The doe dashed through what remained of the forest, urging her fawn ahead of her. She glanced over her shoulder, still able to spot the humans and their tree-eating machines, quickly destroying the woods that she and many others called home. The home she was born in, the home she was raised in, the home where she gave birth; and now it seemed, the home where she would die.
She heard a squirrel’s desperate squeak, before it was cut short as the tree was felled.
The doe nudged her struggling fawn, pressing her head against the fawn’s hindquarters and pushing, forcing the fawn to run faster.
We’re almost there, the doe thought, almost safe. She forced herself along, completely exhausted. Another tree crashed to the ground behind them, making the ground tremble. The fawn stumbled and fell, tripping over her own long, wobbly legs. The doe goaded her offspring to her feet, encouraging her as two more trees fell, shaking the earth so strongly that she too fell to the ground.
It’s strange how you can sometimes see everything better from the ground. A bird’s nest lay on the ground nearby, dislodged by the trembling world. Two birds, a mother and father, searched through the remains of their three eggs mournfully. None had survived the fall from the tree.
The doe tried to prod her fawn to her feet, but the fawn was so fatigued that she couldn’t even stand.
The hind stayed by her fawn’s side, knowing this was the end. The humans came closer with their big, loud, destructive machines; cutting down every tree in their path until there was nothing left. No one noticed the struggling mother and daughter. No one noticed the home of thousands of animals that they’d just destroyed. No one realized they’d be their own undoing.
And then the sky opened up, and wept for Earth’s loss.
The wolf struggled to free his broken leg, but the pain was too much, and he collapsed beside the metal trap that firmly held his foreleg. The wolf knew the man would come. The man would come and kill him because the wolf had hunted his livestock. But the humans forced him to do it. They hunted his prey and wasted the spoils. They hunt for sport, not because they need the meat or the fur, no, but because they find it fun. And they call us the animals. They kill, and waste, and cast lives aside like the murderers they are. They leave us no choice. We must eat to survive, and they drove us to eat the animals they hold prisoner. Animals who come into this world, dreaming of big things. But they are doomed at birth, raised until they’re fat enough for slaughter, never able to leave their prison, never able to roam the world they once called their own.
And now the wolf will die for simply trying to survive.
When the man came, the gunshot echoed off the walls of the canyon, distorting the noise until it sounded like a plea for help. The animals and the Earth pleading to the humans, the destroyers of everything. Will man answer the call?
The sea turtle thrashed, attempting to free itself from the litter that floated freely through the ocean. The fishing line was wrapped around his neck and body, pinning his flippers to his sides, rendering him immobile. His lungs burned, needing fresh air, but the surface was far above him and he couldn’t move. The sunlight didn’t reach down to the depths where the turtle was trapped. He floated there, in a sleeplike trance until Death welcomed him with open arms.
The mother duck glided above the water, trying to find a way to help her three ducklings caught in the thick, black, oil that stretched as far as the eye could see, coating the ocean in a blanket of hopelessness and despair. Her ducklings flailed, striving to free themselves from the Black Demise.
Should she land in the water and try to help her ducklings, knowing there was nothing she could do? Or should she watch helplessly from the safety of the sky until she would be overcome with exhaustion and fall into the oily mess?
In the end, she chose to settle down beside her ducklings, one of which was trying to clear the oil from his feathers with his beak.
As the mother looked across the ocean, she noticed hundreds—maybe thousands—of other marine animals and birds struggling in the oil from here to the horizon. Many of them were dead.
The mother waited until the end came. One duckling choked on the oil and died. Another froze to death. The third duckling drowned. And the mother duck? She died, grieving and hungry, like so many others.
The polar bear leapt out of the way just in time, as the section of ice he was just standing on broke away and floated off into the ocean. It will slowly melt, like all the other pieces that fall off, leaving the polar bear on an island of ice that was getting increasingly smaller as the temperature continued to rise.
The seals he usually consumed were becoming progressively rarer, leaving the skinny polar bear to feast on smaller game that barely kept his hunger at bay.
His fur had become an unhealthy yellow, a sign of his hardship in the broken ice he called home.
The ice seemed persistent to break away, melting into the ocean until there was only the piece of ice the polar bear stood on, just big enough to walk in a circle.
His portion of ice floated off into the ocean, and like all the others, melted into nothing.
We must all take better care of our planet. There is only one Earth, and we need to treat it with respect. But instead, humans have disrespected Earth for as long as we’ve walked this planet.
We’re constantly searching for another planet that can support life. But why? So that we can colonize another planet when we’ve depleted Earth’s resources? Why not just take better care of the planet we have, than try to escape to another?
Humans have called Earth home for a mere blink of an eye in comparison to how long our planet has been around. And yet, in such a short period of time, we’ve done more damage to our home than any other species before us, and we’ve destroyed it more than we care to admit or realize. If humanity is so civilized, why do we destroy nature to make a “better” life for ourselves?
Whether with deforestation, the burning of fossil fuels, littering, oil spills, or any of the many things we do deliberately or unintentionally, we are killing our planet faster than we think.
People can deny global warming and climate change all they want, but it won’t change the fact that it’s our children, grandchildren, and countless generations to come that will pay the price of our mistakes.
But it’s never too late to make a change. We need to step up, take responsibility for our actions, and make the difference that could save our dying planet.