I recently received a letter from someone I met through my work here at the Duke Gardens. This person, who has aided my conservation work here in the Blomquist Garden, and who shares my concern and distress about the state of our global environment, sent along with her letter a copy of a recent speech on this topic. Paul Hawken is an entrepreneur, writer and environmental activist with an eloquent pen. In May, he was charged with delivering the commencement address at the University of Portland. His topic: why we should have hope for the planet in the face of such distressing trends. His prose is far more powerful than mine, so I'm including it here for you to ponder. I believe, as he does, that the time is short in which to act, but that there is hope for our beautiful spaceship.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Every day, multiple times per day, in fact, I try to figure out how to save the planet. What I mean is, I search my brain for ways to interpret the state of the world. Yes, I hear the same news that you do every morning. Banks failing, bombs exploding, and people living in quiet desperation, praying for their next meal. What I don't hear much about is the ticking bomb we're sitting on; the one we've worked a few centuries to create, the planet we're slowly but surely wrecking. At parties, I can be a downer. I try not to be, really. Eventually the topic will turn somehow to what I do, and then eventually to what matters to me, and then eventually to that ticking bomb. The thing is, I'm a very happy, optimistic person by nature. I love to smile, and laughing is something I do without thinking. I'm also quite distressed about the health of planet earth fifty years from now, when I hope to be tottering after my great-grandchildren. What type of earth will they take for granted, and will it bear any resemblance to the one I was born into? So I search, daily, for a way to communicate to those folks at parties, who don't understand but could find it in them to care, why we have to make responsible earth stewardship a part of all of our lives.