is not isolation. It’s part of making friends with something bigger, Mother Nature. Though Crowe’s memoir doesn’t carry illustrations, it portrays a much deeper and wider world. It lets us know it’s not just science or an expedition that brings great discoveries. Read between the lines, and you will encounter the all-embracing Mother Nature.

“Climate change begins at home: life on the two-way street of global warming” presents explicit messages. It points out in a forthright language that human beings’ comfortable lives are choking the Earth. It argues that small changes can prolong the life of humanity and the Earth. “Rather than throwing away the effigy of George W. Bush, who abandoned the Kyoto Protocol, to the dogs, I am determined to reduce the greenhouse gases I emit. I will do my share and take responsibility.”

The author invented a typical American middle-class family of four, the Carbones, and examined how much greenhouse gas they emit. Mr. Carbone’s car produces 12 tons of CO2 per year, and Mrs. Carbone, 4 tons while shopping at discount stores. An additional 13 tons came from heating and cooling of their family home. Even walking the dog emits 3 tons of greenhouse gases a year.

Dave Reay, a research fellow at Edinburgh University, is well aware of the danger of global warming. He obsessively delves into things that are related to greenhouse gas emissions. He made a resonant argument that we should go to great lengths to prevent the Earth, once called a “pale blue spot” in “Cosmos” by Carl Sagan, from becoming a “burning red spot.”

It’s time for us to make a decision. Are you going to pass down the responsibility to our descendants? No way! Protecting the Earth is the responsibility of the present generation. Global warming is not the only problem facing the Antarctic. Summer is getting hotter and spring and fall are getting shorter. Do you want to repent in the woods? If not, you’d better change your attitude toward life before nature collapses and takes you with it.