Settling back into my house in Austin this balmy Sunday evening, I’m having a hard time not thinking about the scary things happening in our world right now. This is to say: after a three-hour plane ride spent reading news, images are fresh in my mind of the recent earthquake and its resulting devastation in Japan. Natural disasters of this magnitude often have a strong sticking power in our minds, sometimes making us feel lucky and other times causing us to feel downright guilty. In addition to this gamut of emotions, one unexpected thing I recall feeling right after the earthquake hit, however, was small. I don’t mean small in the sense of being helpless to make a difference/assist those in need; I mean small in the grand scope of the universe – the oh-so reverent, standing on a pitch-black country road and looking up at the stars kinda small. I eventually realized I felt this way because natural disasters are a reminder that we don’t own our earth. Yup, that’s right: earthquakes, floods and hurricanes all scream from the treetops that our planet owns us and we are at its mercy.
We can easily respond to this cry by feeling insignificant, but I’ve decided to put my own positive spin on it by treating Earth with more care from here on out. This will be a bit challenging because I’m already a pretty dedicated environmentalist who wears hemp deodorant, recycles, and religiously flips off lights, but I’m now determined to find at least one new way to be kinder to our planet each month. If recent events inspire your inner environmental do-gooder, I encourage you take positive action as well. This can mean something as simple as switching to reusable grocery bags or skipping red meat a few dinners a week, but every simple effort matters. Similarly, every small contribution makes a difference in terms of the humanitarian efforts in Japan, be they through the Red Cross, Shelter Box or another organization…I wholeheartedly send loving thoughts to Japan and the rest of our planet, as well as to anyone else out there who has been glum about current events. May we all find the strength to heal, take positive steps forward and make this world a better place.