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VOF Week 4: My vision is for a childhood evironment.

“Earth that gave us food to eat, Sun that made it grow, thank you Earth, thank you Sun to you our lives we owe.” These are the words little Junior tearfully recites as he stands in a cobweb veiled corner of the classroom. He grudgingly explains to me that he was only attempting to negotiate with a grasshopper that, it seems, was unreasonably reluctant to part with a leg. At a tender three years Junior is already being made aware of the destructive impact of his actions on his surroundings and how much potential he has, to foul his immediate environment.

We live in an era of the most concentrated environmental destruction the world has ever known. The lessons Junior learns as a child, about the rights of grasshoppers, will hopefully encourage in him a sense of responsibility towards his environs, which many people in modern society essentially lack. We seem engaged in a suicidal rush to destroy the treasures of our world.

How much do our beliefs, I wonder, affect our treatment of our planet? We all perceive the world through the eyes of belief. By understanding literally and allegorically where we fall in the hierarchy of nature, we form a concept of our position and subsequently our responsibility towards nature, either as the masters of it or simply existing as subordinate creatures within its order.

I had the pleasure once, of sharing a dirty stone bench with a street preacher on his coffee break. Having cultivated the bizarre familiarity that develops from sharing personal space with a total stranger, I was appalled and even somewhat hurt, when he noisily crushed his Styrofoam cup and threw it into a murky puddle of water. How, I asked him, could he with complete and utter disregard for the deplorable state of the environment (this must have been shortly after a lecture on filing law suits), throw a Styrofoam cup onto the ground? The look of amusement on his face would have been enough to mortally vex an army of Amazons, but my anger was restrained by his plain response. “The Earth is the Lord’s. We are the Lord’s chosen ones and therefore the Earth is ours’.”

I find it hard to imagine that we, in our role as the “stewards of creation”, have such arbitrary authority over it. Like three year old Junior, perhaps we all need to be reminded that this planet is the source of our sustenance and that we cannot take for granted the catalogue of ecological woes that our generation boasts of. My preacher friend is right in many ways. The Earth is ours but without the Earth we would quite probably cease to exist.

I walked away from the preacher, as quickly as one can while avoiding the inevitable filth of unaccounted for puddles of water in the middle of the City, defiantly stopping to pick up the Styrofoam cup. I was less concerned about the preacher’s ecological misdemeanors than I was about the truth of my own attitudes towards the Earth, despite my stylish declarations in its defense. Human beings are creatures accustomed to praise. Every time a cat purrs or a fish bangs its face on an aquarium wall as it ogles us we are reminded of our necessity and reassured of our position in the universe. Are we really the main fruit and purpose of creation or are our powers and responsibilities only relevant within the context of a greater whole of which we are but a small part of?

I’ve recently taken to saying Juniors blessing. “…Thank you Earth, thank you Sun to you our life we owe.” This is my way of humbly, and perhaps uselessly, apologizing for my countless breaks with the rhythm of nature. I realize that I cannot possibly pick up every Styrofoam cup or plastic bag or bottle top that I ever see. As I walk past them, eyes averted in shame, I can’t help but wonder when exactly our belief systems became so distorted as to be incapable of delivering us from the environmental chaos we have created. Occasionally when I call on Junior in his classroom, I can see that he is no longer puzzled by the apparent selfishness of six legged creatures. He is becoming more creative than destructive. I hope that the world will soon be in better hands.

My vision if to use my voice to create an atmosphere where childhood can thrive, and that the earth might continue to support life, for centuries to come.

Comments

Renee's picture

Sorry!!

Hello all. I finally got round to posting but no I think it's in the wrong place. Begging a million pardons.

Will duplicate there.

Sandra Dean-Marlowe's picture

Thank You!

Lovely writing . . . really enjoyed reading this piece. Almost humorous in some ways, but very poignant - and reveals a compassionate and expanded thinking. Yay, Renee, for being so real!

Victoria Vorosciuc's picture

What an oops! :)))

Dear Renee,

Indeed, there are moments we can learn from children. Because children are innocent and don't know what real destruction is. The nature is patient but how long it can keep so. I am afraid if this keeps going our children will blame it on us.

I really believe in your vision! You really know what you want! And it is great you learn from Junior this cute reminder
““Earth that gave us food to eat, Sun that made it grow, thank you Earth, thank you Sun to you our lives we owe.” ”
I am going to use this quote when I have classes with children!

P.S. No shame for misplace! It is a nice story!
How would've reach it otherwise?
:)
Best of Luck!!!
Asante!
Victoria

Victoria Vorosciuc
Project Coordinator
"Empowering women to participate
in community life"
WorldPulse Media Corresspondent

jaygher's picture

Hallelujiah

Hi Renee,

I think its fabulous that you are focused on the environment. We need more people to care about this ever important issue. I think you do a good job of talking conversationally about the topic, and in a way that touches people heart-strings (i.e. through the eyes of children). Great work.

Jay

Jay4Rights

Sister Angela's picture

Thank you for your "mistake!"

Thank you for your "mistake!" I enjoyed reading your story and your views. Living in Newark, New Jersey's laragest city, I see a lot of people littering. We live near the park where there are lots of lakes, ponds, cherry blossom trees, beautiful views... My daughter and I can't stand littering! It has always been an act that "irked" me, especially because there are gargage cans everywhere, so I share your pain. Beautiful writing and thanks for sharing.

In the Spirit of Sisterhood,
Angela

malayapinas's picture

taking care of our environment

Dear Renee,

thank you for the posting! we really need to take care of our environment , it seems that only few people are environmentally conscious , though i believe that the greatest destroyer of our nature and environment are the world superpowers whose ultimate interest is to extract wealth form the earth and doesn't care of its destructive effects. It's sad to note that they are the ones who sponsor big climate change , environmental events yet putting the blame to the people rather that changing their own destructive policies on our environment . Of course, we really need to exert more effort to educate our people on how to take care our environment both in their personal values and the social and political values of our own society.

much care,
malayapinas

afia Pokuaa's picture

big ups my girl

ohh this is a very interesting piece. i love it. For me its another way to make an enviromental story sounds intereting to attract both young readers and older ones who may not be too keen about reading.
Thumbs up girl. but i am getting out of town so you will hear of me when i get assess to a labtop.
cheers

Renee's picture

Many thanks!

Hello! Well it's very encouraging to hear such positive reviews from all of you. I beg you'll allow me a moment to humbly blush at all the complements. I think we owe our environment a big one and I agree that developed countries have great responsibility in universal environmental degradation that being the cost of industrialisation. I don't think however that that absolves all of us from the little things we do which eventually accumilate. I live in Nairobi and our river for which the city is named 'place of cold water', is no more than a big sewerage river for most of It's course. It's only clean where the big hotels need it to pass through their gardens. We all need to learn to be a bit selfish with our surroundings like those hotels. If I said this is my puddle in this great river and I must fight to keep it clean and 5million other people were as stingy with their puddle, our collective puddle would be lovely! Well done Angela for teaching your baby girl that what she deserves in this world is parks and birds and trees not piles of plastic waste and smells. I wondered however as I wrote here the connection between religion and our regard for the environment. In Nairobi, and Kenya at large, the cleanest areas are managed by the Hindu temples, then the Churches clean their area and build great parking lots for all the big cars and finally the mosques have their ablution water flow to meet the sewerage. I have no prejudice I only suggest that the position humans are given on this earth according to religion has a great deal to do with there respect for their surroundings. Hinduism preaches creation as one whole, while Islam and Christianity preach than mankind is the centre, the only true point of creation. Any thoughts dear sisters? I'm very keen to hear on this! Peace and Sunshine. In Solidarity, Renée.

Nzasu's picture

Dada Mkenya

We may be the "masters" but the slaves do all the work.And without them you can't be a master ,what will you be the master of the master!

phasy's picture

hi Renee

your piece of writting is really enjoyable. Great writing.
Great comparison to shopgrasser.

Terry's picture

Yes, the Earth is the Lords'

Renee, your story is beautiful. I really would love to see more people a little bit more concerned about the environment. I, for one have made people collect their rubbish from the ground where they threw it and told them to put it in a proper place. It may be offensive to some but i just can't stand a grown up being so careless. I have taught my children to use a dustbin when they want to throw away any rubbish, this they have learned pretty well yet they're only 4 and 18mths respectively but they're responsible and don't throw rubbish anywhere. It will take collective responsibility for all mankind to consciously take care of the environment, whether its around your home or a place you're just visiting. It is sad that people cut down trees without a second thought yet, these trees have a lot of advantages to us. God has made us stewards of mother earth and we need to be more concerned and careful about our surroundings.

Thanks.

T

Terry Shiundu

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