Zuihitsu #32

A world – ravaged by fire and flood,
Filled with man-made toxins,
Destroyed by storms and acid rain.

A world – without natural wonders,
Without a single green forest to walk in,
Without a single white waterfall to breathe under.

A world – without the millions of creatures
That used to call it home,
Creatures of every color and size and shape.

A world – torn apart by poverty and failure,
Where only the rich can afford what little there is left,
Where violence is used to ensure survival.

A world – destroyed at the hands of man,
Ruined by our greed and arrogance,
By the tragic flaws of humanity.

This is not a world in which I want to live,
And it is not a world our innocent children deserve.
So why do parents, adults, fail to do anything about it?

To the older generations I say:
You do not own this world.
You are borrowing it – from us.

花火 – Hanabi

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. In the US, it’s Independence Day. Full of parties, barbecues, family gatherings, and fireworks.

My sister calls it “National Day of Air Pollution.”

As this article by terrapass explains, traditional fireworks create an immense amount of pollution and cause damage to human health and the natural environment in many ways. This CityLab article traces and graphs the dramatic spike in air pollution caused by July 4th activities. Please take a look – it’s frightening.

And so, for everyone planning to celebrate tomorrow, I ask you to please, please, be environmentally conscious. If you’re going to use fireworks, make sure they’re wrapped in biodegradable paper and the materials used were mined in a sustainable fashion. If you’re planning on going to a display organized by your city or another group, make sure they’re putting in genuine effort to make the event ecologically friendly and carbon-neutral. If they aren’t, badger them about it. Insist on sustainability because we can’t afford any less. Or, better yet, don’t support the fireworks at all. Stay home, stay with your family. Play games, make music, talk. You don’t need fireworks to celebrate – and I often find that sitting around the piano with my loved ones is much more valuable than going out to watch bright flashes on a thick layer of smoke.

Please give some thought to how you’re spending your time tomorrow. Enjoy the day – but don’t forget your impact on this fragile earth we live upon. At this point, everything matters.