Tuesday, November 20, 2012

EARTH in a child's hand

Environmentalists the world over have made claims on the dangers of climate change, on habitat loss and even on the threat of invasive species on our ecosystems. Governments try and ignore some of these issues for various reasons, and at the same time spend hundreds of millions of dollars of public money on others. At times the opposites battle each other both professing that it is the future that each is attempting to protect for our children and grandchildren.

In 1954, the United Nations brought to life universal Children's Day as a way to recognise our need to protect all our children the world over. Children's Day is recognised in many countries on November 20th

A seven year old child was asked to draw what he understood of our planet, our earth. He was asked why he chose those particular colours, and his explanation was simple. Blue was for the water, that he understood surrounds the earth and in his own words, “nothing can live without water.” Green he said he chose for the country because the garden is green and it's alive.

At seven this child is slowly blooming with knowledge and understanding through education. How do we not only as matured adults, but as stewards of his future and that of hundreds of millions of children the world over safeguard his vision of our earth? How do governments find a balance to sustain the economic needs of their people and at the same time not stress the earth's balance? Environmentalists seem to choose conflict with government more often than a working partnership, how would they explain to a child their actions without condescending.

The earth has been strong and resilient for many centuries, enduring natural change and adjustment. Yet the alarming reality is that we as people consume a great deal on a daily basis, and then generate massive volumes of waste in return. Without action today, in our present, this seven year old's future is put at risk. Earth is no different than a tree infested with an invasive borer, on the surface the tree seems well enough till the larvae of the borer brings down a whole forest.

Some twenty years ago another child had stopped the world for a brief moment with her passionate words. World leaders sat and listened with emotion as a child pleaded for her future and that of all of us. Once the echo of that child's voice died down so did the promise to rethink our actions.

We no longer have the luxury to continue business as usual. It would be our children who we profess to love and protect who will have to carry the burden of our inaction. Then the innocence and beauty of such a painting may be lost forever to the next generation.

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