A Diminishing Planet

March 13, 2013
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Nature is an intricate part of human life and many individuals today take its importance for granted. The word “nature” includes everything from the simplest herbs of the planet to the animals including humans that animate the world. Wherever we may look, nature is always present. We would not hold existence in this world without the presence of nature. However, people today don’t take into consideration how life would be without a healthy natural world. Our lives revolve around nature, whether we like it or not. The trees of this planet give off the vital oxygen we need in order to breathe. The water from lakes and rivers serves as the drinking water to hydrate our bodies. The vegetation of the earth supplies us with a cornucopia of food. Nature meets all our natural needs.

Individuals today are so used to the abundance of nature that we tend to misuse or mistreat it. A disrespectful act towards nature can be throwing various forms of garbage into the nearby street, lake, river, or ocean. Littering puts the animals, plant life and critters of a given area in grave danger due to the possibility of their consuming or inhaling toxic material found in the garbage. In addition, garbage disposed in the improper places can cause the suffocation of both land and marine animals. Many individuals are ignorant of the need for care and concern for creatures other than ourselves. There are many forms of pollution that affect the planet negatively, and the world is in need of a monumental wake up call. However, I believe this wake up call is going to arrive when it is too late to make the change. In Rachel Carson's memoir "The Marginal World," she states that the sea level is never at rest because it "rises and falls as the glaciers melt or grow..." (3). This quote highlights the world-wide issue of global warming. Long ago, glaciers always grew as the temperatures got increasingly colder; however global warming is actually melting the ice in those once "naturally cold" regions of the world. This event is putting animals adapted to the cold weather in danger by not providing the appropriate habitat needed. I am an advocate for the care and concern that is necessary for nature and I wish for the world to become educated about this world-wide danger.

I have a strong affection for all the phenomena of nature found in my world. As a child of about eight or so, I would frolic outside in the fall and collect as many leaves as time would allow. I was fixed upon the bright fallen leaves which usually consisted of reds or yellows. Once I found my treasures, I would scurry to my kitchen table. Then, I gathered a finely sharpened yellow Ticonderoga pencil and my favorite sketchbook. I would gently install the leaf on a blank page and shade over it to display its many veins. This became a favorite activity for me. I got to observe how complex and detailed a leaf really is. Remembering this tradition had me realize the similarities I have with Rick Bass.. In his memoir "A Texas Childhood," he tells of his own "childhood in Texas" and the "birdsong, breeze-stir, sunlight in winter, distant dog-bark" (1) that were present in his as a childhood living in Texas. Whether we like it or not, we all have some type of attachment to the beauty and variety nature provides. Throughout Jonathan Franzen's memoir, "My Bird Problem," we see how he admires and obsesses over everything that involves nature, especially birds. To many of us, this may be seen as obscure but he recognized a greater value in this activity. Franzen stated in his memoir, "Every night, I lay down with bird books and read about other trips I could take, studied the field markings of species I hadn't seen, and then dreamed vividly about birds" (Franzen 4).

We receive warnings daily that we need to make a change in our treatment of nature or else global warming will take over. But how many of us listen to this call for change? For my own part, I believe we aren't doing enough to approach a solution to this worldwide situation. The plants and animals are hurting at the hands of our ignorance; many animals and plants are becoming extinct. We all feel remorse about these events, but it takes a real citizen to act on those feelings. We all have the responsibility of saving nature for the generations that are to come after us.

Works Cited:

Bass, Rick "A Texas Childhood."
The Best American Spiritual Writing 2004. Philip Zaleski, ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

Carson, Rachel. "The Marginal World."
The Best American Essays of the Century. Joyce Carol Oates and Robert Atwan, eds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

Franzen, Jonathan. "My Bird Problem." The New Yorker. August 8 & 15, 2005.

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