I didn’t hear this when it first premiered in 2006, but Lauren Becker‘s audio essay on Earth Day (which is today in case you missed it) is just fantastic:
First of all, just listen to that phrase: Save the Earth. Who are we kidding? The Earth is an enormous mass of inorganic material eight thousand miles thick with just the thinnest margin of life clinging to its surface. It’s a giant rock. It’s been here for 5 billion years and it will be hereanother 5 billion years – whether we recycle those bottles or not. The Earth doesn’t need our saving. It doesn’t even know we exist. It’s a rock! Far from saving it, we could do everything in our power to try to destroy it and 10 million years later, it would still be here, a big rock orbiting a much bigger star – with no evidence that we ever existed.
No, the environmental movement isn’t about saving the Earth. It’s not about saving the whales, the trees, the baby seals, the coral reefs, the wild salmon, the spotted owl, or even the air and water. What we so desperately need to understand, what we must internalize until it is part of our very being, part of our every action and decision, is this: the environmental movement is about saving the humans. It’s about saving us – you, me, and our kids.
Great stuff, with an ending that really made me smile. You can read the full essay here.