SundaySpecial: Not your Father’s Environment   Leave a comment

Everywhere, Fathers do a lot for their children. Seahorse fathers (genus Hippocampus) care for their babies from the time they’re eggs until they are born and swim away; for Emperor Penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri), the father is responsible for keeping the eggs warm and protected; and the African Lion father (Panthera leo) can have a family of ten or more lion cubs at one time, all needing attention and food. That’s even more children than some of the ‘extreme families’ on reality TV. But no matter how hard they try and what good intentions they have, sometime fathers can make mistakes and don’t always know best. And today, some scientists (who are also probably fathers – or mothers!) believe that due to bad environmental decisions made by past generations, the environment is changing more, and more quickly, than any time in recorded history. The natural world we have tomorrow, will probably be very different than the environment we know today; and much of the climate and wildlife and natural systems of just a few years ago are different now than anytime in the past.

Scientists and researchers have found that within just the last 50 years, environmental changes have caused or been directly related to new and larger outbreaks of diseases and infections; larger amounts of greenhouse gasses have been released into the atmosphere, leading to higher temperatures and changes in climate; and plant and animal diversity has decreased as more and more human-cultivated, as well as invasive species, spread further and faster.

But also during this time, we’ve learned that with carefully planning and consideration species and environments can be protected and saved for the future, and there are more unknown and undiscovered species than anyone had imagined; that bad choices of the past, like cutting down entire forests, can still be restored if we recognize our mistakes and act quickly; and even the smallest actions like using less energy, eating local and organic foods, and recycling can make a difference.

So, while older generations might have made choices that sounded good at the time but turned out badly, we should acknowledge our parents try to do the best they can, and thank our fathers and mothers for helping us learn the world is a small place and our actions here, today, also affect others far away and into the future. We should remember when our fathers told us ‘take care of your brother’; or ‘that’s going to leave a mark’; or ‘say you’re sorry and now make it right’ are lessons not just for children.

And in this classic video, (who can name that narrator?!), we can see the eco-challenges, opportunities, and accomplishments we have today are not at all like the environmental responsibilities our parents took for granted, back in the time of your father’s environment:


Michonne Says: My father taught me to run underground if there’s any danger.  That picture story makes me think there’s danger everywhere!  But I like the music.

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