Day 50: This week (02/19/17) in Earth News

Humans gave the Earth a tough time this week. It would seem that we’re going backwards: what is good is getting thrown away, and what was bad is getting worse. For example, Scott Pruitt, who has sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) several times and is one of its biggest enemies, has now been made head of the EPA. The House passed a bill to make it legal to shoot bears, wolves and coyotes in Wildlife Refugees, like in Alaska. And meanwhile, in Brazil, roads are being paved straight through the Amazon, fragmenting the forest and destroying one of the planet’s most precious biomes. Many more roads are planned to come out in 2017.

This week was so rough, that humans even turned on themselves! The Oroville Dam in California, which was built by humans and for humans, had a massive crack this week, forcing thousands to evacuate. This is what the potential danger looked like. Residents returned this week with much caution.

The situation in the US is getting so out of control that even the Pope spoke up. After meeting with representatives of indigenous peoples at a UN meeting, Pope Francis said the indigenous peoples should give their consent first before the government explores their land. Although he didn’t mention it by name, this would mean that the government should ask the Sioux Tribes’s consent to build the Keystone XL pipeline on their land.

This week’s news was very hard for me to read and write about – every since I started this project, I’ve never felt the weight of the Earth’s woes so strongly. After finding out that palm oil is in everything that I use in the bathroom and that it’s very hard to substitute, I’m questioning the very structure of our society and where the root of the evil is. Just how many “good” people are out there, that don’t destroy rainforests, protect animals, have sustainable practices? Is everything we buy somehow linked to child labor, rainforest destruction, or bloody mines in Africa? At times, especially now, it seems that millions of people support the wrong people and the wrong causes, and do the wrong thing. It’s very disheartening, and I’ve chosen to ignore it for years.

But should you ignore the news? No. You shouldn’t ignore what’s going on around you, or you wouldn’t know what you’re fighting for (and you wouldn’t fight). Should you let discouragement overcome you? No way. There’s a balance to keep between positive and negative to keep yourself going. Don’t give in the negativity of the press, but don’t ignore it, either. Sometimes if there’s no positive news out there, you’ll have to make your own positivity, so that you don’t collapse in bed wondering what’s wrong with the world. This could be something like going on a winter hike and finding something beautiful in the woods, that reminds you that the Earth is beautiful by nature.

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Our jobs are to become better people and to be as beautiful as the Earth already is. Hopefully, I’ll be able to read the news eventually with a more detached eye and pair it with more positive stories, but right now, I admit that this is one of my weaknesses. Please comment below if there’s anything I missed!

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