22 April was international Mother Earth Day. And as I sit here looking out onto a huge banksia tree alive with squawking parrots, agitated noisy miner birds and a few interfering magpies, I’m reminded that Mother Earth has many ways of communicating with us.
In the past week I have read stories in the news about the impact the ‘global lockdown’ is having on the environment and it’s all positive: heavily polluted air is now almost ‘alpine’ in quality: the smog which normally hangs over congested cities has gone: t-risk species are recovering because their habitat is devoid of human activity: and water-ways are running clear – no longer choking with thoughtless waste. Wildlife has returned to city streets; coyotes, pumas and wild goats cautiously walk past shops is playing bemusement at the strange change in circumstances.
I have little doubt that this sudden experience of a radical reduction in all that pollutes and disturbs our planet will be just a short-lived period of reprieve. Nonetheless, Mother Earth’s message is lear: when we change the way that we live and reduce our impact on the place we call home, she speaks to us of healing. She still has within herself the capacity for resurrection and renewal. But the science tells us that we are at the tipping point and possibly past the point of no-return. But in the past few days we have caught a glimpse of what might be possible. There is hope and it is in our hands. We can only dare to believe that this COVID-19 experience might convince politicians around the world hat we can change course. That the inevitable is not necessarily inevitable.
In a clear, powerful and gentle voice Mother Earth is saying to us – if you stop hurting and abusing me, I can and will heal myself.
The question is, will we listen, and will we stop.