A celebration of Earth Day: Appreciating our home
Letter to the Editor | Thursday, April 22, 2021
When the divine sound of her laughter washed over me, I knew that I was home. With my feet planted firmly on her rocky spine, I would leap with joy into the loving embrace of my Lake. She would hold me with such gentle care; so closely, that as I floated upon my back with the sun on my face, I could hear the steady crashing of our hearts beat in rhythm as one. When I was young, Lake Erie and I would play together for hours on end. I loved arriving at her shore as early as I could because when I did, she would draw back her tides and show me her dazzling beaded necklace of once broken bottles that she had meticulously rounded into soft little gems with her sandy hands. I would turn the colorful glass beads that she generously shared with me into necklaces so that I could always keep a bit of my beautiful Lake beside my heart, as she did with me.
As these sunny swimming summers faded into fall year after year, the Lake watched as I grew and changed. I became stronger and taller every day thanks to the food, sunshine and clean air that the Earth bestowed upon me. The Lake changed too, but not in the same way. With every passing day, a poisonous green shade of sickness shrouded more and more of her shore. She cried out through strained and suffocated sighs and I watched in horror as she drew back her early morning tide to show that her beaded glass necklace had been replaced with foul debris, deer carcasses and rotting fish. This was no natural sickness. She was being poisoned, and all of the living creatures that relied upon her were perishing as well.
The culprit is no mystery.
Lake Erie was suffering from the drastic effects of climate change, and her body was being poisoned by toxic algae blooms. Farmers use fertilizers to feed plants, but when there are heavy storms, the sudden rise in rain water can carry fertilizer and other runoffs from fields and yards directly into Lake Erie’s body where it feeds toxic green algae instead. As we produce more carbon dioxide and disturb the balance of mother nature, rains that would normally be replenishing drinks of water to the Earth have changed into devastating downpours that wash all of our vile byproducts directly into Lake Erie’s mouth. We hear her choking and gasping beneath this toxic green goop; we have known for years, but it has only gotten worse.
On this day, Earth Day, I urge you to listen to this planet that we all call home. We have taken from and harmed her in despicable ways over the years without giving anything back in return. Our relationship has become imbalanced and morphed from one of harmony into something toxic, suffocating and abusive. The fresh water of our baptism with nature has turned as poisonous as our broken promises, and our covenant of mutual respect with the Earth has been stretched to its breaking point. It is now in the hands of humanity to right our wrongs against nature, to see the terrors the lie within her shores, to begin listening to her cries and to nurture her back to health as she has nurtured us for all our lives. Today is Earth Day, but it is up to us to make a change by showing our Earth love, respect and appreciation every day. So I’d like to leave you all with this question — a question that we should all ask ourselves each and every day: How can we care for our home today?
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.