Does it take everyone on Earth to commit to making this a more sustainable livable home?
I’m beginning to think not.
We know that it does not take “everyone on Earth” to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
Today marks the 51st Earth Day. It was started in 1970, triggered by 3 million gallons of oil spilled off the coast of California the year before. Spilled by a few, not everyone on Earth. And it caused a few, led by Senator Gaylord Nelson, to create Earth Day as a way to force this issue, our impact, onto the national agenda. The purpose, to increase awareness of the impact humans have on the environment, resonated with people of all political and geographic backgrounds. A few became a few million, as 20 million Americans demonstrated in different U.S. cities, and it worked!
By the end of 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency had been formed. Earth Day, or “International Mother Earth Day,” as it’s officially called by the United Nations, will be celebrated by more than 1 billion people worldwide. But within that billion will be a few, maybe only a few dozens, or few hundreds, that will wake Friday morning, in the shadow of celebration, and go back to work in a gale.
So I’m reminded of Clarissa Pinkola Estes’, “Letter To A Young Activist During Troubled Times” —
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts, or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take “everyone on Earth” to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
It expands upon a sentiment of two earlier clear-minded communicators, who understood the impact of the few.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margret Mead
Martin Luther King, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
I no longer think it takes everyone, in fact I’m certain it does not and never will, that’s a fool’s thinking. It takes a few. It takes a few different folks, each willing to stand in that gale and commit to their perspective of a more just, caring, healthy future for everyone on Earth.
The image for this Earth Day posting is ‘Earthrise’ a photograph of Earth and some of the Moon’s surface that was taken from lunar orbit by astronaut William Anders on December 24, 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission. The late nature photographer and friend Galen Rowell declared it, “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken”. Perhaps no image in history influenced so many. One image, created by one person, at one moment in time, change our perspective of home — “it does not take everyone on Earth.”
— Gerry Ellis