Thursday April 22nd is International Earth Day. The theme this year
is Restore Earth. The word ‘restore’ conjures up something that has been
damaged or lost and we all know that this is true in relation to Earth. We ask
‘Where have all the Flowers Gone’ and as the Irish song says: ‘Tá deireadh na
coillte ar lár’ – all the woods are cleared, meaning native woods.
At this time Restore Earth might seem a mammoth task. The sentiment from
the great environmentalist, John Seymour can be encouraging: “I am
only one. I can only do what one can do. But what one can do I will do!”
I can plant a native tree or sow wild flowers creating habitats for multiple insects,
birds and small mammals. I can leave verges, headlands or patches of ground
to allow nature to restore its lost habitats. I can send out healing energy to the
threatened land, animals, birds and plant life. I can send a blessing to all those
people who have dedicated their lives to healing Earth. Spending time in
nature, absorbing her qualities and moods can be renewing in body, soul and
Earth Day was largely inspired by what is known as the Earthrise photograph.
It is the first image of Earth from space taken by astronauts during the Apollo 8
mission to the moon in 1968. What a moment, a transformative moment that
was to be viewing planet Earth from the outside for the very first time.
There is another photograph, a very different one, a black and white one,
dating from the first Earth Day 1970 in New York city. It shows people out on
the streets marking Earth Day. They are masked just as people are on the
streets of New York today. The only difference between the 1970’s photo and
a photo taken today is the colour. The masks are identical.
Could it also be said that because we masked the earth issues being
highlighted then that we are now very seriously masked.