I was 15 years old on that first official Earth Day in the spring of 1970. It was a beautiful sunny day as the one thousand or so students and faculty of my high school in Scotch Plains, New Jersey gathered on the front lawn to plant a tree. As I write these words I am holding the commemorative button that each of us received that day and I will wear it again proudly all day as I do every year.
Here is a brief excerpt from my favorite Earth Day poem:
This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites us all in one family. Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand within it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
These words for many years were attributed to Chief Seattle (Sealth) who was the leader of the Duwanish Tribe in the Washington Territory; in a letter to then US President Franklin Pierce in 1854 to mark the transfer of ancestral Native Lands to the US Government. More recently these words have been attributed to the poet Ted Perry.
It seems a simple and obvious point to make but here goes. Everything we define as nutrition and nourishment, the quality of our food and water, the quality of the air we breathe, the health of the soil in which most of our food crops are grown; is all determined by the health of our environment, the various ecosystems that make up this fragile skin of mother earth in which we live, work and play.
It makes sense to take better care of our environment. The quality of the health and life of every cell in our body ultimately depends on the quality of the health and life of the environment; the land, sea, air…the earth.
Whatever we do to the earth, we do to ourselves.
Let’s remember to find and do the things that nourish ourselves, our cells and our earth best…today and in all the days ahead!
Let’s Celebrate Earth Day!