When we think of protectors and those who nurture, most of us think of fellow human beings who might have essayed that role in our lives. We think of our parents, who have cherished us, of older siblings, watching over us, ready with the safety net when we stumble. We include friends, teachers, other people we know who at some point in time have offered us care and protection. However, do any of us spare a thought for the first protector - the one that we human beings have grown numb and insensitive to; the one that we owe our very existence to - Mother Earth?
The human race has always been dependent on the Earth for all its subsistence. Everything we eat, wear and use in our daily lives traces its origins back to the Earth. Yet, we continue to take its gigantic contribution for granted. The very state of our world right now is a testament to the abuse and exploitation we have subjected it to, despite how much we owe to it. Global temperatures are going through the roof, the oceans are choked by sheer amounts of plastics we dump in them, forests are depleted and plundered by humans who are always hungry for more. Our hasty decisions and insatiable greed have caused irreparable ecological damage which may never be reversed.
Take heart! Let us not say that all is lost. Despite the suffering bestowed upon the earth by us, specially over the past century and a half, realizing our mistake and more importantly striving to rectify it is now becoming our goal. There is growing realization that if we continue on this path of destruction, there is no guarantee that the planet will even exist.
Gaylord Nelson, the US Senator, deeply concerned by the deterioration of the environment in the United States, organized campus teaching to educate students on this important issue on the 22nd of April 1970. This day, which later came to be known as Earth Day, now provides a voice to an emerging environmental consciousness and gives these concerns the global platform they deserve. This small initiative soon spawned a movement across the country and eventually across the world. By 1990, Earth Day had mobilized millions of people who began raising awareness and inspiring even more people to join this cause.
Today, Earth Day has become the largest secular observance in the world, with over a billion followers. It is a symbol of the fight to save our planet, a symbol of the work that has been done by our previous generations. It is a catalyst that inspires future generations such as yourselves, to continue striving for a better tomorrow.
Be the change you want to see. Let each one of us pledge to take a step today to heal the Earth. There is so much we can do - Reduce, reuse, recycle, conserve energy and resources, buy local, quit plastics, plant a tree......The list is endless.
Remember we are doing it for ourselves and for our Earth. We are intimately linked. When we know we can do better, we should do better.
Mrs. Aparajita Pal
Headmistress, Middle Section