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BESS Service volunteer Jason Rowlands reflects on Earth Day 2021

Close your eyes and imagine being born in the  Amazon Jungle and now walking barefoot perhaps through the jungle, feeling the leaves and jungle foliage beneath your feet, seeing the different colours and hues of leaves and trees. Experiencing the different sounds, birds and animals who live alongside you. What do you smell? Is it the clean air?, the freshness and renewal of the environment around you. How does it feel to imagine being that close to the powerful forces of nature? Are we basing our thoughts on our experiences of the Amazon or trips to the Lake District, Grizedale Forest perhaps or maybe something else.

You may hear the crack of a chainsaw in the distance or trucks carrying logs down a newly constructed road to build the new world.

Now, think about what it is to be born in a jungle of  concrete and steel and wood. Mankind’s answer to civilisation, a consumerist environment where advertising and ownership are keys factors in existence. You ‘know’ the feel of tarmac, concrete and wood underfoot.  This is the world that we  have created, we accepted and are part of. Every action, every thought and every decision adding or subtracting from the overall human experience and ecosystem of the planet. When you think about this, the  power of this, the complexity of this…..how does this make you feel? Powerless, am I doing enough? or powerful, I am doing plenty and making a true difference?

I always felt climate change was inevitable, we  had an ice age long before the industrial revolution.  A giant rock from space buried itself in the planet wiping out the dinosaurs. Global warming, however, is not inevitable – we can empower ourselves and others to change the way we think, feel and act.  The lockdown has made some people deeply reflective of their work, their living conditions and their lives.  There is not a single ruler or president who can make a difference alone.  Is conservation enough? and can  we say that we are happy with the status quo or is it now time to look towards enrichment.  Allowing the earth to not only sustain all life but to return to a place and time when there was more natural wealth in our eco systems.

The choice is truly ours to make, only collectively can we make an honest and true difference.  We should not blame previous generations and cannot blame future generations. The acceleration of our practices has reduced the time to prevent global crises; fires, floods and viruses; this is on our doorsteps now, on our conscientiousness  and  sadly, also on future generations of people.

I believe  where there is a ‘breath’ there is always a chance. That people will do the right things and make those differences for the betterment of all living things. When we destroy nature whether directly or indirectly, we lose part of ourselves, part of our nature.  Our actions speak more about who we are as a people than what we see of the world before us. It will take a major change in thinking and a rebalancing of what we hold dear. Human beings have a great capacity for kindness, love and good and are adaptable, innovative and resourceful; we need those strengths now more than ever…

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