Today, Saturday March 28, marks the annual observation of Earth Hour at 8:30 pm local time. It’s the time when people across the globe turn off their lights for one hour as a symbol of their commitment to Earth, and in support of climate change action. Turning out the lights is a symbolic gesture – something entirely simple most people can easily do. But of course it’s not meant to stop there. It’s an invitation. Using that hour to think about what you might do; what causes you can support; what you can commit to in order to be a blessing to Earth rather than a burden can be a powerful start.
This year especially seems like a powerful time to do this. As I imagine we’ve all been spending time thinking about our existence, both individually and collectively, it’s become increasingly clear how interrelated we all are as beings sharing this planet. There’s also the additional information that’s being shared at the moment about the impact the global pandemic is having on the environment. Air quality is improved due to less traffic and factory closures. However, it’s likely there are negative impacts not yet measured, including increased waste as a result of single-use applications of items as hygiene practices shift. It’s reported that there is a huge problem in China with accumulation of medical waste, including disposal of single-use masks. All these things are yet to shake out, but clearly they’ll be part of future things to consider.
I think Joy Harjo’s poem is a beautiful reminder, especially in these troubling times, of what’s really important.
“Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
May we all find ways to honor and support our beautiful and sacred planet.