As we watch gas prices surge past $4 per gallon many places in the country and we receive ever more alarming reports of the self-destructive effects of our war on nature, it behooves us to indulge in what John Stuart Mill might have called the consolation of poetry. First, we look at Wordsworth’s warning to us in “The World is too much with Us”:
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not….
Then, there are Sara Teasdale’s lines to remind us of what the planet may be once we have, as Ray Bradbury chillingly describes for us in his short story of the same name, disappeared because of our folly:
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
If that’s not enough to give you a shudder, here’s a cartoon based on the Bradbury short story I mention (which is, in turn, based on Teasdale’s poem):
Finally, for all the global heating deniers out there, a quote from the aformentioned John Stuart Mill:
Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.
Happy Earth Day, all….