I know that you have dedicated this day to me and you want to honor me for everything I have given you. Fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, fertile soil to grow your food, life-saving herbs and medicines, a beautiful world teeming with diverse flora and fauna, and much more… Since I’ve got your attention today, I think it’s a good time for us to have a little chat.
First things first. I’m your mother and I love you, but you really need to stop taking me for granted. I single-handedly feed all 7 billion of you. And you are growing every day. Your demands are growing every day. Don’t you understand, there’s only so much I can do?
You’re trying to change me, my climate, my natural resources, and my constitution in every possible way. I’ve been here for 4.5 billion years. 4.5 billion years! You started your civilizations barely 10,000 years ago. At that time, I could feel that you love and respect me, your Mother Earth.
But, ever since you started your industries in the 1800s, you have been acting like reckless teenagers. Mindless deforestation, careless urbanization, inexhaustible CO2 emissions, river channelization, unchecked extraction of fossil fuels… You ask so much of me… So much more than what I can give you.
My resources are limited. I cannot replenish them at the pace you want me to. So, please grow up. Because I cannot change according to your needs. I cannot keep up with your lifestyle and your never-ending demands. Deal with this fact and learn to conserve. In 12 years from now, half of you would be living in areas of acute water shortage. Tell me, how old would your kids be then? How do you think your grandchildren will survive?
There is so much waste and pollution all over me that it hurts me beyond words. Don’t you see my pain when the ground beneath your feet shakes? When storms and tornadoes erupt from my heating body? Every year you report that the last year was the hottest on record. I’m losing the oldest and thickest ice from the Arctic sea cap. My sea levels keep rising. I’m sure you must have noticed that between 1980s and 2000s, flood and drought disasters rose by 230% and 38% respectively. And with your growing population, the number of people exposed to floods also shot up by 114%.
When the IUCN Red List told you that out of the 63,837 species it had assessed, 19,817 were threatened with extinction because of your activities, I’m sure you didn’t care much. Well, I hate to break it you, but if you keep exploiting me like you have been, pretty soon you will get featured on that list too.
If you really love me, don’t honor me on only on a few special days. Honor me, and every single species that I have nurtured, on all days of the year. If you want me to take care of you, you need to take care of me first.
Yours (only if you choose to)