A few days ago, Earth Day was celebrated worldwide. It’s a day when people come together to raise awareness of how precious and valuable our Mother Earth is. Over the years I have seen and attended pro-environmental festivals worldwide and I’m amazed how many people are really concerned about our planet and all species that inhabit it.
This year, to celebrate Earth Day, I decided to embark on a trip by myself to the most natural place I could reach.
“My native country has the biggest reserves of oil on the planet, so our principal industry is the oil industry. Oil has given millions of people honest work, food for their tables and a roof over their heads. That was the perfect story for a while. But as every good thing in life, perfect stories come to an end.”
Sunday morning was a very hot day. I took my bike and started the trip with just a bottle of water, a couple pieces of fruit and a good playlist. I had decided that I’d stop wherever I felt it was a right moment to really appreciate and connect with nature. Someplace I could no longer hear the noise pollution emitted by man-made inventions.
When I arrived at the shore of the lake, I paused my music to really connect with sounds of nature. While sitting there, I saw a bunch of animals: little squirrels, rabbits and blue jays. But what caught my eye was a family of ducks. They observed me for a few minutes, I observed them, and they started walking — in their funny way — towards the water. It got me thinking.
How did these ducks end up in a lake next to one of the biggest cities in California? How did San Diego look before buildings and bridges were made? I got to imagine enormous mountain ranges and infinite fields of green grass, desert and deserted beaches.
But it actually got me worried while I observed a plastic bottle floating next to the duck’s family.
Then I realized I was in their home, and I was thinking about the wrong question. “How did we humans get into their environment?” was the right one. The U.S. is one of the biggest countries in the world, territoriality speaking. It contains a vast amount of nature, that in some places has been historically unreachable to man. However, that also means with global industrialization, companies have been more worried about where to drill a hole to get some profit, instead of the actual consequences of drilling the hole and where they were doing it.
This has brought serious consequences to the environment — not just in the U.S., but almost everywhere in the world. Animals are obligated to leave their habitats due to massive construction projects. This results in chaos — a perfect example being global warming, which threatens humanity and our planet.
As a Venezuelan, I know how complicated this all is.
My native country has some of the biggest reserves of oil on the planet, so our principal industry is the oil industry. Oil has given millions of people honest work, food for their tables and a roof over their heads. That was the perfect story for a while.
But as every good thing in life, perfect stories come to an end.
Corruption inside the industry, plus a government takeover, resulted in what could be the richest company in the world now having, as I recently read, only three in a hundred drills working and sitting on the verge of bankruptcy. All this has left so many natural places littered with useless heavy machinery and uninhabitable for animals — at least for a while.
The instability in weather and natural disasters of the past few years is retaliation from our planet, leaving innumerable casualties, damage and destroying millions of dollars in infrastructure along its path.
Our ability as human species, to evolve, adapt and survive has been sponsored by Mother Nature, which has provided us with so many resources. It is up to us, as people, as citizens, as human beings, to preserve and take care of the most valuable thing that exists.
The Earth has done much more for us than we have done for it. Just honoring one day is not enough. For us to continue here we have to raise awareness and make every day the Earth Day.
Mario Salge Mata is an economics junior at San Diego State. He is an international student from Venezuela.
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