Have you ever seen a dog eat its own poop? It’s disgusting.
Factually speaking, the dog gets a ton of nutrients from eating its own poop, or duck poop, or whatever it gets into. Humans, on the other hand, would get terribly sick.
So, why is it that we allow ourselves to dirty our planet, changing our food source from ‘clean’ to ‘disgusting’? When our dirt changes, so does our food.
As our carbon footprint increases, the Earth becomes less inhabitable to our species. Our job has become to save ourselves, rather than the planet. In all likelihood, the planet will be just fine; it’s humans — and other animal and plant species — who will parish.
Imagine for a moment you’re in outer space with a giant telescope. You have the ability to look down towards Earth, but you also have the ability to see the rest of our solar system, and many other solar systems. In all your searching, there is only ‘one’ planet that has abundant water, green trees, plants, shrubs, and the appearance of civilized life.
You long to one day reach this planet, thinking it may provide a stable home for your family. You realize if you end up on any other planet, you won’t have food to feed your family, the water will be scarce, and you’ll be dealing with extreme temperatures. Gravitational forces will also be different, causing you and your family to become weak within months of landing on ‘said’ planet that is not Earth.
The choice becomes clear: inhabit Earth and save your family.
Now, take a look at our current situation. Each person relies on government and structured systems to clean up the streets, oceans, mountains, and hillsides. In fact, government is making our air toxic with coal mining, power plants, and the like. The very same structured system we are relying on to help us breathe, eat, and stay safe is poisoning our environment, slowly and subtly.
We take a step backwards and re-assess. If ‘structure’ won’t keep our planet clean for our families, then this strategy fails. So, it all comes down to personal responsibility.
Personal responsibility means pollution starts and ends with you. What is permissible on an individual level is exaggerated and repeated on a government, national, or international level. After all, individuals are people, and people are making decisions in government positions, as well.
Ok, then what ‘can’ we do?
I’ve learned three steps to turn around our environmental impact and restore the health of our planet, as it pertains to human survival. They are:
Eat real food. Choose farmers who practice organic, sustainable farming habits, and recycle your food back into the ground through composting. The carbon in our atmosphere will find its way back into the soil when we add compost, turn over the dirt in each of our backyards, and reduce litter into garbage dumps from rotting food.
If it’s too hard to think 4–5 generations in advance and be motivated to keep our planet clean for your future family, think about right now. The food you eat could be cleaner, healthier, and more delicious. Apples don’t taste the way they used to. Tomatoes are missing the juice and flavor they once had. You can find trash in almost any large body of water, feeding our fish that turns into seafood on our plates.
Every time you take personal responsibility for this planet — and you see it as your home — you improve your own life. It may be hard to perceive at first, but as we join hands and help ourselves, the health of our planet will improve.
Consider this: Mother Earth may actually be our mother.
And she’s asking for us to do our chores. Pick up your room. Clean the dishes. Stop throwing trash all over the house. Make sure the kitchen is clean before you eat. Treat everyone else that lives in this “house” with respect. Respect boundaries. Love one another.
Remember, if you don’t, you may just get kicked out of your home.
Mama asked for your help. Step up and do the right thing.
I’m so grateful for you,
Originally published at drkareem.com on March 15, 2017.