What if God is reborn every day from the womb of a raincloud? When looking at a world map, or spinning my dad’s vintage globe as a child, I remember being surprised by how small the continents were, and how expansive the distance between them. What kinds of mysterious creatures and uncharted spaces could exist in that much water?
Furthermore, it seemed only appropriate for The Great Lakes, which are essentially midwestern freshwater oceans to be visible from a spaceship. My seven-year-old brain was a firm believer that anything big enough to not be able to see the other side of was well-deserving of a visible spot on a spinnable globe.
As you probably know, the ocean takes up two-thirds of our planet, making it a pretty special place. This unique makeup is what gives the Earth the ability to support life in the first place. Without water, plants, animals (yes, humans included), microorganisms, etc. would not have the ability to exist. Until recently, a planet with components similar to our own had yet to be discovered. It has now been determined that a liquid planet likely exists, but it is extremely difficult to know whether it acts in the same way as our own or is even capable of hosting living things in a way familiar to us. This uncertainty reinforces my existing opinion that this miraculously watery planet that we are so blessed to live on is extremely special and is deserving of our gratitude and care. As stated by many climate activists, “Love your Mother”.
Unfortunately, this mindset is not shared by everyone. Or perhaps it is just not thought about or easily put into practice. Most of the destruction being done to the oceans and the planet at large is not inflicted out of a yearning to simply destroy, but because there is something else to be gained. And this gain almost always leads back to a desire for material wealth. At this point in time, there is very little that can be done without it, and whether we like it or not, this never-ending cycle of needing more consumes us, as we strive to consume more ourselves. People are being forced to live their lives with the impression that when childhood draws to a close they must get an education and a high-paying job followed by a nice house, a spouse, and children to grow up and repeat the cycle. That’s the way it is. Success before feeling happiness. Money before seeing truth. With all of this pressure to think and act in correspondence with the rest of society, it is extremely difficult to allow yourself to step back and appreciate not just the wealth in your pocket, but the great abundance offered in your surroundings. It is land, sunlight, and water, not riches that bring us life.
Water runs through the veins of our land’s living body, carving winding pathways through her flesh and allowing life to flourish just as it does in us. When looking at the complex tendrils that make up rivers, streams, and creeks, the forms of tree roots, blood vessels, and brain tissue are mirrored back. But throughout all of these systems, the makeup is primarily the same. Fluid, liquid, wet. In the beginning stages of development, the human fetus is 90% water and by the time old age sucks the moisture from our wrinkled skin and dams the flow to our heart, water is still the ruling component of our bodies. And yet, our waterways run thick with contamination. Fertilizers and pesticides flow from the hilltops with the rain. Landfills leach their contents into our aquifers. That plastic bottle lying dry in the ditch has the potential to wash up on the shore of a distant beach. Disrespecting our land is disrespecting ourselves, our loved ones, and their futures. I don’t seriously take part in a religion, but the most impactful creator of life and beauty that I have witnessed is the very substance that we sip every day and watch pour from the heavens. I am so very grateful to have access to clean water which holds the ability to nourish and give life. And yes, it is easy for me to take for granted, but even today there are millions who do not have that luxury.
Yet, it is important to know that one person cannot solve these issues and quench the world’s growing thirst. It is easy to get bogged down in fear and hopelessness and coming to terms with our mortality and imperfections isn’t easy. You cannot get to the finish line before taking the steps to get there and similarly, we cannot restore health to our planet before each doing our part on a much smaller scale. Individually, it doesn’t feel like much, but if care and mindfulness are made global, huge changes are possible. No one benefits from fear or anger and although it is hard, we must try to see ourselves through a positive lens while still remembering to hold respect and love for our liquid planet. Let’s make this a mutualistic relationship. She takes care of us, and we take care of her.