The first time I visited the Mayan ruins of Copán, in Western Honduras, I was told that it had been a prosperous settlement for 400 years and then, suddenly, almost overnight, the civilization collapsed and the site was abandoned. “And”, the guide said, “nobody knows why.”
Well, I know! And it does not take a degree in sociology or anthropology. They fouled their nest! As the population grew and resources were depleted, and the heaps of garbage piled up, Copán became uninhabitable.
The United States, at the beginning of the 21st century, comprises about 5% of the world population, it uses 25% of the world’s resources and it contributes 32% of the world’s waste. No, our civilization is not about to collapse and certainly our families will still live here for hundreds of years. Thousands? Less certain. And our planet? The picture is not pretty. No wonder NASA and other government and private institutions talk about colonizing the moon and Mars . . . !
So, today is Earth Day 2008. What are you doing today to preserve Earth and life on it? I’ve just come inside from planting a beautiful Juniper I received yesterday, adding to the mini forest I have been creating in my garden for the past four years.
You can plant a tree or shrub today also, or, if you don’t have time, send a dollar to The Nature Conservancy, for its “Plant a Billion Trees” project: http://www.nature.org.
Happy Earth Day!