I wrote this about a year ago for a friend, but as Hurricane Sandy hurls towards loved ones on the East Coast, heaving her winds, these words still ring true today.
As unprecedented storms, epic heat waves and floods continue to hit, as well as the wild temperature fluctuations, drought and scorched and infertile grounds, it is beginning to feel like our planet is sick, with a growing list of conditions.
Much like our children.
And just as our increasingly allergic and asthmatic kids have trouble breathing or are covered in dry patches, running fevers or launching inflammatory responses to things they have ingested, the Earth appears to be having an allergic reaction of her own.
We have poured fossil fuel over her skin, filled her airways with pollution and poisoned her water with everything from oil to agrichemicals to pharmaceutical drugs.
Is it any wonder that her health appears to be failing, her waters swirling and her airways struggling?
If the Earth were a child that was this sick, what would this condition be called?
Perhaps it could be called "climate fever." She is running hot and cold with all kinds of conditions, upheavals and reactions that have the potential to cause tremendous harm.
And her "fever" affects all of us. Families, friends, farmers.
Is it short-term? How long will it last?
The fact of the matter is that dirty air, water, soil, climate.....they affect all of us. They don't care what we think or what side of the aisle we are on...and neither do storms like this one.
How would we treat this Earth if she were our own sick child?
So with the image of that child in mind, perhaps we should consider a new approach. And rather than "fight global warming" and get into "he said/she said" debates, arguing over how sick this child really is or who is to blame, perhaps it's time that we simply care for our planet as a mother might care for a child.
And rather than the routine dousing of her skin with toxic pesticides and agrichemicals, we might consider reducing her exposure to these chemicals and cultivate an approach to agriculture that isn't chemically or fossil fuel dependent, like the one recently recommended by the United Nations.
And rather than continuing to inject her with IV-like instruments used to extract the very oil and fossil fuel that is harming her, we could consider building clean energy sources and alternative energy infrastructures to give her the means with which to grow and thrive without the risk of toxicity.
We could call on our collective talents and insights to lend to the healing of her condition.
And rather than focus on what short-term economic advantages can be obtained through the extraction of her resources, recognize that we need to care for her as if our wellbeing depended on it.
Because it does.
And while new data shows that countries like China are contributing more than the United States and Canada combined to climate pollution, we have the extraordinary opportunity to embrace a moral authority, to design and create new energy systems that will not only serve us economically and financially but also resourcefully and sustainably for generations to come.
A child won't remain healthy living on dirty air, dirty water or dirty food. Our planet is no different.
And while these changes won't happen overnight, if we leverage our collective talents, we can begin making them, because we're a pretty resilient source of renewable energy ourselves, and in the words of George Eliot, "it is never too late to be what you might have been."