Although there are always people who go against the grain for the sake of being contrarian, there is truly no more mutually beneficial endeavor we can partake in than the conservation and protection of our natural environment.
Though it is easy to forget as we increasingly reside in accommodations that keep us as far removed from nature as possible, our species was once forced to live and thrive with none of the comforts we enjoy today, living completely off the fruits of what nature provided and at the whim of her rapidly changing demeanor.
We are given reminders of our frail place in the order of nature when extreme weather events such as hurricanes and blizzards roll through and tear our infrastructure apart and disrupt our comfortable routines. You will also be reminded pretty quickly if you ever find yourself out of doors as the sun is going down and you’re far from home without adequate supplies to stay warm and dry.
The overall point is that we should respect nature, as we are not as removed from it as we might like to believe despite all of our humanly advancements. With the recent passing of Earth Day and the doublespeak coming from Washington – that repealing numerous regulations that protect the environment is actually simultaneously good for the environment…somehow – it is important to keep in mind.
Rhode Island was recently ranked in the top 10 by WalletHub as one of the greenest states in the country. Although we do not yet produce enough green energy compared to our potential to produce through hydroelectric, wind and solar, we also do not possess a problem that other areas in the country possess – a willing ignorance towards environmental conservation.
People in Rhode Island understand how important our natural resources are, mainly because our parents and our parent’s parents grew up loving the surrounding ocean, enjoying it for its recreation and, for many thousands, providing a livelihood through fishing and marine-based occupations such as welders, mechanics and professions in marine biology.
The importance of a healthy Narragansett Bay cannot be understated, which is why when a screw up in a wastewater treatment plant results in thousands of small plastic pasta-like pieces being jettisoned into it, it is front page news on every news source in the state and hundreds of volunteers, both in organized efforts and just people casually walking along the beach, assist in cleaning up the refuse as quickly as possible.
But Rhode Islanders’ love affair with nature goes beyond its moniker as the Ocean State. The state if one of the few where you can find isolated woods, grassy fields, bodies of water ranging from small ponds to the swirling ocean and even some slight points of rocky elevation all within a short drive from one another. Little Rhody encapsulates the wild beauty of Mother Nature in a bite-sized package.
While politicians in many heartland states can claim blissful ignorance about climate change – either through legitimate lack of knowledge or due to more nefarious, private interest reasons involving financial ties to industries who rely on finite, environmentally harmful practices such as mining and burning fossil fuels – those of us in Rhode Island don’t have that luxury.
If the ocean truly does rise between 0.5 and 6.5 feet by the year 2100, as NASA predicts currently through their observation of the melting of polar ice via satellite imagery, we won’t only be unable to deny the existence of serious consequences stemming from our meddling in the climate, we will be in serious danger because of it.
There is no prize to be won by being stubborn about climate change. The facts are widely available for all to access, the effects can be witnessed through wild weather patterns and an increased severity in both winter and summer storms, as we have seen here in recent years. We are lucky to have several nonprofits and governmental offices who make it their living to secure a healthier environment for future generations.
Always remember, humans have been around for less than a blink of the eye in comparison to the billions of years this planet has persisted. Regardless of the damage we continue to cause our terrestrial home, it will shake us off like a common cold before we deal it a fatal blow – so let’s try to respect the power of our home planet as much as we can.