and Our Caretaking Responsibilities
I love nature and I have always loved nature as far back as I can remember. My parents instilled that love in me even before I reached my first birthday. They often took me to the park to play. Then they purchased an acreage out in the country before I turned three and I had a huge yard to run around and play in.
Most of my childhood memories consist of times spent playing outside. My best memories include climbing the maple tree in my yard, swinging on the swing set my dad set up, roasting hotdogs and marshmallows at a bonfire, playing hide and seek in the yard, building sand castles in the sandbox my dad made, and digging for treasures in the dirt (I found all kinds of treasures, including fossils and animal bones which instilled a desire in me to become an archaeologist when I grew up).
If my husband would let me have my way, I would move us to a remote place where we’d be surrounded by trees, wildflowers and wild animals. I want to have a large garden like my mom did when I was growing up and I want to learn how to forage for food in the woods. I want to go hiking on my property and swimming in the pond in our yard. I want to live in a little cottage-like home with a sunroom where I can read and nap in the warmth of the sun. I want to sit outside on the deck and listen to the birds singing in the trees and the bumble bees buzzing in the flowers.
This is my dream and it’s beautiful. I’m still working on convincing my husband to say yes.
But for now, we are living in the heart of a city and I’m doing my best to enjoy the nature that’s currently around me in the nearby parks and forest trails. I’m grateful to at least have these little gems within walking distance of our home. Sometimes we even get to see deer running down the street in our neighbourhood—a majestic sight to see in a city but also a sad one.
Seeing deer running through the city, while majestic, saddens me because Mother Nature literally clashes with human nature. I have seen deer killed by their interactions with humans and our vehicles. I once had an accident with a deer that ran into the side of the minivan I was driving. I cried and cried after colliding with the deer. I hadn’t seen it coming until it was too late. I didn’t care about the van I was driving (it was pretty damaged but fixable). I cried because I had caused the death of another living creature.
For a while, I even held a grudge against all deer because they kept wandering into the paths of oncoming vehicles and causing accidents. My aunt and uncle were killed in a collision with a deer many years ago. But it’s hard to be upset for long after watching the deer emerge from the woods, foraging for food. They are simply trying to survive in a busy world just like we are.
There are about 8,000 collisions with deer each year in my home province (source) and this number is on the rise. As cities expand and human populations grow, we keep driving wildlife out of their habitats and eliminating their food resources. This causes wildlife to venture into cities in search of food.
This is happening all over the world. More and more animals are being added to the endangered species list as a result of changes to their habitats. Many of these changes are due to direct human interaction but also due to climate change (which is an indirect result of human interaction).
For example, polar bears in the Arctic rely on sea ice to travel, hunt, mate, rest and den. As global warming melts more and more of the polar ice caps, this has a direct impact on the polar bears’ habitat, making it more difficult for polar bears to survive in this changing climate (source).
We’ve been hearing about the plight of polar bears and other endangered animals for years already and we keep shrugging our shoulders, pretending that we’re not the ones endangering the lives of these precious animals. We just live our lives and mind our own business, so how can we be to blame?
But the reality is, if we’re consuming anything that produces waste, such as plastic and fuel, we are contributing to the changes in climate that are making it hard for these creatures to survive in their habitat.
The purpose of this article isn’t to make anyone feel guilty; rather the purpose is to raise awareness about how we, as humans, have an impact on nature, directly and indirectly. Some of our impact is negative, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. We can actually have a positive impact on nature if we all do our part to take care of our planet.
In fact, we are all responsible to take care of our planet because this is the only one we have to live on. No matter how many times NASA sends rockets to the moon and to Mars, we still can’t live in space (at least not yet), which is why it’s so important that we take care of our home before we can no longer live here.
A few months ago, I was surprised to read a Calvin and Hobbes comic that already addressed the issue of pollution back in 1989. As Calvin picks up an aluminum can that someone had littered in the forest near his home, he goes into a rant, shouting: “By golly, if people aren’t burying toxic wastes or testing nuclear weapons, they’re throwing trash everywhere! You’d think planets like this were a dime a dozen!”
Calvin is absolutely right! The way we’ve been treating our Earth, you would think we had other options for planets to live on.
But we don’t have any other options and it’s time for us to stop playing the role of the ignorant species. Ignorance is going to have a high price eventually. Maybe not right now; maybe not in a hundred years; but the cost will come and we’re already seeing evidence of that.
As Hobbes tells Calvin in another comic strip, [ignorance is] “a pretty silly and irresponsible way to live.”
It’s time for us to do the responsible thing and make changes to our bad habits before it’s too late. While change sounds like such a chore, it’s much easier than we might think. We don’t have to make major changes in order to improve our environment. In fact, by making small changes, such as using reusable grocery bags, refusing to buy plastic products, eating at home, growing our own food, and even sharing this post to raise awareness—these are all little ways that can have a big impact.
Next week, I will share a blog post about what little changes you can make in your own life that will have a big impact on the environment.
I hope that you will find peace and inspiration through my blog and handmade creations!
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