By Patricia C. Bischof
The tiny birds hopping around on their diminutive feet are chirping away, playing with their food dropped or fed by pedestrians who have walked by on this very beautiful blissful sunny day. This small park is idyllic. The trees with their varied vibrant shades of greens are showing off their beauty, with their trunks exuding many years of existence and their ability to hold their numerous vast expansive branches. It is a warm summer Sunday morning in July which is showing the most brilliant blue sky along with its smiling sun.
While sitting in this most luxurious small park recently updated with brand new wooden benches with metal wrought iron arm rests and legs, situated between high rise buildings, I notice something out of place. Looking left at another such bench, I detect a bit of disrespect to this beautiful scene. A dull but vibrant pink something is stuck to the seat’s surface edge. Upon closer observation, I realize it is a large piece of chewing gum stuck to the seat’s surface edge. Across from this bench is a garbage can that sets in a wooden container to blend in with this newly reconstructed space. What would it have taken for someone to get up and just throw it away in the receptacle? Where is the respect and care to keep this beautiful place yet beautiful? Laziness, self-centeredness and carelessness run amok not only here but in quite a few other beautiful spots as well, and with much sadness. Then onto the streets! Upon rising off of this bench and walking around this pleasant summer day, one is reminded once again of an attitude that is pervasive which indicates that it is all about the person, and the rest of the world has or must acquiesce to whatever the person wants to be doing without considering some of the consequences of her or his actions.
There is a smell in the area. Oh yes! Dogs! Unlike some years past when there was a bit more consideration and respect of one’s space, some people that have pets fail to realize the importance of caring to curb their animals in a proper way. I am not just talking about one such dog once in a while. While most dog owners take great care of their dogs, quite a few dog owners do not see or may not want to understand the importance of curbing their four legged pets in the appropriate manner. And before the author goes on and is called all sorts of beautiful names by pet owners, I would also like to express to you my love of animals. I lived in the country for many years, and had quite a few pets from a gerbil to a canary, cats to a collie and a cocker spaniel. It is a bit inconsiderate as a dog owner or dog walker to walk down the street and just let these pets do what they need to do right on the sidewalk in front of a door step or next to a building wall or right in the manicured flower gardens planted along the sidewalks. This is a city, and not the woods. Again, what does it take to educate pet owners and dog walkers to curb their dog or dogs?
Sitting in yet another beautiful park filled with gorgeous, very colorful flowers of whites, fuchsias and pinks, there is strewn all over the ground cigarette butts, an empty potato chip bag, a used tissue and the list goes on. Again, right there not very far, in fact only a few easy steps from all this garbage on the ground is yet another garbage receptacle that would thrive having fed all these objects. What is in the minds of some people as to why they would rather litter and drop on the ground at their feet whatever they feel they do not want to hold on to at the time?
Our earth is a precious and gorgeous place to live and to disrespect our natural habitat is sad. There are repercussions that have already claimed a sad ending in the disregard of our natural resources. Floating along on the ocean surface is moving waste, plastic and debris twice the size of Texas which is located in the Pacific Ocean. Deforestation is bringing down our forests for the sake of urban development or progress for the sake of building vast new communities and the desert in the Southwest is being stripped of its beauty for expansion also in the name of progress.
The author is not against building and some building is certainly necessary. But forethought is essential along with proper urban planning and not just stripping away of all our beautiful deserts and country land that makes our nation so special. In the name of progress, there has to be concern for what is around us in that these natural settings have been around for millions of years. Where does some of this sense of entitlement come from of whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want? The disregard of our natural environment does not come without its negative consequences, and comes with a high price. We observe it every day by some of the examples already spoken about above.
In Ecopsychology, a concept first brought about by Theodore Roszak, a theory in a nutshell is that a person must care about her or his surroundings; the environment as well as the self. In the context of appreciation from the person’s perspective when searching for correct and proper living or to achieve a more balanced life, it is important to care about his or her environment. There is a relationship between us humans and the environment in which we live in, and there has always been such a balance to that relationship. In just thinking of the self without having a context of caring for the flora and fauna and all the nature that surrounds us, one will not attain to live the best type of life possible. Caring about the self along with the environment we live in can give one a matter of peace of mind and a sense of balance. A person that is in balance with natural surroundings is a much happier and content person. In caring about our wildlife, and appreciating our rivers and oceans, it is important and certainly needs to be spoken about on how to better have that balance between nature and man. Water waste is another example that needs to be addressed.
Major disagreements concerning our use of water could in future years to come actually lead to or create water wars. And without this product, most anything living cannot survive. This is a precious commodity that needs to have public awareness to better understand the considerable seriousness along with major consequences, if we are to continue wasting it.
In the recently published book, The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert, the author indicates the many examples of now extinct animals, tree, etc. The author has cited many examples and certainly indicates how we as humans have done irreversible damage to our environment whereby eradicating many animals because of our self-centeredness and carelessness. In Ecopsychology, humans and their environment are as one, a form of symbiosis, depending upon one another. One cannot separate one from the other, or not be a part of one without the other. To care for the self is as vital as to care for the natural habitat that surrounds us. By digging up the earth in any which way, shape or form, one is seeing major consequences that are negligible. Alaska’s glacier is melting and oceans are polluted. Man has had its hand in all this! Honey bees are going through major extinction and without pollination what plants can grow naturally? Let us take pause and consideration in the way many of us are using our natural resources, and hopefully our planet will be saved and flourish in the years and centuries to come, and for our children and our children’s children.
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Date: August 4, 2014
Patricia C. Bischof
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