Many of us would be forgiven if somehow Earth Day would pass by without some recognition. But that would indeed be a mistake.
Yes, Earth Day is more important now than ever — even in these times of lockdowns and restrictions of movement during this global coronavirus pandemic.
At present, some 60 per cent of the world’s population is living under a series of varied measures that limit our ability to gather, to work, to assemble, to conduct commerce, trade and manufacturing as we have done unfettered for decades if not centuries.
This Earth Day affords us a more powerful symbol than ever before — we can visibly see through smog, breathe cleaner air, and experience rebounding wildlife
And these necessary restrictions too have confined us mostly to our homes, changed the way we work and socialise, communicate and live our lives.
And during this process, the Earth has recuperated.
For the first time in decades, it is now possible to see the beauty of the Himalayas from parts of northern India where before they were hidden by a haze of pollution from our making.
In cities of Europe, where normally we humans are the dominant species as we travel in cars and buses, trains and go about our daily lives in our predatory economic hunt, the fox, deer and badger are quietly staking their claim to our parks and green spaces.
In airports with few flights, rabbits frolic on the green grass bordering once busy aprons. And from satellites looking down on our wonderful blue planet, the smoggy air that clings over our cities and manufacturing hubs has dissipated.
Now more than ever, there are truths we can no longer ignore. Yes, we change our world for the worse. Yes, we are an invasive species that damages our natural world to the detriment of others. And yes, if our habits are changed, the world recovers.
This Earth Day there will be few gatherings, little fanfare, few opportunities to clean our immediate environment in token efforts that come but once a year.
But this Earth Day affords us a more powerful symbol than ever before — we can visibly see through smog, breathe cleaner air, and experience rebounding wildlife.
We can see what a cleaner Earth looks like.
These signs of nature’s recuperation, its relief in our temporary and enforced absence, its resilience in mending and healing must be heeded by us during this period of social isolation.
We have changed our Earth for the worse — and we must change for the better.