Early rise this morning to get on the trail, trying to escape the heat and smoke.
The Pacific Northwest, Seattle in particular, is known for its rain. From July through September however, our forests and fields are as dry as those in California and Colorado. Our summer temps hover in the mid-seventies. Low eighties are unbearable for most of us, sending us in droves to air-conditioned movie theaters, stores, and coffee shops. And for the many without air-conditioning, we open our windows and crank up our fans.
This week we're rising earlier than usual to walk, run, and bike--not only to escape the heat, but the smoke as well. Forest fires in Canada are blanketing us in a gray haze. Friends without air-conditioning open their windows for a breeze and inadvertently set off their smoke detectors.
And that's only the Pacific Northwest. Montana, Colorado, and California residents go to sleep with acrid air polluting their nostrils and wake to more of the same. The west is burning up while we all pray for rain.
Friends in the midwest, in the south, and on the east coast, you are experiencing your own weather hells this summer. Record-breaking heat, hurricanes and tornadoes where none should be, hailstorms in August. Around the world, more of the same. You know. You live there.
Our Earth is talking to us. It's a sick child with a bad cough, whining and crying, needing attention and comfort and medicine. If we keep ignoring the cries of our beautiful planet, our home, how long before it develops full-on bronchitis or pneumonia?
I've been called "crunchy" and a tree hugger, and yes, I wear those badges honestly and proudly, but before anything else I'm a human, a card-carrying member of the political party known as Mankind. And I love our Earth with my entire being. I hate seeing any member of my family sick in bed, and the Earth is our mother-father-grandparent, family to all of us.
But Dear Reader, if you've stayed with me this long, enough doom and gloom. Negativity is not action. What are we going to do about it? How are we going to work together to heal our glorious planet? Arguing amongst ourselves about whether or not Johnny has a cough or is faking it to get out of a test today doesn't make him climb out of bed and go to school. Rather, let's love our Earth, our human home.
While we wait for the brilliant minds of our scientists, the policies of our elected representatives, and the future environmental inventions of our children (and I have faith they will be beyond our imagining), we can each do something small, individually, to impact. We all know what those things are: reduce, reuse, recycle, repeat. Let's not make each other feel guilty about what we can't or choose not to do. Rather, let's promise to each other and celebrate what we can and choose to do.
For my small change, I vow to implement and enforce mellow yellow in my home until the fall rains are well underway. (For fans of poetry: "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down.") Maybe my family's reduction in water consumption won't have much effect worldwide, but it is a small change I can easily make at zero cost, and at least that's a beginning.
What small change can you make? Butterfly wings, anyone?