The Season of Humanity

There is no stopping a season whose time has arrived. A week ago the snow still lay so deep on the field that the horse couldn’t pull the sleigh. By the weekend, when we boiled our final lot of sap, the snow had already turned into a lake. Today there are only a few puddles remaining on the field. Spring, with its song of rebirth, has dismissed winter for another year.

Before we join spring’s song with our planting of fields and sowing of gardens, let’s pause to take stock of the signs of new beginnings in the season of humanity. Twice out of the last three times that I have been grocery shopping more than 50% of the people in checkout lines have been carrying their own reusable bags. The speed with which this phenomenon has happened is astounding.

The orgy of waste, honed to a fine point by my generation, has finally begun to collapse. “Out of sight, out of mind,” as a garbage philosophy which even found itself featured on an episode of, “The Simpsons,” had to unravel. It was simply not a sustainable lifestyle. What will replace it has yet to become apparent, but its song has already begun.

As we once again sing a song of seasons, the approaching Earth Day calls for us to reconnect with the real world of life on earth. When my grandmother was young she pumped water by hand, then threw the waste water onto the garden. Rain barrels captured water for laundries. This water eventually found its way onto the garden as well. Nothing was wasted.

The rapidly accelerating climate change that we have been experiencing around the world is largely a product of human waste. During the last fifty years we were swept away in the maelstrom of the modern age, so in awe of our own technological advancements that we became distracted as rising ocean levels buried islands under water and violent storms swept up the east coast devastating Atlantic communities or English coastlines collapsed into the sea. Ontario’s climate, however, continued moderate.

But climate change, Ontario style, may be the worst of all, for we are losing the largest body of fresh water in the world. What’s more, this is happening at an alarming rate. Only those who have no clean, safe water to drink can truly appreciate the magnitude of the loss of Great Lakes water to evaporation.

The day we stopped carrying water from the stream, we began to distance ourselves from this most precious of all commodities. Now we have all but forgotten just how much we depend on water; but as the seasons of humanity change, we are about to be taught that lesson. It doesn’t have to be a hard lesson, but it has to be learned very quickly.

Our federal government recently refused to protect water as a human right. That is such a big issue, though, how can anyone get his mind around all of the possibilities. Well, as anyone who has ever been involved in sports or arts knows, if you really take care of the little things, then the bigger things become clear on their own. We wash our cars with fresh water which is then either lost on the driveway or flushed through storm sewers to contaminate the nearest lake or river. We bathe and shower and wash and flush fresh water away every day. Before we can appreciate the enormity of the betrayal inherent in what our governments continue to do, we must first take charge of what we do.

Earth Week runs from April 21 to 25. Suppose, during this Earth Week, we were to find ways of protecting the water in our own homes. There are lots of things we could do including not washing our cars during the week, limiting the length of our showers and only running our dishwashers once a day. What’s more, supposing we did it just for the fun of taking control of our lives. Our modern lifestyle is addictive. It plays us with a heavy hand, constantly hitting us with new demands on our time and energy. So let’s strike back just because it’s more fun being a hammer than a nail. Far more than the magnitude of what we do, it’s the doing that counts. Begin where you can, but do it. For all our children’s sake let’s dream a future that will make this season of humanity sweeter than the last. For our children, for our future, for our own pleasure, it’s time to accept that our season is now. See you next time.

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