Earth Day and our very small planet

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By Elaine Bowers

Can you remember the first time that you saw a photo of our planet from outer space? Maybe it was when you saw it  during the Gemini program or the more recent Space Shuttle program or maybe when you saw it on the cover of The Whole Earth Catalogue. Please, stop, take a moment and recall that photo. Vast expanses of very blue oceans, large chunks of land covered in green, snow on top of huge mountain chains that the wrinkle the continents, brown deserts unfriendly looking even from space, white puffy looking clouds floating over all of it. You could pick out countries and continents, river basins and states. It looked so blue and green and beautiful. Can you remember how very very small it looked spinning in that vast dark blackness that we call space.
The reality is that even though our planet seems huge and endless, heck it takes at least an hour just to get to Gainsville, in the big picture , it is really, really small. To quote the lyrics of a friends song, “our world is getting bigger as it shrinks in size”. This is the only planet that we have.  As individuals, as a country, as citizens of the Earth, we need to realize that this planet is all that we have. It is hard to see the bigger picture when you go through your daily lives, but there is a bigger picture. In some small way, your daily actions determine how our earth will be in 10 years, 50 years, 150 years, your great great great great grandchildren’s era.
Growing up back in the 50s and 60s, we really didn’t understand how Nature worked. We thought that you could dump toxins into the water and spew pollutants into the air and that everything would be just fine. Nature, our planet, could overcome all of the crap that we threw at it and all of the abuses that we bestowed upon it and that everything would be okay. Then the eagles went away and there was no longer fish in the rivers or lakes. We know better now, polluted air makes people sick, polluted water and food make people sick, all of it makes our environment, our planet, sick. Since that time, progress has been made, just look at the number of eagles that call Cedar Key and it’s surroundings home. Today our nation’s rivers and lakes are healthier than they were 60 years ago.
It can be a daunting task to try and change the future of our planet. But as seen from the comeback of the eagle, positive change can and does happen.  It is a bit over simplistic but the furture health of our planet comes down to our individual actions. At the same time, we are all part of the problem and we are all part of the solution. Compared to the enormity of our universe, we live in a very small garden where everything is somehow interconnected. Please realize that and try to act accordingly in your daily lives to reduce demand on our limited natural resources. Make every day Earth Day.