Imagine. Imagine a fine china bowl, hand painted with an image of the world, embellished with forests, grasslands and mountains. The oceans, flowing rivers and streams are brushed with detail and the bowl is adorned with fluttering birds that look as if they are flying overhead. It has been in your family for generations and you love it for its beauty and the history it holds. Somehow, unaware, it slips from your hands, falls to the floor and lies broken. What do you do?
Now imagine another bowl that you hold in your hands, it is the Earth itself. It too is a beautiful hand painted masterpiece, but greenhouse gasses fog the clarity. Melting glaciers and excessive rainfall blur the exquisite strokes of paint. Fine lines are evident from severe drought and a film of smoke from raging fires choke the details. Hurricanes have chipped away at the edges. Tsunami’s roar and the earth quakes in revolt - shaking the bowl from your hands. It falls to the ground and lies in front of you broken. What do you do?
Sometimes it is difficult to personally connect with environmental change. We may feel detached, think that it’s cyclical or that it’s not our problem. But when it becomes personal and you experience Mother Nature’s retaliation first hand, we connect. The truth is we all need air to breathe and water to live. Those two things alone connect and unite us, and give us all a dog in the fight. When we make that connection and realize that like a fine piece of china the natural world too is our heirloom, the answers to both scenarios above become the same.
Without a second thought, we fall to our knees and pick up the pieces carefully, trying to limit any more damage. We gather tape, glue, and other things necessary to piece and secure it back together. We will handle it more carefully now with the knowledge of its fragility. We do not want to part with its beauty or history, and we desperately want to pass it on, intact for future generations. We want them to behold the beauty and to add their hands and layers of history to it, making it even richer and more valuable than we could ever have imagined. Imagine.
Story and photos by Jill O'Brien