You and The Earth

Author: Yugal SehgalOriginally published on May 24, 2020

Yesterday I caught a wonderful sight of 2 pit stopped donkeys drinking from the water bowl that usually serves the dogs in my street and I don’t recall a more fascinating morning.

Events like that are growing around the world where animals, in many cases wild ones, are exploring places that are otherwise inaccessible to them as the world has come to a standstill and humanity is confined. And why shouldn’t they?

Human claim on the Earth and its resources has been disproportionately high and that fact is likely to remain, more or less, the same. We have already damaged too much and done too little to change that. But now that nature is getting an off chance to reclaim (albeit temporarily) lost territory, the least we can do is let it.

Now, of course, you can ask, “But what if a tiger shows up on my doorstep, I might as well serve myself on a fancy dinner plate to it?”

Well, both of us know that that is incredibly unlikely. You aren't touching that fancy china. Ever.

An illustration by the author. © Yugal Sehgal

Enough talk about you though, the point is that nature is temporarily recouping, the skies are becoming clearer, the birdsongs are getting an appreciative audience now that the usual noise is down, emissions are falling, and you are indirectly benefiting from it. And hey it’s good while it lasts, isn’t it?

Well…it’ll be better if it lasts longer. Preferably forever. But will we let it?

Let’s bring the talk back to you. Chances are, you are a Millennial or a Gen Z kid, and you are woke. The world’s traditional narrative just doesn’t sit well with you and you question “the way things are done around here.” You know better than to call climate change “fiction”, and know that something worse than Covid-19 awaits us if we don’t do anything about it. Something much worse.

But what can you do? More resourceful people than you have tried and the world is more or less the same apparently. Poaching continues. Species go extinct in brutal fashion. Trees are slashed in the name of “development”. Animal abuse keeps resurfacing. Illegal wildlife trade seems to just not stop. Hell, people even abandon their dogs in the middle of nowhere. The monstrosity of it all is outrageous!

Humanity can be disgraceful at times. We keep hearing these stories so often that they begin to lose their plea. We become indifferent. And the cost of indifference is a slow and heavy one.

So, again, what can you do?

You can be the difference in an indifferent world.

An illustration by the author. © Yugal Sehgal

Start by educating yourself about nature and what it’s going through by watching this incredible documentary called Our Planet, which Netflix has now made free for all to watch on YouTube. (How awesome of them to do so!)

Or the Disneynature documentaries, like this beautiful one about elephants. Or any natural documentary for that matter.

And if you want to invest more in the cause, take your learning to the next level through these free National Geographic courses about conservation.

When it comes to doing, I would tell you to start small and local by providing bowls of water to birds and dogs (or donkeys), feeding them however much you can, helping injured animals, planting trees if you can, cutting down on flowers for bae, making mindful use of water (including reducing shower time, note to self), taking a walk instead of driving for short distances, recycling, going digital and what not, but chances are you already know all that and more, don't you?

As it is, we are pretty aware of things generally, we just don’t act enough. It isn’t awareness that holds us back, it’s inaction. So as you get down to act on it, encourage your friends and family to join you in doing so.

For larger issues, support the causes you believe in, donate if you can (even little help counts), volunteer, and most importantly, educate others while you’re at it.

If there’s one thing you have enough of right now, it’s time. How incredibly unthinkable was that half a year ago, just like donkeys showing up outside my doorstep. Use that time well.

The world as we knew is changing, and we might as well change with it for good. Time is opportune for the Earth to replenish, but the question persists: Will we let it? Will you?

One person may not be enough to drive change, but is more than enough to initiate it. Be that person. The Earth will thank you for it.

Yugal Sehgal writes about life, mindfulness, and people. He lives in India. Follow him and @drawcuments on Instagram.